Asia Pacific Countries Shine

Global management consultancy Kearney has published its 2023 Global Services Location Index (GSLI) that studies the critical factors that make countries attractive as potential locations for offshore services.

In an era of rapidly evolving global business landscapes, business services like information technology, business process outsourcing (BPO), and engineering are increasingly being delivered across borders as companies seek to reduce costs, scale talent, and increase efficiency by utilizing the global talent base. In the current climate, Asia Pacific (APAC) markets shine as potential offshore service destinations, with India, China and Malaysia continuing to lead the index as the top three destinations respectively.

The GSLI ranks 78 countries based on 52 metrics that cover four dimensions including financial attractiveness, people skill and availability, business environment, and digital resonance.

Strong outlook for APAC

Continuing their strong showing in GSLI 2021, APAC countries lead this year's Index, with India, China and Malaysia in the top three largely due to cost advantage, talent availability, and strong skills. Meanwhile, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore are ranked among the top 15. Singapore jumps 24 ranks from 38th to 14th in this year's rank, the highest leap by any country.

A breakdown of the performance of APAC countries within the GSLI, namely India, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore can be found in the appendix.

"Geopolitical, economic, and technological forces have spurred significant changes in the global labor market. Therefore, a country's ability to reskill and redeploy its workforce in response to changing market demands and technological disruptions is key to improving its attractiveness as an offshore location for business services," says Arjun Sethi, Kearney's Global Vice Chair of Digital Transformation, Regional Head and Chairman of Kearney's APAC Region, and co-author of the 2023 GSLI report. "Talent regeneration will be the most crucial gamechanger as Industry 4.0 continues to reshape the demand for future skills and jobs. And this is what has kept the top three countries – India, China and Malaysia – solid in the Index for a few years now, while the rest have been fairly fluid in their positions." Adding on he said, "So in a nutshell, while building regenerative talent pools, everything, everywhere, all at once, is what a country should seek to achieve - to consistently stay ahead of the curve."

Talent regeneration key for continued attraction

A key trend emphasized in this year's report is the importance of talent regeneration - a country's ability to rapidly reskill and redeploy its workforce in response to changing market demands and technological disruptions to maintain and enhance its attractiveness as an offshore location.

With the emergence and adoption of digital technologies, cost-centric service locations are at risk of losing their competitiveness to more developed and technologically advanced countries as more work and processes will be automated. Talent regeneration, therefore, will serve as the backbone of this shift.

Through a talent regeneration matrix, this year's report shows the talent regeneration capacity and maturity of countries. Singapore shines as APAC and Southeast Asia's premier emerging technology destination and innovation hub. India and China also exhibit strong talent regeneration and are projected to lead the world in terms of the availability of a tech-enabled workforce. Additionally, traditional offshoring leaders in the region such as India, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand will need to invest heavily in talent regeneration as the labor cost advantage becomes less relevant given the technological disruptions and socioeconomic factors.

About the 2023 Kearney Global Service Locations Index

The 78 countries in the 2023 Global Services Location Index were selected based on corporate input, current remote services activity, and government initiatives to promote the sector. They were evaluated against 52 metrics across four major categories: financial attractiveness, people skills and availability, business environment, and digital resonance. This year, Kearney refocused the Index to be more forward-looking and captured digital resonance and talent regenerative capabilities and availability. In the process, a few metrics were dropped from the people skills availability and digital resonance pillars that were focusing on traditional IT, and new digitally focused parameters were added. This along with global trends and key local disruptors led to marked differences in some countries' rankings.

DPR Asia Pacific joins the United Nations Global Compact Initiative

DPR Construction, Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd., part of DPR Construction's Family of Companies, has joined the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) initiative—a voluntary leadership platform for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible business practices.

With this announcement, DPR Construction is proud to join thousands of other companies committed to taking responsible business action to create the world we all want.

The UN Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to take action in support of UN goals and issues embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

"Being integral and indispensable is threaded into everything that we do at DPR. Our four Pillars of Global Social Responsibility (GSR): People, Planet, Partners and Philanthropy, are in line with our commitment to the UN Global Compact's principles. We are proud to be part of the global call to taking responsible actions in creating a more sustainable society and environment." said Richard Kimber, DPR's managing director for Asia Pacific.

Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, with more than 15,000 companies and 3,800 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and more than 69 Local Networks.

DPR's Asia Pacific operations bring global, technical and construction expertise to the region. A BCA-registered contractor, DPR specializes in the commercial, advanced technology and life sciences markets as well as healthcare and higher education.

Strengthening Vaccine Infrastructure in Thailand

SK bioscience, an innovative vaccine and biotech company committed to promoting human health from prevention to cure, announced that the company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO), a state pharmaceutical enterprise in Thailand, to strengthen Thailand's vaccine infrastructure.

