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China Seen Eclipsing U.S., But Many Like India’s Prospects

ATLANTA - A key segment of Asia’s business leaders believes their region’s economy will continue to enjoy strong growth in 2007, but many are more excited about the growth of India than they are for China, a new survey shows.

The survey of 1,200 leaders of small- and mid-sized business enterprises (SME) in Asia also found wide agreement that China will surpass the United States as the world’s largest consumer economy in 10 years or less.

Only 5% of those surveyed said that China’s consumer market would never grow as large as that of the United States. More than half (57%) said the two markets would reach parity within 10 years, with 20% of those respondents expecting the gap to close within five years.

“These findings are significant because these small business leaders on the ground in many Asian economies say that China’s consumer market is growing faster than some leading researchers project*,” said Alan Gershenhorn, president of UPS International. “American businesses must understand that their future customers are just as likely to hail from Beijing as from Boston”.

The business executives were interviewed for the UPS Asia Business Monitor, an annual survey designed to gauge the competitiveness of small- and mid-sized enterprises in Asia. About 1,200 SME decision-makers were interviewed across 12 different markets in the region.

The survey ranked China as the country with the greatest prospects for economic growth, followed by India and Hong Kong. But there was ambivalence about China’s growing economic power.

Asia SME leaders seemed equally divided between those viewing China’s continued dominance as a boost (34%) and those who perceive it as both a boost and a threat (34%). Many also feel they are unable to compete with Chinese companies in terms of low labour and production costs (38%), and there is a growing concern regarding increased price competition (25%).

In contrast, SME leaders across Asia expressed a desire to capitalise on India’s rapid growth by leveraging its continued rise as a manufacturing base (30%) and outsourcing there (25%). In line with this growth, SME leaders also express a desire to become an outsourcing destination for India (20%), and an exporter of raw materials to India for manufacturing (19%).

85% of respondents said that India is or has the potential to be a regional economic leader and 81% said that India’s economy is certain to grow in 2007. Small business leaders in India were the most optimistic in the region, with 89% of respondents expecting greater economic prospects for their businesses in the year ahead.

Small business leaders in India also were optimistic about their country’s trade growth, with 83% of leaders there saying that they project U.S.-India trade to grow strongly this year – up significantly from last year’s survey.

Although bullish on the region’s growth prospects, survey respondents also warned about threats to the region’s competitiveness such as a lack of innovation, the availability of a qualified workforce and access to funding and working capital.

The top three business concerns that keep small business leaders up at night in Asia are the quality of their services (50%), customer loyalty (48%) and the retention of quality employees (47%).

Other survey highlights include:

• Small business leaders said they expect intra-Asia trade growth to continue its upward climb, with 74% of respondents saying that regional trade will grow strongly in 2007.

• Job prospects are favorable with 89% of respondents across all countries expecting to maintain, if not increase, the size of their workforce.

• Close to three-quarters (72%) of business leaders in Japan said that the country’s aging population coupled with its low birth rate will have an adverse effect on business competitiveness.

• A majority (85%) of small business leaders in India say that globalisation has been a benefit to their businesses, whereas 55% of business leaders in Japan say it’s been a disadvantage.

• Almost, one-third of small business leaders (29%) outside of China said social inequality and environmental issues are worse in China now than one year ago.

IABM forms partnership in India

IABM forms partnership in India to launch new International Broadcast and Media Technology event. The IABM today announced an agreement with Infocast Systems Pvt. Ltd. and the Indian Media Group (IMG) to launch a new international conference and exhibition event. The first International Broadcast Expo (IBE) will be staged in Mumbai in October and annually thereafter.

The move comes as research undertaken in 2006 for IABM, which represents more than 250 suppliers of broadcast and media technology products and services on a worldwide basis, shows the market in India for professional broadcasting and media technology products and services is worth more than 200 million US dollars and growing at more than 10 per cent per annum. 

IABM Chief Executive Officer, Roger Crumpton, commented: “There are dramatic changes taking place in the broadcast market in India driven by the strength of the Indian economy and the young age profile of the population. India offers tremendous growth opportunities for both national and international suppliers and this event launch in Mumbai will provide an annual showcase of new media technology and techniques.”

Mr Subhash Chandra, Chairman of IMG, a not-for-profit organisation which represents major radio and television broadcasters and print media businesses in India, and owner of Zee Television, one of India’s leading broadcasters, added: “Indian broadcasting is expanding in every respect. The number of broadcasters, channels and viewers is growing rapidly and the quality and value are improving. The IMG is the first premier broadcast industry association in India and the IBE’s agenda matches our vision of the industry. IMG has decided to join with the IABM to create an international platform for the entire Indian broadcast community. It is the endeavour of the Indian Broadcast Expo to provide a truly representative broadcast convention and address the serious issues impacting our industry.”

“IBE 2007 is a result of an initiative by major distributors to create a professional and international broadcast expo” said Mr S P Agarwal, Managing Director of Cinecita Comoptronics Pvt. Ltd., and one of the major distributors in the Indian broadcast industry. “I am glad the IABM and IMG are co-organising this event with Studio Systems magazine. There is an urgent need for an international convention tackling broadcasting convergence to assist the growth of the entire region and Mumbai is definitely the optimum location choice.” Infocast Systems Pvt Ltd is a leading Indian technology media business based in Mumbai that publishes Studio Systems Magazine and organises the Disc-tech Expo and Cinema India Expo in Mumbai.

The International Broadcast Expo will run at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, Goregaon (E), Mumbai from 25th-27th October, 2007.

Announcing the event, Mr Anil Chopra, Editor and Publisher of Studio Systems and Convener of IBE, added: “The Indian broadcast industry needed a serious initiative to create a truly independent broadcast convention that serves the interests of all the major broadcasters. I express my sincere appreciation to the IMG and IABM who have jointly recognised the necessity for national and international support from both broadcasters and the supply community to create IBE to aid the development of our broadcast industry to international standards.”

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