FLAsia Singapore

Lion City is Asia's top business hub
By Earl D.C. Bracamonte

Packed within the island state of Singapore is a vibrant mix of sights, sounds, tastes, cultures and attractions: a wealth of enriching experiences for one to discover.
Enjoy world-class shopping and dining one moment then hike through tropical rainforest the next. Or, opt to soak in the rituals of its multicultural traditions by day, then hie off to party the night away.
With great ease and comfort, one can shape his/her own Singapore experience around what they want to do and at the pace they want to do it. As the ideal destination for business travels, you can make Singapore your own.
“Singapore is constantly re-inventing itself and innovating. This year, highlights include the two Integrated Resorts (Irs): the Resorts World at Sentosa Island, that will house Universal Studios, and the beautiful Marina Bay Sands, that are both integral part of the Singapore skyline. The Lion City is an exciting, livable global village with a dynamic pro-business environment built on knowledge and networks. With its business and leisure offerings in a compact environment, business travelers are able to fulfill business needs whilst immersed in an exciting city that captivates their senses,” declared Singapore Tourism Board-Philippines/Brunei area manager Lynelle Seow, during an intimate media colloquy.
To enable business travelers to tap the attractive deals and promotions around the city, the Singapore Tourism Board introduced the City Advantage Guide smartphone application. It is a comprehensive directory listing of retail, dining, hotel and wellness establishments with their promotional offers, addresses and contact details. The application is available for download to iPhone users via the Apple App store or through www.YourSingapore.com/businessevents.
And speaking of business events, there's a big one unfolding in the Lion City this month. Held in conjunction with and as key highlight to, the Franchising & Licensing Asia (FLAsia) 2010 will see, the International Symposium on Franchising hosted by the International Franchise Association (IFA), being held for the first time in Singapore. Invited speakers and industry experts will share insights on franchising. Simply dubbed, “5th Int'l Event for Entrepreneurship, Business Opportunities & Intellectual Property Rights in Asia,” the the 3-day event unfolds on Oct 21 to 23 at the plush Marina Bay Sands Exhibition Hall B.
In the current worldwide economic contraction, FLAsia 2010 has seen a jump in exhibitors from Asian countries, with 15 percent increase in size from local and regional participants as compared to last year, in line with the World Trade Organization's estimate that by 2020, 60 percent of global trade flows will be accounted for by Asia, replacing North America and Europe as centers of global trade traffic. For the first time, FLAsia has attracted the participation of a Russian franchisor! They'll introduce UV printers to the show.
Franchising has been heralded as one of the key business expansion models due to its high level of effectiveness and the provision of a winning situation for both the franchisor and franchisee. As a franchisor, one is able to retain control of the brand and oversee operations as a whole while leaving the franchisee to run the operations. For the latter, this means low risks with an established, proven framework to work with.
The determination of many international franchisors to explore the Asian market is backed by the fact that Asia is an emerging market, with Bloomberg reports quoting expert predictions that these markets will represent three-quarters of global growth in the future. ASEAN, with its rapid rate of urbanization and growing affluent population, is fast becoming an important consumer market of goods and services. The creation of an integrated marketplace of close to 600 million people, with a combined domestic GDP of about $1.1 trillion, will inject dynamism into Asia and enhance the overall attractiveness of the region to investors.
“Building on the successful launch earlier this year of the Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) program in Singapore, the IFA is excited to be partnering with the Franchising and Licensing Association Singapore for the International Symposium on Franchising. With year-over-year, double-digit growth in franchise sales, Singapore is poised to become the Asian hub for global franchising. The conference presents an excellent venue for franchise executives from around the region and from around the world to share best practices and explore new market opportunities,” intoned IFA Educational Foundation president John Reynolds.
Licensing, on the other hand, is a business expansion model which provides businesses the rights to properties and license-related products and services within a legal framework. This allows a business to expand and increase profit margins without taxing its own resources while ensuring an operational framework is in place.
