General Manager, North Asia & Japan
The biggest takeaway from my years at Nasdaq is learning how to build trusting relationships in very different cultures.
When Ulf Carlsson arrived in at Nasdaq’s Hong Kong office in 2003, there were only three exchange clients. Yet he stayed in the region because of the potential opportunities for growth, and now, the exchange clients have increased nearly tenfold.
“It's been a journey that has been driven by the expansion of the Nasdaq brand and the competence of the company,” said Ulf.
Ulf, who is the regional head of Nasdaq’s operations in North Asia and Japan, noted that Nasdaq has made substantial investments in the region, setting up offices in countries like Japan, India, China and Singapore, as well as cities such as Hong Kong, Beijing, Manila and Sydney.
“Today we are in all of those locations, but especially in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore,” said Ulf. “We have grown organically through sales contacts and networking.”
Conducting business in the region varies from country to country; business in China will be different than business in Hong Kong or Tokyo. Through his time working in Asia-Pacific, Ulf has embraced and enjoyed the cultural experience.
“The biggest takeaway is to learn how to build trusting relationships in very different cultures,” Ulf said.
Entering the Japanese market was Ulf’s biggest challenge and greatest success. About five years after he arrived in the region, he landed the company’s first contract in Japan with the Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM). The deal demonstrated a high level of trust in Nasdaq’s technology to be used as the core financial infrastructure in one of the world’s largest commodity markets. Today, Japan is the Market Technology’s biggest market in the region, with six exchange clients and several broker clients.
“My goal for my role here is to have the whole company and all of our businesses recognize the potential of Asia and Asia-Pacific, and to continue to grasp the growth opportunities here because they are everywhere,” said Ulf.