We are witnessing a war of opinions about the state of the world economy. In the Asia Pacific region, businesses are conflicted: On the one side, businesspeople are excited by emerging markets and their potential; on the other, economists are painting a rather gloomy outlook.
The Asian 6
With China’s economic growth slowing to a “meager” 6%, pundits have offered plenty of pessimism. Yet, this growth rate is still the envy of all developed economies. And despite the doomsayers’ talk of a global economic slowdown, six Asia Pacific economies offer a shining beacon of light for the business world: China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, also known as “The Asian 6”.
The Asia Pacific region has an exciting future to look forward to
While China remains the world’s undisputed manufacturing hub, more Asian markets are well on their way to becoming the next global manufacturing centers. By 2030, the Asia Pacific region will account for 50% of the top global trade lanes. Manufacturing and growing consumption underpin the region. So, there is plenty to be optimistic about. As far as I’m concerned, the Asia Pacific region has an exciting future to look forward to.
Yet, we must not let this optimism make us complacent.
No time for complacency
Asian consumers are well informed, tech savvy and demand fast, flexible and value-added products and services. 71% of APAC shoppers who own mobile phones use their devices in-store to review product information before making a purchase. Cutting-edge businesses need to have a roadmap for omni-channel supply chains as a strategic priority.
The Asia Pacific region is not a unified market like Europe. It has more than 50 customs borders and local market requirements. I’m the first to admit that there many challenges to operating in these markets. The most common complaints are lack of infrastructure, unclear or changing regulations and complex customs processes.
Understand trade agreements
You have heard about them, debated about them, fretted about their impact, and finally decided to ignore them. The naysayers are condemning the usefulness of trade initiatives like TPP, AEC and a multitude of others. The optimists – like me and my colleagues – are keeping a watchful eye on developments and preparing ourselves to tap into their benefits.
I see trade agreements as a ‘glass-half-full-or-half-empty’ issue. But one thing I think most of us can agree on is that we need to have a better understanding of trade initiatives, not to mention their implications on supply chains.
The most successful logistics providers maximize the benefits of these trade agreements and are invested in the region’s warehousing, road, rail, air and ocean networks. They offer end-to-end solutions to support omni-channel business strategies.
I hope this paper, Demystifying Asia Pacific Trade Trends, will inject more optimism into the discussion about what the future holds for the region. And most of all, I hope its recommendations will inspire more businesses to leverage success in the Asia Pacific region.