Asia and Procurement “Emerged Markets” – Get Here or Go Home (Part 3)

In the first two installments (Part 1 and Part 2) of this series, I provided an overview of recent Asian procurement market observations and trends based on attending the recent ProcureCon Asia event – and my own experience working in and with the region in global sourcing and manufacturing over the past two decades. The series continues with a round-up of country-specific procurement observations and trends.


  • The sourcing, procurement and finance back office revolution has yet to take place in Japan. Perhaps once Oracle (a shining success in Japan) truly gets their suite(s) streamlined and packaged properly for the local market (and more broadly), then maybe the Japanese will adopt everything from e-sourcing to modern vendor management. The lack of progress in this area is more than a little puzzling – the Japanese skill for driving efficiencies out of any process should easily be applicable to procurement and sourcing as well. Ariba, as one example, has tried to expand in Japan but has failed to establish a presence in line with its success in other markets of similar maturity.
  • The US Navy relies on eSourcing when collecting bids for repairs at the Yokosuka base – this started over 10 years ago – and their tactical use of engaging with local small repair shops that bid on repair work opportunities through an eSourcing platform should be an inspiration for all. Again, it is puzzling why this success hasn’t spread further. There are probably (I should say hopefully) stories to the contrary, but I have heard so many individuals describe the poor market acceptance of strategic eSourcing solutions and practices in Japan that I’ll throw this in as a bit of an incendiary statement. Perhaps it’s a protectionist double sourcing standard – overseas, the Japanese are known to use eSourcing when engaging with non-Japanese suppliers.


  • China no longer has the labor arbitrage advantage of years past – but this isn’t exactly news.
  • “Returning” Chinese have been a useful resource of talent – these are ethnic Chinese that were either born, grew up, or have otherwise spent many years in the West. Now that they want to go “home,” they bring bilingual and bicultural assets with them. This has been a new source of talent for procurement and supply chain organizations, both for multinationals operating in the region and Chinese companies.


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