The agreement ceremony held at the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand, Nonthaburi was attended by Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Mingkwan Suphannaphong, Managing Director of the GPO, Mr. Joyoung Jeon, Charge d'affaires ad interim, Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Thailand, Mr. Jaeyong Ahn, CEO of SK bioscience, and Dr. Hun Kim, President of Global R&BD of SK bioscience.

The purpose of the MOU is to strengthen the responding system against new pandemics and localize Thailand's vaccine manufacturing capabilities which will extend to the broader Southeast Asia.

The GPO is a state-owned pharmaceutical company established in 1966, supplying medicines and vaccines in Thailand. Thailand's public hospitals use at least 60% of mandatory GPO products, including pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Through the MOU, SK bioscience and the GPO will strengthen Thailand's vaccine development and manufacturing capabilities and collaborate closely in the mid- to long-term to support Thailand becoming a vaccine hub in Southeast Asia.

The health authorities and related organizations of the South Korea and Thailand also agreed to support the cooperative system for health security. The Ministry of Health of the two countries signed an MOU at the World Bio Summit 2022 hosted in South Korea at the end of October last year, promising various cooperation for public health care.

As a first step of the MOU, SK bioscience and the GPO also plan to sign the agreement which transfers drug product manufacturing technology of cell culture-based influenza vaccine developed by SK bioscience for local manufacturing at the plant owned by the GPO.

Once the technology transfer is completed, the GPO will receive drug substance of the influenza vaccine from SK bioscience and plan to obtain a marketing authorization from the regulatory health agency. Both organizations expect that the influenza vaccine manufactured by the GPO will be utilized for the Thailand's national immunization program.

In the long term, SK bioscience plans to transfer its manufacturing capability and expand supplying self-developed vaccines in other Southeast Asian countries. SK bioscience will collaborate with the GPO, the essential partner in supplying medicines in Thailand and further contribute to promoting public health in Southeast Asia.

Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health said, "Today, this signing event will be an important milestone for Thailand's history. GPO as our delegate will be cooperating with SK bioscience, the Republic of Korea. I believed that the cooperation with strong intention from both parties will provide more vaccine access, thus leading to an increase in vaccine security for everyone."

Dr. Mingkwan Suphannaphong, Managing Director of GPO said, "A signing MOU ceremony between GPO and SK bioscience today substantially contributes to a collaboration on manufacturing the cell-culture based influenza vaccine locally in Thailand, namely the trivalent and quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccines. The drug substance bulk produced by SK will be initially delivered to GPO prior to making the drug products. This collaboration is regarded as part of the technology transfer and license agreement that will be planned to sign shortly after the execution of the MOU is complete."

Joyoung Jeon, Charge d'affaires ad interim, Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Thailand said, "I hope GPO and SK bioscience's joint efforts to increase Thailand's self-sufficiency in vaccine products will bear fruitful results. Furthermore, I hope the two parties find new potential opportunities for research and development on various vaccine technologies as well. I promise the Korean government will provide all necessary support for that."

Jaeyong Ahn, CEO of SK bioscience said, "The convergence of SK bioscience's technology, GPO's manufacturing capability, and the administrative support from health authorities from both countries will form a powerful synergy, exemplifying a successful global partnership poised to effectively respond to the next pandemic. We will continuously contribute ourselves to promote public health in the world."

Currently, SK bioscience promotes the 'Glocalization Project', one of main future strategies of SK bioscience based on its R&D and globally acclaimed manufacturing capabilities. SK bioscience will transfer R&D and manufacturing technologies to low- and middle- income countries with limited vaccine infrastructure for resolving a vaccine inequity issue.

SK bioscience is discussing with governments and local companies in various regions, including the Middle East, and Southeast Asia for the glocalization project.

About SK bioscience

SK bioscience is an innovative vaccine and biotech company, committed in vaccine development and manufacturing to enable more equitable access of vaccines in the world. In leveraging strengths on cutting-edge technologies, SK bioscience has been dedicated to promoting human health from prevention to cure across the globe. With cooperation of domestic and international governments, regulatory agencies, healthcare providers, doctors and medical experts, all of the SK colleagues are passionately committed to providing high-quality vaccines to those who need them and better public healthcare solutions. SK bioscience Website

About GPO

GPO is a state enterprise under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand. With a great mission to contribute to strengthening the public health standards among the Thai people, GPO is engaged in the development and the manufacture of those essential vaccines with high quality to provide sustainability to Thailand and the ASEAN region. GPO along with the government of Thailand has continuously aimed for the growth of self-sufficiency on vaccine products by developing, sourcing, manufacturing domestically.

Franchising & Licensing Asia 2023

Visitors attending Franchising & Licensing Asia (FLAsia) this August can explore franchising opportunities with F&B brands focusing on increasing operational efficiency through AI and automation; specially curated brands from Taiwan; and, for the first time, character licensing and merchandising opportunities.

