11 Nov 2009
Green Shoots in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong Trade
Two New HKTDC Reports Offer Promise for Local Companies
11 November 2009 – The global financial crisis has plunged many developed economies into recession. The Asian region and its export-driven economies have not been immune to the downturn. But Southeast Asia, particularly the ASEAN countries, has fared relatively better, according to a new Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) research report, “Green Shoots in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong Trade.”
“The recent US subprime-led crisis evolved into a global economic downturn, but compared to the Asian financial crisis in 1997, it has not dealt as harsh a blow to most of Asia’s developing economies. The improvements in the banking system and government over the past decade are crucial reasons behind this,” HKTDC Assistant Chief Economist Dickson Ho, and the author of the report, said at a press conference today.
ASEAN economies with a higher dependency on exports, including Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, experienced a steeper decline in GDP, conceivably due to falling demand. “But other ASEAN members with large domestic markets, including Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, are expected to record positive GDP growth in 2009,” said Mr Ho. He added that the GDPs of Vietnam and Indonesia are expected to reach four per cent or better this year.
“Although the Chinese mainland alone can’t replace dwindling external demand from developed countries, it has helped by acting as an economic anchor in the region, thanks to a series of stimulus measures swiftly introduced – the Rmb4 trillion package and the 10-industry revitalisation plan,” he said.
A stable renminbi, and a huge domestic market with fast-expanding middle-class consumers, has also strengthened the mainland as an engine of economic growth in the region, according to Mr Ho.
Middle Class Role
The region’s expanding middle class is also playing a significant role in containing the effects of the global slump. Southeast Asia is estimated to have a middle class of more than 75 million, with 19 million and 15 million respectively in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Trendsetting Hong Kong
A second HKTDC research report, “Strengthening Hong Kong’s Position as a Lifestyle Trendsetter in the Region,” was also unveiled at the press conference.
The report notes that Chinese and Southeast Asian middle-class consumers regard Hong Kong products and services as trendy and stylish, reflecting not only Hong Kong’s fusion of east and west design sensibilities, but also good quality products and ample choices.
“Regional middle-class consumers may turn out to be a fertile market for Hong Kong companies looking to diversify their consumer good exports, particularly given the presence of the region’s many ethnic Chinese, who are influenced by Hong Kong’s culture exports and see the city as a trendsetter,” said Mr Ho.
In 2008, Hong Kong exports of consumer goods to ASEAN totalled US$5 billion, about 22 per cent of Hong Kong’s total exports to the region. Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines are the top four markets in ASEAN for Hong Kong consumer goods. Some of the goods destined for Singapore are likely to be re-distributed to Indonesia and other centres.
From 1999 to 2008, Hong Kong’s exports of consumer goods to ASEAN grew at an average annual rate of 6.7 per cent.
For the full text of the reports, please click the following links:
Green Shoots in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong Trade: Strengthening Hong Kong's Position as a Lifestyle Trendsetter in the Region:
Green Shoots in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong Trade:http://www.hktdc.com/info/mi/a/ef/en/1X06E80C/1/Economic-Forum/Green-Shoots-in-Southeast-Asia-and-Hong Kong-Trade.htm
Strengthening Hong Kong's Position as a Lifestyle Trendsetter in the Region:
Please contact the HKTDC's Corporate Communication Department:
Tel: (852) 2584 4216
About the HKTDC
Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers. With more than 40 offices worldwide, including 11 in the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and Asia. The HKTDC also organises trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, www.hktdc.com