2020 in rear-view: Learnings & Reflections from the launch of our Singapore office

As we close the year out after launching our APAC business in March 2020, we are filled with a feeling of gratitude to our clients and the broader ecosystem we serve.

It has been a privilege to play our part to support our clients as they navigate the various challenges this year has presented us with, across multiple industries themes and geographies.

· Sectors: Automotive, Fintech, Industrial, 5G Data Networks

· Themes: Diversity, Sustainability, Move to Cloud

· Geographies: Australia, China, Singapore

We also wanted to take the time to reflect on our the client projects we’ve been supporting and acknowledge the shifts and changes we’ve seen this year, as we all continue to adapt and learn from each other.

The Evolution of Sales Leadership – SAAS / Consulting

We have been supporting a Global Mobility client, to hire a number of global sales leaders including the APAC head. Investment into 5G are driving successes in the traditional telco markets, alongside a new segment of enterprises who are leveraging 5G technologies across their traditional industrial, med-tech and omnichannel-retail businesses.

With the ongoing shift to cloud, firms are moving to SAAS consumption models and therefore Sales Leaders are evolving from a Product to Solutions sales, which challenges us as a firm to think more broadly when identifying, assessing and onboarding talent.

We also understand that the Service Providers themselves are becoming more open to collaboration and less focussed on building new end-to-end services themselves from scratch. This opens up future possibilities for the scaling of customer-centric solutions created by best-in-class partners across start-ups, technology platforms & consulting.

Continued investment in China

In China we continue to support a US Industrial Super Major as they scale their sustainable technology business. Sustainable solutions are increasingly becoming drivers for future growth and have technological advantages over existing hydrocarbon-based products.

There is a large opportunity in China, however, the backdrop of the US elections and tensions between the two countries created challenges for both our client’s business model and their ability to attract local Chinese talent.

Our client has a strong focus on Diversity, which is especially challenging within this sector, so together we mapped broader adjacent markets to create a larger candidate universe.

From this process, we took the following key learnings. Local Chinese firms are becoming fiercer competitors to International firms and are beginning to poach their executive talents. US firms are optimistic about expansion into China post-election and hence they are making further commitments to local manufacturing facilities. Growth opportunities can be seen in sectors where there is a key value add; such-as technology-driven solutions, sustainability and consulting/advisory services to SMEs.

Transformation within Automotive Manufacturing

In China, we continue to support a US Tier One Automotive Manufacturer, as they continue to deliver on their mission to provide digital solutions and transform their own operations by further investing in their global technology platforms.

We were asked to hire the Head of Engineering, reporting to the Global CIO. The headcount had been moved to China, further highlighting the firm’s investment into the local operations.

We took several key learnings from this project. Senior Chinese candidates continue to be willing to relocate back to China, especially those who have spent some time working in the US and many of these candidates were being pursued by multiple companies. International talents are being prioritised, as global roles require people with an understanding of markets outside of China, whilst being able to navigate the culture of the local operations.

During the pandemic, China has opened up domestically very quickly, which has been driving growth for our client and other global customers. This is in contrast to the US, hence we expect international companies to further invest in China, creating more opportunities for international Chinese talents to relocate to be closer to family, whilst not limiting their ability to hold global roles.


Looking ahead into 2021, we are seeing further demand from markets such-as Korea & Japan, the opportunity to support more of our existing global clients in APAC and work with new firms for the first time. We have learned a great deal during 2020 and we hope to add further value to our ecosystem as we embrace the challenges and opportunities 2021 has instore for us all.


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