Spotlight Turns East for Global Expansion and Talent Development

asia global expansion

Amid pandemic recovery, new business opportunities are emerging for global expansion and talent development

Against the headwinds of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was an anomalous year marked not just by the virus’s threat to public health but also unprecedented business disruptions. With economic activity stunted globally, global foreign direct investment (FDI) collapsed by 42% from $1.5 trillion in 2019 down to an estimated $859 billion. However, FDI is projected to begin a landmark recovery in 2021 and many of the trends triggered by the pandemic are sparking new opportunities for global expansion and talent development.

The spotlight turns east

In particular, multinational businesses and investors are likely to turn east toward Asia, where many countries have done an exceptional job of weathering through the pandemic storm and overall FDI declines have been comparatively less pronounced. In particular, the global expansion and investment outlook remains strong in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore and South Korea.

Despite being ground zero for the virus, China surprised the world with its swift containment of the virus and a fast-paced economic recovery that saw the country’s second largest economy surpass the US as the top country for FDI inflows in 2020, remarkably attracting more investment than it did in 2019. And in India, which suffered an unprecedented recession after facing high case numbers in 2020, recovery is in in full swing and FDI growth is expected to resume in 2021.

Suffice to say, with Asia steering global economic recovery, multinational businesses and investors will be keeping a close eye on this region for global expansion opportunities and talent development.

Virtual work is a business mainstay

Undoubtedly, one of the most prominent effects of the pandemic has been the mass work-from-home movement. Since the onset of the crisis, businesses across various industries have virtualized operations out of necessity. With newly published research suggesting that working from home has been a boon for both businesses and professionals, remote work is likely to become a permanent fixture long after the pandemic subsides. More than 20% of the workforce could work remotely three to five days a week just as productively as if working from an office and it is anticipated that by 2028 up to 73% of teams will have remote employees.

Expats are attracted to Asia

The acceleration of remote work not only gives companies access to more talent pools abroad, but professionals will also have more geographic flexibility as well. And with the pandemic keeping workers at home for extended periods, there are signs that more workers will desire to travel and work abroad once the pandemic ends.

More than a third of remote workers are considering working remotely from a different country and there is indication that expats will be eyeing up Asia, with Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam ranking highly. Notably, Singapore implemented a new work visa in January 2021, called Tech.Pass, aimed at helping fast-growing companies attract technology entrepreneurs and experts from around the globe.

Mass digitization is driving tech and startup ecosystems

While social distancing and quarantine measures have upended some industries, the pandemic has kicked open doors in others, particularly technology. The digital mandate is nothing new but it’s been brought into sharp focus, with companies’ digital transformation programs being accelerated ahead by up to four years.

Opportunities abound for multinational companies and investors in the technology industry with new solutions needed to help businesses adapt, virtualize and grow. This is big news for entrepreneurs and bourgeoning startups, with Asia being well represented among the world’s most entrepreneur-friendly countries. South Korea, in particular, has the highest government backing per capita of startups in the world. Meanwhile, Singapore is setting its sights on becoming the “Silicon Valley of Asia”, with the government pushing incentives to drive investment and enrich the city state’s talent pool.

Restructuring and digitization are deepening talent gaps

The widening talent gap is another pressing trend that is likely to fuel global expansion and global hiring. After record downsizing, workforces are already short on hands. And with technology adoption on the rise, companies will simultaneously need more workers versed in implementing innovations such as robotic process automation (RPA) software.

Owing to the growing talent gap, it is expected that companies will look to hire abroad to save money while tapping new talent pools. Notably, workers in Asia may stand to benefit from this trend. For example, Singapore has been ranked as the most tech-savvy country in the world and Taiwan, renowned for its electronics footprint, has formulated its New Southbound Policy (NSP), which nurtures cross-border collaborations in science and technology with ASEAN countries, such as Vietnam and Singapore. Meanwhile, India hosts approximately 75% of the world’s digital talent and China, home to the world’s largest workforce, is keenly focusing on reskilling and upskilling its workforce to meet growing digital needs.

More companies are turning to PEO solutions for global expansion and talent strategy

The final trend is perhaps the most transformative because it ties all of the preceding trends together: the rise of professional employer organizations (PEOs). Against the backdrop of looming uncertainty worldwide, multinational companies and investors are increasingly turning to PEO solutions to infuse agility and speed into their global expansion endeavors and talent strategy.

Setting up an entity to hire talent locally, whether it be a new or transferred employee, can take up to a year in some cases and is rife with risks and complexities. But when a trusted PEO like GoGlobal serves as the local employer of record (EOR), new hires can be onboarded in as little as 24 hours. Plus, a qualified EOR partner has local expertise in navigating labor laws, taxation, regulations and business practices – ensuring that all hiring is done legally and compliantly to mitigate risk.

Essentially, a PEO solution is the ideal global expansion and hiring apparatus for empowering smaller teams in today’s business environment, allowing them to agilely respond to international business trends, increase productivity, raise profitability and remain laser focused on their core mission.