Have you met Dominique Herold?
From time to time, we interview people of the German Centre network. We want to learn who they are – and drill down on their dedication and commitment towards the German Centres.
Dear Dominique, tell us a bit about yourself.
The fascination for developing, managing or administrating any kind of real estate is the guiding thread in my CV. As a child, bricks were my favourite toys, but it soon turned out that my talent for architecture was not sufficient to turn it into a career. Therefore, during my studies, I concentrated on real estate management and was engaged in several positions in this field afterwards, for example in corporate real estate at the Schwarz Group Head Quarter in Heilbronn, Germany. During an overseas trip for my MBA studies in Shanghai, I was very impressed with the momentum of the real estate market over there. Impressive skyscrapers popped up in no time, iconic buildings were constructed and changed the skyline of Pudong and other areas in the city. So I said to myself: I have to be in Asia! That is what finally brought me to Singapore 5 years ago.
Having grown up in Stuttgart, I have always loved pretzels. But that’s almost the only thing I miss about home (besides family and friends, of course). Hence I’m still happy living in Asia, especially in a country like Singapore, with summer all year long. This allows me to enjoy water sports, like open water swimming or paddling, without shivers. One of my favourite team sports is dragon boat racing and I am the captain of an international team.
What was your fist contact with the German Centre?
This is a really funny story, which proves once more that the world is a village! The first time I heard about the German Centre was in Heilbronn, when I worked with Schwarz Group. A real estate agent who knew that I was looking for a way to live and work in Asia connected me with one of his friends here in Singapore. This friend was the Global Vice President Sales of Waldner Group and Waldner has their Asian headquarter right here at German Centre Singapore. This led to my first application at German Centre – which was rejected, because they only had an intern position vacant at that time. Luckily, a few months later, they opened a position as Tenant Relations Manager. So I applied again – and got the job!
This story is a good example that your way to success is paved on good networks and persistence. That was the key for me personally and is key for companies entering into new markets.
What is something great about your current position at German Centre?
Developing and realising ideas together with our customers and with my whole team. The precondition is to understand our clients’ businesses, their targets, their needs and challenges. I am sure that some people are wondering why I am so curious and ask so many questions about their business. But this helps me to contribute my part of the solution as a sparring partner, or as a connector to experts, companies, etc. This way, I can enable collaboration between many, many parties. In Germany, two companies might be tough competitiors. In Singapore, as neighbours in the German Centre, they collaborate to realise their projects together. In my opinion, this is the most important added value of a German Centre. You will not find this in any other commercial building. That’s why I like to see us more as a partner than a landlord – we match, you grow.
What comes to your mind spontaneoulsy when you think about Germany?
Slower than Asia. Reliable. And conservative in a positive way.
Which advice would you give a company that plans to enter into a new market?
I have two pieces of advice and a best one. Number one: connect with the right people! The German Centre network is a huge treasure of experiences and develops continuously. If we don’t know the answer, we definitely know somebody who does.
And number two: Asia is the place to be, with a fast growing market and huge potential for any kind of business. Singapore is definitly the right place to start from. Nowhere else will you get that level of efficiency, transparency, stability, innovation and ease of doing business. I am a huge fan of Singapore and could continue talking about its advantages for hours – happy to do so with whoever is interested in setting a foot into Asia/Singapore.
My best advice is: come to Singapore and move into the German Centre! There you get the whole ecosystem you need to succeed in a growing market!
Which trends are the most important ones for your customers?
Digitisation is trend no 1. This includes digitisation of internal processes and workflows. Not less important is digitisation that changes whole business models and the way of selling products. Industry 4.0, connectivity and smart manufacturing are only a few buzzwords in this context. It affects not only the products and services, but also the sales and distribution channels of every company. Singapore is further increasing its advantages as a hub for the whole region by investing in digitalisation and innovation. It’s exciting to see how huge innovation centres for large international companies develop throughout the country. This also opens doors for startups and small and medium-sized companies. Singapore does not only support with grants and other benefits, it also provides the right ecosystem of a skilled workforce and a digital, innovative environment. The second big trend that I see is sustainabiliy. Singapore is aware that, despite being a small county, its impact is big. Being limited in space and ressources, sustainability is the way to lead the region. This includes building sustainability and sustainable manufacturing as well as recycling and waste management. Singapore knows that in these areas, German companies in particular can be important partners for knowledge transfer. The city state is very supportive towards German companies that wish to bring their products and know-how to Singapore.
Which market opportunities do you see for German companies?
There is no universal answer to that. The Southeast Asian markets are definitely growth markets, but although ten countries are organised within ASEAN, all countries have totally different legal and labour environments and sales opportunities. You need highly individual strategies to succeed in these markets. If you think about the best place to do business in the region, then the answer is easy: Singapore! Location, transparency, political stability, language, easiness to found an entity, qualified labour force, digitisation and governmental support, just to mention a few factors. Singapore is the leading innovation hub in the region and has a lot of advantages for future industries, such as MedTech, FoodTech, Industry 4.0 and many others.
What does success mean to you?
That in the end everybody is happy and satisfied.
What is your favourite place after a long working day?
The Colbar Café, a hidden gem in one of Singapore’s less known districts, One North. The place is a very casual outdoor café and bar where you meet many, many different people from all nations, locals as well as expats. I love the very relaxing community and environment.