Just as the crash of 1929 did not presage the downfall of the United States, neither will the economic crisis of 1997 mean the end of the rise of Asia and the Pacific Rim. Leading them out of a temporary setback, says Bullis, will be the new high-tech sectors of their economies: information services, communication technology, and electronic delivery systems such as e-commerce and e-business. His book is thus a non-technical look at the state of information technology (IT) and how people in the emerging Asia marketplace are thinking about it, especially in places like Singapore and Malaysia, the only two countries in the region pursuing the sorts of large-scale information infrastructure projects that will eventually determine the region's long term commerce in IT. Not a state of the technology book but a state of the mindset book, it offers businesspeople worldwide an important understanding of this vast and burgeoning market for their products and services, insights that will help decision makers recognize the big mistakes they can make before they make them. An important and fascinating study for executives in all industries that hope to do business in the still vital Asian market.
Bullis makes clear that a great deal of investment money and corporate prestige can be wasted if companies attempt to enter the Asia information technology (IT) services arena with no clear idea of what IT wants. Overseas firms often assume that their potential clients think the way they think and have the same needs. This is especially true, he says, with the sorts of decision makers who assume that marketplace forces alone condition investment decisions. But Asia is not a marketplace; it is a cultureplace. Basic issues, such as freedom of expression, the social utility of information, who should benefit from commerce, and the structure of organizations—all these are viewed differently in Asia. Bullis' book explains just what the mindset of the region is, largely in the words of Asia's IT movers and shakers and those who are rising in the economy to become tomorrow's leaders and influentials, precisely the people with whom their counterparts elsewhere will soon have to deal. Readers will find not only a much better understanding of the kinds of services they should be offering, but how to tailor those services and their delivery systems to local realities.
DOUGLAS BULLIS is a writer, editor, and current owner of Atelier Books, a full service book production firm serving international publishers with interests in the Southeast Asian market. Bullis has written and published more than 200 articles on topics ranging from art and cultural history to business, country investment, and technology transfer. He is the author of two previous Quorum books, Doing Business in Today's India (1998) and Selling to India's Consumer Market (1997).