As Covid-19 impacts markets globally, our Market Watch will provide timely insights to clients

23rd March 2020

Mary Kinnane
Mary Kinnane, Regional Director, APAC, Enterprise Ireland

Q&A with Mary Kinnane, Regional Director, APAC, Enterprise Ireland

1. What are you seeing on the ground in the APAC Region in terms of the impact of Covid-19?

With Covid-19 being present in the Asia Pac region for some months with serious human health implications, the collateral damage to business and economic sentiment has been apparent since early Q1. This past fortnight has seen the global implications of the virus really impact economically with business indicators and sentiment on the ground turning very negative. There has been a near collapse in regional and international travel as governments across Asia Pac try to control the spread of the virus. The situation varies to some extent across the region, and also across sectors, but the overall impact in the region is profound.

2. What’s your advice to Irish exporters in terms of engaging with customers and suppliers?

Stay focused on what you can influence and control, both in respect of existing sales delivery in the near term, and on planning for the recovery when it does come. Proactive and regular communication with suppliers is to be advised to instill and ensure mutual confidence.

3. What Covid-19 business supports are being put into place across the APAC Region to support business continuity?

The increase in remote working and split teams in mission critical areas within organisations has unfolded at an unprecedented pace in APAC. Company policies have and are evolving rapidly with respect to such supports. On a macro basis government and central bank stimuli are being deployed at scale in an attempt to contain the potential longer term economic impact of the crisis.

4. What advice would you have for Irish businesses exporting to APAC during this time?

If already exporting to the region the advice would be predicated on the simple premise that it is much easier to retain a customer than to win a new customer in the region. Within whatever constraints you are operating under, communicate proactively and try to support business continuity. As with historical crises in the region customer loyalty will more often than not be rewarded in the longer term.

For potential new entrants to the region whilst travel is not possible in the short term, if resources allow, it is a good time to research and prospect new opportunities remotely. We are finding that some APAC companies have time and are more amenable to digital contact than heretofore. As always with the APAC region, Irish companies must be realistic on the runway required to winning new business.

5. How is the Enterprise Ireland office network across the APAC Region supporting Irish companies during this period?

The Enterprise Ireland network of offices from Beijing to Sydney is fully operational with teams working remotely to ensure continuity of service to both existing clients and to support the pipeline of new entrants to the region.

Our focus is twofold; firstly, supporting the immediate challenges of clients with respect to customer delivery and supply chain management and secondly, continuing to support new business prospecting in the region in preparation for the uptick which will come in time. There is every reason to believe that the high growth APAC region will continue to offer serious rewards to client companies once the current crisis abates.