Asian Markets Surprise (In Ways Most Overlook)

When investors and corporate executives talk about profitable growth in Asia, the first word most audiences expect to hear is “China”. Yet the risk and return dynamics in Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Korea are just as compelling right now.

The question the smart money is asking “Is Vietnam the new Guangdong?”

With labour costs 50% of those in Southern China, a fast rising and young workforce, high levels of mobile adoption and wide use of the Internet, the dynamics after a 5 year slump are fast moving  into favourable territory.

Global brands such as Nike, Samsung and others have jumped on the opportunity.

Vietnam, as a growth market for many firms may still be seen through sceptical eyes. For Americans, a dark historical perspective needs to be overcome. Yet who knew Vietnam is the world’s largest producer of coffee? Think about that when you sip your next Nescafé coffee.

In short-term challenges lie long-term opportunities. In 1947 Myanmar (Burma) was the richest country in Asia. While economic prospects are most positive there today, no serious investor or corporate executive would put that country in the Top 5 Asian growth markets.

For those willing to take a long-term view and with a stomach for high levels of volatility, go and take a look in person at what is happening on the ground in Ho Chi Minh and Saigon.

© James Berkeley 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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