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Gaining an edge through innovation

THE days of relying on low costs and pure manufacturing competencies to draw investments and business into Asian countries are gone.

As organisations in the region find that their initial cost advantages are being eroded by improvements in the countries' economies and rising labour costs, more are seeking competitive advantages in innovation, partly in response to customer demands.

And with global outsourcing extending beyond manufacturing and design to areas like innovation and R&D, Asian manufacturers find that they are playing an increasingly vital role in their customers' R&D strategies.

This is especially so since the R&D-based innovation process is becoming increasingly complex, as more multinationals embark on a drive to externalise their R&D and innovation pipeline.