Singapore has a strong focus on intellectual property (IP) protection and solid legal infrastructure, making it an ideal location to explore licensing opportunities. FLAsia 2010 is the place to capture greater market share and boost revenue by featuring and promoting IP-related products, services and properties.
In an effort to enhance business operations and profitable returns, well-aligned infrastructure and supporting platforms become viable options to review. For the first time, FLAsia 2010 will feature a dedicated segment showcasing business solutions under the Franchise Retail & Technology Zone. Exhibits range from point-of-sale systems, CRM, digital signage to bar-code scanning, as well as prepaid loyalty card solutions, shopfit security and the like. This will serve to aid franchisors in areas like marketing analytics, data crunching and inventory control, thereby building a better bottom line for franchisors and franchisees. A series of complementary talk sessions by exhibitors will also be conducted to benefit visitors as they gain knowledge on franchising, business and investment subjects.
Int'l Development Franchising & Licensing Association Singapore (IDFLAS) is the national franchising body and one of the founding members of the World Franchise Council. It was established in 1993 with the mission of nurturing and developing Singapore's franchising industry. Heeding the government's call to move towards a knowledge-based economy, coupled with the increasing synergy between franchising, branding and technology licensing, the association has expanded its membership profile and scope to include companies engaged in branding and licensing. It aims to assist its members to gain greater exposure locally, regionally and internationally, through networking events, exhibitions and trade missions, as well as upgrade members' skill and knowledge in franchising, branding and licensing through various education programs.
“Global franchising began in 1997 when Hong Kong was ceded back to China, 'til it became FLAsia in 2006. Now on its 5th year, the FLAsia show aims to help exhibitors find partners whose products they can bring to their respective countries. In Singapore, tax incentives are good for foreign investments,” enthused IDFLAS chairman Albert Kong.
For the past four years, Singapore has been ranked by World Bank as the easiest place to do business. Through its stable fiscal and regulatory regime, as well as sound corporate governance structure, the Lion City is the ideal platform for business and franchise owners who seek security for their investments. Backed by the nation's excellent IP infrastructure, Singapore's deep industry base, skilled workforce and excellent connectivity to key markets have made it an ideal base for companies to further drive their expansion within the region.
FLAsia 2010 marks the event with fervent moves by franchise chains looking to capture more markets, especially in Asia, such as Korea's top franchise brand BBQ Chicken; Singaporean cream puff Chewy Junior, Japanese express beauty salon Takemori Corp, Australian homegrown steakhouse Hog's Breath Cafe; and Filipino-owned coffee chain Figaro Coffee Systems Inc.
“F&B is always the popular sector in exhibitions. In developing countries, beauty & wellness are tops. They want to see lifestyle changes after studying abroad. In developed countries, however, the service sector increases in activity as shown in countries like the US, Japan and Korea. All in all, it's relatively easier to put up a business in Singapore as there's lesser red tape,” added chairman Kong.
With its first-class modern facilities, rich culture blended with enticing leisure and entertainment options, Singapore is truly the destination that Filipino business travelers can enjoy. It's a city where business meets pleasure; all in one exciting and roaring island! And since Filipinos love shopping, they'll have a field day at the Louis Vuitton Island!
“There were 430,000 Filipino tourists who visited the island state last year, While a few came from Malaysia via land transport, majority of the tourists flew from Manila, Cebu and Davao. FLAsia is about seeking for business opportunities; making Singapore the gateway to reach out to the rest of Asia and the international market. It is a truly exciting destination! In fact, USA brings the international symposium to Singapore. The growth now is all in Asia as more and more brands are coming up,” informed BizLink Exhibition Services Pte. Ltd. executive director Winston Lim.
FLAsia 2010 is open to business/trade visitors and top individuals seeking business & investment opportunities. Admission is free and by registration only. For inquiries, simply log-on to www.FranciseLicenceAsia.com.


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