Competition is not as intense as it is in some of the central and eastern European markets. It is reasonable to say that in terms of competition, Russia is 3-4 years behind Poland and 1-3 years behind Hungary and the Czech Republic. However, it is catching up quickly. The type of competitionis also different from the core central and eastern European markets, as a manager of a consumer goods company noted:
We bump into each other in the market but we are not yet at the stage of savaging each other for 1% of market share, not even in Moscow. The market is big enough and the regions will give a lot of scope for geographical growth. But the cake will stop expanding in size and then market share will become the driver.
How long will the window of opportunity for other competitors to enter the market stay open? For those not in the market, this comment from the managing director of a major western company will be food for thought: "We think anyone who wants to be a player must be in right now." A Danish executive noted the change in the competitive environment:
In the mid-1990s we were making a lot of money in Russia for not doing very much. Now we're making a lot of money in Russia, but we are working damned hard for it.