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Home Articles & Speeches Consulting booms as AP firms go for global growth - The Australian
Consulting booms as AP firms go for global growth - The Australian
The Australian

DEMAND for consultancy services in the Asia-Pacific region has risen rapidly as companies seek to increase their international competitiveness, according to Robert Lees of global consultancy firm BearingPoint.

He said that in the March quarter, his firm's revenues from the region had soared to 10.2 per cent of the group's gross revenue of $US821.3 million ($1.23 billion), compared to 5.9 per cent in the corresponding quarter in 2002. The number of employees in Asia had more than doubled in a year to 2500.

Mr Lees, the Asia-Pacific executive adviser for BearingPoint, created through the merger of the former consulting arm of KPMG and part of Andersen, singled out China as the most promising market.

"We went from being non-existent in China less than three years ago to a firm employing 500 people today," he said. Previously, Chinese companies had baulked at having to pay for consulting services, he said.

But since joining the World Trade Organisation, big state-owned companies sought consultants to help them achieve world-best practice in areas ranging from accounting to strategic planning.

"Two months ago we opened a global technology development centre in Shanghai. The idea was to serve as a high-quality, low-cost technology centre for our clients and multinationals," he said. "But we are finding that there is a lot of business to be had from the Chinese companies themselves."

BearingPoint's clients included the Bank of China and China Telecom.

He said that in Japan, banks and government agencies had augmented its usual client base of export-oriented companies. He said the Japanese sought consultancy services to help in management changes. He said Australia and New Zealand had become development centres for the firm.

BearingPoint's priority was to further develop its Asia-Pacific business. It is understood that the firm aims to more than double the Asia-Pacific contribution in the next three to five years.

Mr Lees, who was secretary-general of the Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC) for a decade, was recruited last year.