Going Global: Coming to New Perspectives

Going Global: Coming to New Perspectives

It takes an on-site presence and profound knowledge about local needs – and sometimes simply having enough wind in your sails – to be successful worldwide.

The English author Charles Dickens said: “The world belongs to those who set out to conquer it armed with self-confidence and good humor.” Having both of those attributes certainly can’t hurt. Three different perspectives illustrate, however, that a few other things are also needed if you want to be successful around the globe.

The World Circumnavigator

At the age of 27, Alan Roura was the youngest competitor in the last edition of the Vendée Globe, the world’s toughest sailing regatta – again for the second time after 2016. The Swiss national circumnavigated the Earth solo in 95 days and crossed the finish line on February 11, 2021, in 17th place out of 33 starters. He wants to compete again in 2024 with a faster yacht and a bigger team.

“It’s strange how I sailed around the entire world but wasn’t affected at all by time zones or national borders. Going by Coordinated Universal Time enabled me to keep my daily rhythm even when I was close to the South Pole, where the nights are only a couple of hours long. It didn’t matter one bit to me if it was Wednesday or Sunday. Thanks to my chart, I always knew if I was sailing at the moment south of Cape Town, Tokyo, or Perth. That motivated me because apart from Cape Horn, I hardly saw land for three months. I instead saw something that no one else does. Moments in solitude on the ocean are singularly unique, none of them are reproducible. The magic fizzled, however, whenever I hit doldrums or technical problems arose and competitors caught up to me or pulled ahead of me. I never gave up, though, thanks to my six-person support team at home and especially thanks to my daughter, who was born four months before the race started. I wanted to make her proud and be a role model of perseverance to her.”

The Market Developer

Martin Frech is the chief strategy officer and head of e-commerce at DKSH. The Zurich-based company helps businesses to expand into Asia and to grow there. Among its many accomplishments, DKSH brought the AstraZeneca vaccine to Thailand and secured the distribution of more than 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Asia.

“Imagine having developed a product that has become a blockbuster in no time. You now would like to roll it out to other countries. Asia, with its high growth rates and its expanding middle class, particularly interests you. But you don’t have a foreign subsidiary or a distribution setup there, which means that you also have no marketing assets, no sales organization, no factories, no warehouses, and no permits in place. It can cost 5 to 10 million Swiss francs to enter a market, and it will take three to five years before your product makes it onto store shelves. And don’t think that you can bring it onto the market without having to make modifications to it. People in emerging economies buy shampoo in single‑use packaging because a 400-milliliter bottle would cost a month’s wages. Consumers in Thailand like everything a little sweeter. And an English name stands for quality in Singapore. We at DKSH have been dealing with such characteristics for over a century and a half. We, for example, brought Mars products to Cambodia and facilitated Lego’s expansion into Thailand – and we can make your product available in every corner of Indonesia within a short time if you wish.”

The Alpinist

Stephan Hänseler, who heads SIX SIS, is in charge of the services that SIX provides as Switzerland’s national central securities depository, and is responsible for the international custody operations. Prior to joining SIX, the mountain climbing enthusiast spent two decades working in various roles at Credit Suisse and UBS in Zurich and Singapore.

“SIX, with SIX SIS and Iberclear, is the national central depository for Swiss and Spanish securities. Operating out of Zurich, Madrid, and Olten, we also provide custodian services for securities in over 50 markets for our international clients. From London, and with our new branch offices in New York and Singapore, we are continually expanding our global presence. It is essential to be on site in every time zone to directly provide our clients with proven, fully integrated market‑specific services for all asset classes. Regardless of our international ambitions, it is imperative not to neglect our domestic markets. The Swiss Alps are home to the imposing twin peaks of Castor and Pollux, which are over 4,000 meters high. I like to analogize them with our custody operations. Castor embodies the services we render as a national central securities depository. The somewhat smaller Pollux symbolizes the international custody business. It is technically more challenging, just like the ascent to the Pollux summit is, and will therefore be given our undivided attention in the years ahead.”