Singaporean and Malaysian markets as business opportunity for Estonian and Latvian manufacturers

Asia, especially South-East Asia (SEA), has a lucrative and prosperous image looking from afar. As with many distant things, it is also surrounded with many stories and myths, some tempting and some warning.

  • Are those markets too big for us, Estonians and Latvians?
  • Are we too unknown, too small? With too little (marketing/production) power?
  • Are we unable to compete with our product/service price levels?
  • Can we break through to markets with the Scandinavian quality image?
  • Could we use Singapore and Malaysia as a gateway to South-East Asian markets?

These were just a few questions with what 18 months ago we started project HIADEX– “Marketing intelligence and early stage promotion activities for the HIgh ADded value products EXport“, with an aim to take Estonian and Latvian SMEs from pharma and healthy food industry to Singaporean and Malaysian markets by doing joint marketing activities.

Today, after visiting trade fair Vitafoods Asia in Singapore twice in September 2017 and September 2018, and South-East Asian Healthcare and Pharma Show in Kuala Lumpur in May 2018, we have a better understanding of these markets and few, but not all, answers to questions above.

Some of these answers were shared in HIADEX project final event “Singaporean and Malaysian markets – nice dream or real business opportunity?” which took place in Riga on October 16th.

Event program included an overview of market trends in SEA markets, speakers from pharma and food supplement industry companies SIA SolePharma and SIA SilvEXPO from Latvia and BioCC OÜ from Estonia, who shared their experiences and expertise on doing business in Singaporean and Malaysian markets. From the Association of the Latvian Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry (LAKIFA) side a woman with more than 20 years of experience gave a very thorough presentation on the South East Asian markets and cultural-economic-sociological differences. A representative of Interreg Estonia-Latvia programme giving an overview of what kind of support is available in near future for SME’s from Estonia-Latvia Programme and lessons learned throughout project lifetime from business missions and beyond.

You can find and watch event talks from Tartu Science Park Youtube channel and presentations are linked under the presenting companies names.

As a conclusion, Singaporean and Malaysian markets, among other SEA countries which as the region has 650 million inhabitants, are a real business opportunity for Estonian and Latvian producers. There are multiple factors to consider when setting your sight to export there, but such is the case with any new export market.

Should you wish to learn more about our experiences or gain contacts either in Estonia or Latvia or Singapore or Malaysia, feel free to get in touch with HIADEX project manager Vaido Mikheim from Tartu Science Park.

Project HIADEX is being implemented and co-financed with the support of the Interreg Estonia-Latvia cross-border cooperation programme.