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    CEO of Asia House Michael Lawrence with Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye at the launch of the Rising Cities of Asia publication.
    Asia House CEO Michael Lawrence with Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye at the launch of the Rising Cities of Asia publication. Photo by Miles Willis

    Greater connectivity essential, says airport boss, as guide to emerging Asian cities launched

    Published On: 11 July 2014

    A reception was held at Asia House to launch a new publication, Rising Cities of Asia, which gives advice on how to trade with Asian cities showing high growth potential.

    The series of guides produced by Asia House, with Heathrow’s support, offers useful insights into lesser known but emerging Asian cities with untapped potential. The cities are Busan, South Korea; Dalian, China; Xiamen, China; Hanoi, Vietnam; Medan, Indonesia; and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

    Each provides information on the city, market opportunities, infrastructure and connectivity, as well as tips on cultural life and first-hand experience of doing business from expatriates.

    Dozens of guests including business leaders, Asia House corporate members and government officials attended a reception to launch the guides.

    CEO of Asia House Michael Lawrence said: “Asia House is all about connecting the UK and Asia, helping to increase understanding of Asian business and the culture of doing business there, and we see these guides as a key part of that mission. The six cities we have chosen all have very strong growth and the drive to expand.

    “These are places you are well advised to get to know if you want to do business in Asia or if you are already doing business in Asia.”

    He said the guides highlighted the importance of being on the ground and of being committed in the long-term not only to the market, but also to a community. “Understanding the culture and business practices is essential to being successful,” he added. These themes underpinned everything that Asia House did, he added.

    The new set of city guides follows the first series that Asia House produced with Heathrow, Navigating Asian Markets, a set of country guides to help British businesses navigate selected Asian markets.

    “We are confident that the Rising Cities of Asia guides will be just as popular and keenly read,” Lawrence said. “Heathrow have been tremendous partners to work with; we are delighted to have the relationship we do with them and we hope it will be an ongoing one.”


    Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “This is such a natural relationship between ourselves and Asia House because Heathrow’s role is to connect all of UK with global growth.”

    He explained that global growth in the next 40 years was going to be focused on Asia and the Americas. But despite all the travelling he had done, he had never heard of one of the cities in the Rising Cities of Asia publication – Medan. “One day it will be a city on everyone’s lips and we will be doing business throughout the UK with them,” he said.

    When he started in business such guides did not exist, he said. He lived in the Philippines for a time and had to rely on Lonely Planet and Insight guides, which had no information on doing business in that country. He said he wished guides like Rising Cities of Asia had been available then, especially since “no two Asian countries are the same.

    “I knew that Mongolia was growing at double digit rates but I did not know that UB (Ulaanbaatar) was the place to go at exactly this time of year for the Naadam Festival –Mongolian wrestling and horse-racing. What a fantastic opportunity to blend our cultural understanding with our business understanding.”

    But he said the burning issue was that presently it was not possible to get to any of the cities in the guide directly from London even though London is the best located city in the world with a world-class airport.

    John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow, giving a speech at Asia House

    John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow, launched the Rising Cities of Asia publication at Asia House. Photo by Miles Willis

    “More than 95 per cent of global GDP is within a direct flight from London,” he said.

    But London was losing its position as the best connected city in the world because of a lack of capacity at Heathrow. “We can’t expand it and reach these markets we need to get to without expanding Heathrow,” he said. “These are the cities where our children need to be doing business in the future to keep Britain at the heart of the global economy. We need direct connections to those markets. Frankfurt has them and Amsterdam has them. Heathrow does not.”

    He then urged all those present to write to their MP or the prime minister to make sure they understand just how important it is for the British economy that Heathrow expands, concluding: “It’s a choice for us about whether we win the race for growth or lose 7-1 to Germany and blow for our children the legacy we have been left.”

    The Rising Cities of Asia guides can be downloaded here.

    The earlier Navigating Asian Markets series covered Azerbaijan, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Pakistan, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam. They can be downloaded here.

    The audio of the event can be listened to below:

    A slideshow of the Rising Cities of Asia launch reception can be viewed below:

    To read the press release click here.