SM Urges Companies to Tap into Opportunities from ASEAN Integration


(25 July 2014. Pasay City, Philippines)  As the integration of economies of ASEAN’s 10 member nations approaches in 2015, SM Investments Corporation (SM) is encouraging companies to tap into the opportunities it will bring. 
During a forum of PLDT SME Nation’s Future Talks entitled, “Ready for 2015: Future-Proofing SMEs for the Asean Economic Community”, Corazon Guidote, SM Senior Vice President for Investor Relations and Corporate Communications said that Philippine companies should have the proper mindset in facing the forthcoming integration.
“I believe that the greatest thing holding many entrepreneurs back in this country is the mindset. Many of them are still scared to go out and explore, to grow, and become bigger. As a matter of fact, I get many comments saying, SM is so large now. But from the ASEAN perspective, more so, in the Asian region, we hardly figure in the top 50 companies. This is why we have to constantly focus on being global and benchmarking ourselves with global companies,” Guidote said.
She said that among the greatest challenges companies face are as follows: strong resistance to change, complacency, thinking small, staying in the status quo, misinformation, the lack of financial discipline, governance and transparency.  
Philippine companies need to keep a keen eye out for opportunities that the ASEAN integration will bring such as bigger markets, new technology and partnerships. Companies also need to keenly observe the characteristics and business models that successful companies, both here and ASEAN, possess and adopt.  
In retail for instance, which is a core business of SM established by Henry Sy Sr. in the late 1950s, many ASEAN brands have come into the malls such as the likes of JCo Donuts & Coffee of Indonesia , and Bread Talk from Singapore to name a few. Shoes and bag brands like Charles & Keith of Singapore and VNC/Vincci from Malaysia are also setting up additional stores with the mall’s own expansion.  
The malls have also adopted a “big brother” role,  housing homegrown brands that have also flourished with the growth of the malls in the country such as Jollibee, Bench, National Bookstore, CD-R King, Toby’s, Kultura and Our Home to name a few. A number of fast retailers and franchisors have also been successful such as Filipino franchising stores Bibingkinitan and Mango-Ong which brought in traditional products in new, hygienic and affordable concepts that mainstream Filipinos embraced.  
Such brands have offered refreshing concepts and have evolved over the years to cater to the needs and preferences of the market which have allowed them to be resilient and compete with the influx of new brands coming into the malls.   
“SM chooses tenants and suppliers for the concepts they bring to our world. They keep our malls and stores fun, new and exciting. It doesn't matter if they are known or not. The best concepts bring uniqueness and an element of surprise not just to us, but most importantly, to our customers,” she said.
“As we approach 2015, SM is enjoining local companies to explore, learn and harness the opportunities that economic integration brings,” Guidote said.  
ASEAN member nations are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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From L-R Lanny Batac, SME Wireless Head;  Enzo Tanedo, Product Head of PLDT SME Nation; Jecyn Chua-Teng, PLDT SME Nation Business Head; Joe Magsaysay, President & CEO, Cinco Corp. & Potato Corner; Cora Guidote, SVP for Investor Relations and Corporate Communications at SM; Laura de Bertotto, CEO of VMV Limited and Roberto Claudio, Sr. Chairman, Toby’s Sports 



Friday, July 25, 2014