Many countries in Southeast Asia are in the midst of rapid transformation. Fuelled by healthy economic growth and increasing urbanisation, there is currently a high demand for quality products and sustainable solutions.
The transport industry is no exception, and Volvo Buses were quick to pick up on these new opportunities. The company’s bus rapid transit (BRT) solution, a cost-efficient system for public transport, has several features that can benefit the infrastructure of growing cities.
In order to succeed, it was necessary to break through the widespread habit in Southeast Asian markets of relying on local and cheaper suppliers.
Countries including India, China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia all have a strong GDP growth. Together with a high level of urbanisation, there is an enormous need for quality urban transportation, as well as intercity transport.
Compared to many other types of transport, Volvo Buses’ BRT solution is both fast and cost-effective to implement. It is also robust and can help to lower pollution levels by reducing traffic congestion.Business Sweden has a vast network of local contacts in most of the countries we are expanding into. They invited us to participate in national trade delegations and arranged dedicated workshops and seminars.
“Many countries are looking for better quality products and we can contribute with our durable commodities and services, offered at a premium price,” says Jan Vandooren, Urban Mobility Director at Volvo Buses.
The road to success is never without obstacles, of course. The Southeast Asian markets are emerging as high-quality markets, but they used to be served by local suppliers offering products at a lower cost, but also of lower quality – and old habits die hard.
In addition, a previous lack of regulations in many of these markets has created a non-sustainable industry dominated by minibuses and jeeps.
To tackle these challenges, Volvo Buses turned to Business Sweden for support.
“Business Sweden has a vast network of local contacts in most of the countries we are expanding into,” Vandooren observes. “They invited us to participate in national trade delegations and arranged dedicated workshops and seminars in the relevant countries.”
Using government to government approaches such as high-level visits, capacity building and stakeholder influencing, Business Sweden helped Volvo Buses to increase their chances of winning prioritized bus deals. Other methods included focus studies and stakeholder studies, as well as market and industry insights.
In short, Business Sweden used a full range of resources to position Volvo Buses as a global leader and advisor on sustainable transport solutions. A crucial part has been to demonstrate that Volvo Buses possess the knowledge to build modern, sustainable and efficient public transport solutions with high ridership levels.
And the result? Well, Volvo Buses has found a mix of new private and governmental customers. As politicians and entrepreneurs discover the value of quality products, the BRT solution is becoming increasingly popular.
“Many companies are willing to pay for sustainable products as they can see that it is good value for money,” Vandooren concludes.
The cooperation between Volvo Buses and Business Sweden has paid off, and together with the positive growth potential in Southeast Asia, the prospect of a prosperous future is bright.
ABOUT VOLVO BUSES
Volvo Buses is one of the world’s leading brands of buses and coaches, operating in more than 140 countries. The company was founded in Sweden in 1927, and a year later, the first bus appeared on the streets. The company started with a vision of safe and efficient transportation for everyone, and its extended concept is to provide pioneering, sustainable transport solutions globally.
The company is further being established as a global leader and advisor on how to build modern, sustainable and efficient transport solutions with a high ridership.