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Strategise to beat a larger competitor
Khoo Kheng-Hor | 11 Dec 2015 00:30
Since young, I have often heard people talking about being at the right time at the right place. Indeed, it is true that having a large army – read as possessing capability and plenty of resources – may not be enough. Sometimes, just being at the right place at the right time will secure us an indomitable position. Let’s explore. Physically, Sun Tzu’s description portrays an enclosed ground as having narrow access and difficult to exit. Thus, even a small army can hold it quite well to defeat a larger army. In today’s context, it brings to mind a market with high entry and exit barriers. A pioneer may find it not too difficult to access initially. However, once it is occupied, the pioneer will usually set up high barriers of entry to ward off any potential follower. In 1959, sugar king Robert Kuok saw the opportunity to set up a sugar refinery in Malaya (it was after Independence and before the formation of Malaysia). He could be said to be there at the right time and place because the country then was dependent on imported sugar refined in Britain and Hong Kong. With two Japanese partners – Mitsui & Co and Nissin Sugar Manufacturing Company – he founded Malayan Sugar Manufacturing Company Bhd (MSM).

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