AR Classics: AR is often out of line with analyst realities in Asia-Pacific

When Efrem Mallach and I presented Analyst Attitude Survey data at the AR Forum in London, we saw that one of the top issues for many AR teams continues to be understanding analysts in growth markets, and especially in the Asia-Pacific (APac) region. Efrem was this challenge when he ran similar surveys in the 1990s and since 2002, when we developed the Analyst Attitude Survey, the challenge has only become larger.

There are now the best part of a thousand analysts across APac, and no country is home to more than a couple of hundred. Fewer than half of the region’s analysts are in the two main countries (India and China).

That makes AR in Asia-Pacific very different from AR in the Americas (where 80%+ analysts are in the US and Canada) or the EMEA (where analysts are similarly concentrated in the UK and Germany). In fact, AR programmes in APac face the challenge of working across more than a dozen countries, and the complication that many local firms work in local languages. Because many vendors work in English and don’t have AR team members with local languages, that often means that AR programmes in the region focus on the global firms’ offices in the region, skipping over locally-headquartered analysts.

A further complicating factor is the role of offshoring; where firms like Frost & Sullivan, Gartner and IDC are very large in the APJ region because of work being done for clients elsewhere in the world.

As a result, there’s a substantial disconnect between where the analysts are in APac and where the AR professionals are. For example, there are more analysts in Japan than in Singapore, but not more AR professionals: the same can be said about Hong Kong and Korea, Taiwan or Malaysia.

This produces an additional series of national micro-climates for AR, where analysts in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong get much more attention from international vendors than those in more dynamic markets, such as China and Japan.

In the short-term, few vendors are going to realign their resources dramatically in the region. That produces a substantial competitive opportunity: vendors who build close relationships now with locally-headquartered analyst firms will find that those analysts are less communicated with and are thus easier to build relationships with.

PS To discover where this leads, read why Asia-Pacific customers’ different needs demand different AR .