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Enormous Potential In Asia


Asia offers a "smorgasbord of opportunities" for New Zealand businesses, Hawke's Bay business people heard at a Seriously Asia business seminar in Havelock North today (15 October).

"Stop thinking about our traditional markets of Europe-UK and the US - though don't walk away from them - but look to the enormous opportunities in Asia that not everyone realises are there," guest speaker, Auckland-based demographics specialist Dr Clint Laurent, said.

"Whether you're a premium Hawke's Bay wine maker or can offer expertise in basic power units for small villages, there's something for everyone."

Seriously Asia, managed by the Asia 2000 Foundation, is a joint government and private sector initiative aimed at strengthening New Zealand's relationships with Asia. Workshops and special events are being held around the country as a way of sharing ideas from business and the community. Contributions are also being invited via the Seriously Asia website www.seriouslyasia.org.nz, and priority goals will be identified at a one day Asia Forum at Parliament on November 26.

Dr Laurent, CEO and director of Asian Demographics Ltd, was speaking today about the diversity of Asia and the changing demographic trends - and how this is opening up significant new market opportunities for a wide range of products.

He divides Asia broadly into four groups:

- Japan, with an aging population but high household incomes, where there are particular opportunities for health care related products and services, and high quality food and beverage products.
- Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea, with a large proportion of "middle aged empty nesters" who have both time and money. For these economies, he says there are particular opportunities for exporters of home improvement DIY (do it yourself) related products, as well as for the New Zealand tourism and eduction industries.
- Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam, smaller less affluent countries, but where there are huge opportunities for businesses with specialist infrastructure products and services, such as in waste, traffic and water management, and education.
- China and India, very different economies but the two largest populations in Asia. China has a growing and educated middle class, while in India there is an affluent class. In both countries there are infrastructure related opportunities, as well as growth potential for current exporters such as our dairy and meat industries.

"In the past, Asia was often put in the Œtoo hard basket', but it's not hard now, and by being selective there are lots of opportunities for a very wide range of products," Dr Laurent said.

For further information about Seriously Asia go to: http://www.seriouslyasia.org.nz


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