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Heathrow and Asia House launch guides to the rising Cities of Asia

July 14, 2014 Airport No Comments Email Email

New Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye will use his first speech as CEO, to launch a series of guides offering advice on how trade with Asian cities showing high growth potential. The series covers Busan, South Korea; Dalian, China; Xiamen, China; Hanoi, Vietnam; Medan, Indonesia; and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Many of Asia’s fastest growing cities possess key markers for investment such as a young population, growing disposable incomes and a burgeoning middle class, as well as government incentives to start a business such as tax exemptions. Asia House and Heathrow have produced the guides to highlight a select few that offer untapped potential for British business. Each provides information on the city, market opportunities, its infrastructure and connectivity as well its cultural life.

Large urban centres such as Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo and Mumbai have long been known as international economic strong points, but many others are just starting to show accelerated growth, in many cases above the national rate. Ulaanbaatar, for example, has a growth rate of 33.8% against a rate in Mongolia of 5.8%, whilst Xiamen has a growth rate of 10.9% against a national average of 7.7%. Businesses trade 20 times as much with displaymediamarkets where there is a direct flight connection than those where there is not, yet with the UK’s hub airport full and unable to add new routes, UK passengers have to travel via Frankfurt and Amsterdam respectively to reach those markets.

Alongside GDP, the guides look at market sectors where there may be specific opportunities. For example:

  • The expansion of the Ulaanbaatar’s financial services sector is a priority for the Mongolian Government. Its rapidly growing population also means its construction infrastructure sectors are some of the fastest growing in the country.
  • The Busan-Jinhae Free Economic Zone (FEZ) encourages foreign investment into the city and offers numerous tax incentives, cash grants and financial assistance to foreign companies. It’s heavily focused on sea trade with additional incentives for maritime logistics and shipbuilding industries. Other areas being developed include high-tech industries, tourism and leisure, and educational and medical facilities.
  • The government in Indonesia actively seeks FDI but places limitations on foreign share- holding. Medan has been noted as a prime investment location for the health care sector.

Speaking at the launch, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:

“As Asia’s consumer class expands, UK firms’ potential to trade with them must be realised and developed. These guides give an insight into some of the cities we may have heard of but never visited, but will one day be as significant to the British economy as Guangzhou or Chennai. We are a trading nation, and need to be directly connected to global growth. Yet a lack of runway capacity at Heathrow is cutting Britain off, leaving us on a branch line to Europe and allowing our European hub rivals to add the routes we cannot. The good news is that Britain can still forge ahead in the global race – it is the best located of the European hubs for accessing these emerging markets. This is a competition we should win.”

Sir John Boyd, Chairman, Asia House, said:

“The rising cities of Asia are crucial to the future of the global economy. The cities covered in our new ‘Rising Cities of Asia’ guides enjoy GDP growth that match or exceed the national rates, implying extensive new opportunities for business in sectors ranging from infrastructure and telecoms to tourism and healthcare. Success in Asia requires long-term commitment on the ground as well as an understanding of the local people, customs, and language. Asia House is dedicated to developing closer ties with Asia, contributing to prosperity at both ends. These guides play an important part in that mission, taking an in-depth look at a number of Asia’s less known cities, but with strong growth potential.”

The guides contain first-hand experience of doing business from expatriates. One is Adrienne Youngman, of the Mongolia Talent Network who said:

“Ulaanbaatar is an easy place to work compared with other emerging cities – people complain about the traffic but it there is a relatively good power supply and internet is strong and easily accessible. The city center is relatively compact but construction continues apace and there are new skyscrapers going up all the time. The general support network is also a real standout. Locals have been very open and friendly in our experience and the expat community is very tight knit and supportive. Making an effort with the language and making sure you are open and don’t come across as arrogant or dismissive is key.”

The guides are available to download at http://asiahouse.org/business-policy/publications/rising-cities-asia/. A previous series titled ‘Navigating Asian Markets’ is also available and covered China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Pakistan, The Philippines and Turkey.

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