Asia House launched a brand new publication on Tuesday night – Asia 2025 – which shares forecasts from 25 global leaders on the next decade in Asia.
The glossy black book, sponsored by Prudential, contains a collection of 25 informed opinion pieces by prominent voices that include influential thought leaders in and experts from Asia, international government figures, academics, CEOs and Chairmen from some of the world’s leading multinationals.
The unique collection of pieces covers topics that include digital Asia, the rise of the Asian multinational, the harmonisation of regulations in the region, energy security, climate change as well as demographic shifts and other important developments the region will face over the next decade.
Introducing the book at the launch event, Chief Executive of Asia House Michael Lawrence said: “One of Asia House’s greatest assets is our network of business people and thought leaders who engage with us and support us and share their insights with us. We assembled 25 of those and we asked them to look ahead 10 years.”
Chief Executive of Asia House Michael Lawrence introduced the event. Image credit: Miles Willis Photography
Paul Manduca, Chairman of Prudential, one of the contributors to the book, pointed out that the launch of the hardback book “fittingly took place in Asia House’s 20th anniversary year.”
“It is a publication that we are proud to have sponsored,” he said. “And a worthy addition to the impressive body of work that Asia House has built up over the last two decades,” he added.
He said that the book focused on the wider long-term trends in Asia rather than short-term stock market jitters, as, in his view, the balance of economic power would continue to move East.
The theme of Manduca’s piece is the changing face of corporate governance in Asia. He said many Asian family firms would be replaced by independent boards and would have to face tougher regulatory and legal regimes. He added that as more Asian multinationals emerged and grew, corporate governance would have to evolve and develop in Asia.
“From disruptive innovation, to the rise of new corporate giants to the great demographic shifts we are seeing – these are just some of the elements that Asia 2025 touches upon,” he said.
By 2025 Prudential will have been operating in Asia for more than a century.
“We sold our first policy in the region to a tea planter in Assam in 1923. The changes that the region has seen since then have been remarkable: the rise of new technologies, the embedding of widespread prosperity and the consequent emerging of a powerful Asian middle class, to name but three,” he added.
Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Hugo Swire, who was a guest speaker at the Asia 2025 launch event, said the list of contributors in Asia 2025 read like “a Who’s Who of all things Asia and is a credit to the respect Asia House commands, both in this country and the region.”
He then went on to speak about the continued importance of the region.
“Some commentators are sounding the alarm about the Chinese economic slowdown, and the impact this might have on other economies in the region and further afield. This does not change the fundamental fact that Asia is now – and will remain – a major engine for global growth, and one with which we must continue to engage,” he said.
“The purchasing power of Asia’s growing middle class is going up faster than the sky scrapers they are moving into. India overtook China recently to become the fastest growing outbound travel market – predicted to more than triple to 50 million between now and 2020. Two of the world’s top three economies are Asian, a third of global trade and GDP is represented by Asia. Some predict that by 2025 as many as two thirds of the world’s population will be Asian. Both the G7 and G20 will be hosted in the region this year – clear testament to its growing significance.”
He said the British Government supported ASEAN’s Vision 2025 with its plans to tackle non-tariff barriers, harmonise the regulatory environment and liberalise services.
“These changes will be crucial for boosting growth in Southeast Asia and strengthening integration with the rest of the world economy,” he explained.
The EU currently has Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Vietnam and Singapore.
The East Devon MP said the various FTAs that the EU was pursuing with countries in Asia were “laying the foundations for an EU-ASEAN FTA.”
“An agreement with Japan is in the pipelines; I very much hope to see soon a resumption of negotiations on the EU-Thailand FTA; and the UK is advocating a feasibility study on an EU-China FTA,” he added.
He pointed out the Asian growth story was a two-way exchange. “People in Europe are looking east as never before, but Asians are increasingly looking west – as students, investors and tourists. Some estimates suggest that Chinese tourists spend as much as £8,000 during a visit to the UK,” he said.
“Ten years ago only two per cent of Indonesia’s population used the Internet. This year a third are expected to: that means 100 million Indonesians connected globally, with huge implications for economic growth and social change. Chinese consumers spent a record £10 billion online in just one day last year,” he said.
“At an individual level, it means that a teenager on a laptop in Hanoi can do business with a company in Huddersfield,” he explained. “At a country level, it has meant a recognition of growing interdependence and the need to join forces with others.”
He then referred to a South Korean firm that is building Royal Navy fuel tankers and also Britain’s plans to send RAF Typhoon fighter jets to Japan for the first non US military exercise Japan has ever hosted. Mr Swire also spoke about Britain’s membership of the EU. To read what he had to say on that click here.
Copies of the ‘Asia 2025’ book which was launched at Asia House. Image credit: Miles Willis Photography
Beth McKillop, Deputy Director at the V&A, who also contributed to the book, said her essay was about culture and people-to-people contact between the East and West.
“London is a great hub of interest, trade and engagement with Asia, and it is here in London where relationships between people and between companies can come together and grow and Asia House is committed to this. The V&A is equally committed too,” she said referring to some recent exhibitions held at the V&A, such as The Fabric of India and Masterpieces of Chinese Painting. “Here in London we have world-class Asian collections, Asian scholarship and expertise. These are all examples of how cultural events can bring together different people from all over the world.”
Beth McKillop, Deputy Director at the V&A, one of the contributors to the book, also spoke at the event. Image credit: Miles Willis Photography
Nazir Razak, Chairman of CIMB Group, and a contributor to the book, also spoke about ASEAN integration at the event.
More than 100 business leaders, members of the Asian diplomatic community, and British government representatives joined the launch event held at Asia House. They were each given a copy of the book. The speeches were followed by a networking reception. The drinks were sponsored by Diageo. Diageo’s chief executive Ivan Menezes also contributed to the book.
To see a slideshow of the Asia 2025 launch event click below:-
If you interested to find out more about Asia 2025 please email email@example.com.
In his speech The Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP also shared his views on Britain’s membership of the EU. To read what he had to say click here.
To find out about other Business & Policy events taking place at Asia House click here.
To find out about corporate membership at Asia House contact Charlie.Humphreys@asiahouse.co.uk.