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Emerging Economies; Growing Opportunities

Bangladesh may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think about the IT or pharmaceutical sectors, but these are fast-growing industries in the country, which is making strides to diversify from its textiles foundation.

On the pharma side, the country now not only fulfils most of its domestic demand, but also exports pharmaceutical products to 100 countries around the world, including the United States. Clearly, the idea that Bangladesh is purely a garment manufacturer is rapidly becoming out of date.

As we heard at a recent roundtable, the country has also been enjoying rapid GDP growth that is expected to continue. The Bangladesh government is also making efforts to improve the environment for outside investors, helping to smooth the path in a range of sectors for businesses willing to explore this promising country.

Another interesting emerging market is Vietnam. We are all familiar with the story of the Mainland’s transformation following the launch of its reform and opening-up policies. At a Chamber event, we learned about Vietnam’s recent economic history, which has echoes of China’s development.

Vietnam set out on its own reform path in 1986 and has seen remarkable improvements in recent years – last year, its GDP growth rate was an impressive 7.8%. It is also increasingly open to foreign investment, and has been actively pursuing agreements with other countries on free trade and double taxation.

Of course, these emerging economies are not without their challenges, from regulatory hurdles to cultural differences. But venturing into such relatively untested markets needn’t be too daunting for Chamber members. We organize regular events like the ones mentioned above, and have another roundtable coming up, this time on investing in Cambodia.

We can also help put you in touch with the right people to better understand these markets. HKGCC’s membership includes many people with experience of doing business in emerging markets in Asia and beyond. Signing up for next month’s Cocktail Reception with the Consul Generals of Asia, Africa and the Middle East might be a good idea for anyone looking to learn more.

Hong Kong’s location as a hub to do business across Asia is unrivalled. There are so many vibrant, promising economies within just a few hours flight of the city. And with the U.S. recently stoking up the trade tensions again, it is a reminder that it would not be a bad idea to consider expanding our horizons and take advantage of some of these exciting emerging opportunities.

Posted on 2019/05/30