Business leaders see rosy prospects for 2011
Along with the US, the big emerging markets of China, India, Brazil offer the best prospects for growth in sales and export opportunities in 2011, top business leaders predict.
The Asian markets with their vibrant domestic demand fanned by rapidly expanding middle classes are seen as the new engine that will spur global expansion for decades.
The new reality is that China and India are moving into a normality of 10% and 8.5% annual growth, while the US lags behind at 3% and Europe is below that, said OECD chief, Angel Gurria, in an interview.
Any doubts about China's prospects have been put to rest by the country's minister of commerce, Chen Deming, who predicts the domestic consumer market - valued at $2.4 trillion - will continue growing at 15-16% per year.
And that means big new opportunities to tap this lucrative market, including the fashion and luxury goods segments, according to Victor Chu, chairman and CEO of Hong Kong based First Eastern Investment Group.
Mr Chu said in an interview that out of China's 1.3bn population: "You have the super rich by any standards, the luxury class; then you have the middle class that have purchasing parity that can be comparable to that of Americans and Europeans."
They will be going, he said, for the domestic premium class of products - local brands licensing international brands.
He added that 900m of China's population live in rural areas, so many will buy through television or via the internet, "so companies will need mobile paying platforms, and logistics delivery."
Chu said that while internet sales in America and Europe "tend to start with cheap stuff," in Asia and in China that is not the case. "They will buy premium products online and on TV."
However, business executives are also upbeat about the world biggest economy, the US, bouncing back after the financial meltdown and the great recession.
"I think you're going to see extraordinary economic growth of 3.5-4%, that's big growth in the US, and it's going to come from everywhere," said Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the influential US Chamber of Commerce, in an interview.
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