Returning 17-19 August at Sands Expo and Convention Centre Level 1, Hall C, FLAsia is Asia's most established trade platform for the industry, presented annually by the Franchising and Licensing Association (Singapore) and organised by Constellar. This year's edition features over 100 local and international franchises from Australia, Hong Kong(China), Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan(China), United States of America and Vietnam, connecting aspiring individuals and entrepreneurs with global-ready brands looking to expand into the rest of Asia and globally, with Singapore as the springboard.

With FLAsia 2023's theme 'Breaking Barriers with Franchising: Paving the Way for Aspiring Entrepreneurs & Global-Ready Brands', Ms Low Yen Ling, Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry will give her welcome address, followed by a 2-day conference and last-day workshop that will deep-dive into topics focusing on breaking barriers to franchising.

Featuring over 40 leaders and experts with a wealth of cross-sector experience, FLAsia 2023 will examine topics ranging from changing customer preferences, legalities of brand licensing, franchisor-franchisee relationship management, financing and funding options, amongst others. The 3rd day workshop will take a hands-on approach where participants embark on a comprehensive research journey to thoroughly examine and navigate components of a franchise.

Explore F&B franchises and how AI and automation can optimise efficiency

Over on the show floor, FLAsia 2023 continues to receive strong support and participation from F&B brands and restaurants, such as the Brotzeit® German Restaurant and Beer Bar, Canadian 2 for 1 Pizza, Chewy Junior, Crystal Jade, Gloria Jean's Coffees, Gopizza, Home Fiesta by Tung Lok and Russo's New York Pizzeria.

First time exhibitor Arteastiq will be launching 'AI Tomato', its pasta specialty brand from Singapore that embraces technological advancements to produce delicious, high-quality pasta dishes with fresh ingredients. This high-tech kitchen incorporates artificial intelligence and cutting-edge automation technology to replace segments of the traditional food preparation and cooking process.

Experience the epitome of Taiwanese culinary and lifestyle

The extensive Taiwan Franchise Brands Pavilion will feature a remarkable line-up of Taiwanese beverage, culinary and lifestyle brands looking to grow their brand presence worldwide. These include established players in Taiwan's vibrant beverage scene such as COCO fresh tea & Juice; Chinyo Tea and Cozy Tea Loft. Taiwanese culinary brands to check out include Hu Xu Zhang (Formosa Chang); Fuhuigen; Kazama Catering, Meet Fresh and Moon Met Mountain Shawarma. Visitors should also check out lifestyle brands AQUA and LUVAII by Peisheng Beauty Group.

Discover the lucrative potential of character licensing and merchandising

For the first time, FLAsia2023 will host two distinguished companies in the licensing market - Bandai Namco Entertainment and Forward Creation – who are offering interested companies opportunities to create licensed merchandise that incorporate their iconic characters. Bandai Namco Entertainment owns legacy and blockbuster gaming brands such as PAC-MAN, Elden Ring, Tekken, Taiko no tatsujin, and more. Forward Creations prides itself in connecting concepts brands with the local K community and will be presenting its character IPs GOODYVERSE, Dr.B-PANG and SMELLY for further licensing and merchandising exploration.

"We are very excited about this year's FLAsia with the diverse profile of brands offering franchising and licensing opportunities to interested local and regional visitors. It again demonstrates the lucrative potential of Asia's consumer markets, with Singapore as the springboard for brands to expand into the region. The diversity and richness of the content this year is also extremely empowering for potential franchisees and interested investment partners, greatly strengthening FLAsia's proposition as a key knowledge exchange and business networking platform," said Mr Dickson Low, President of Franchising and Licensing Association (Singapore).

About Franchising and Licensing Association (Singapore)

FLA (Singapore), one of the founding members of the World Franchise Council, was established in 1993 with the mission to nurture and develop Singapore's franchising industry. An essential component of Singapore's knowledge-based economy, FLA (Singapore) promotes and facilitates the use of franchising, licensing and branding as a growth strategy for Singapore enterprises, thus contributing to turning Singapore as a regional franchise and license hub. Through its partnership with Singapore government agencies and international franchise and license bodies, FLA (Singapore) also assists its members in their international development programmes. With an active growing membership of close to 140 companies, representing more than 250 strong brands, FLA (Singapore) is led and managed by a dedicated team of advisors, committee members and full-time secretariat with the goal of supporting Singapore companies to expand internationally.

About Constellar

Constellar connects a global eco-system of event partners and consumers through a holistic portfolio of intellectual property (IP) in the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) industry. As Asia's partner of reference for curating innovative event and venue experiences, Constellar activates impactful networks to bring global markets, businesses and consumers together for sustainable growth. With our expertise and dedication, we are invested in helping you build trusted relationships with stakeholders for the long term and enabling cross-industry collaboration through world-class audience engagement solutions. Visit for more information.