Success in the Asian Century requires planning now
Posted : Tuesday, September 11, 2012
If Australia is to extract maximum value from Asia's new found
economic position, planning needs to happen now, Insurance
Australia Group (IAG), Managing Director and CEO, Mike Wilkins told
a CEDA audience in Brisbane.
"Australia needs a comprehensive approach to making the most of
this opportunity and governments, business and the broader
community need to work in unison to strengthen our Asian ties," he
"While the Asian economic power shift is long term, our window
is only fleeting.
"The immaturity of Asia's markets and Australia's current
economic strength are both ultimately transient, so the foundations
of longer term co-operation need to be laid now - before it is too
"I consider Asia a once in a lifetime opportunity, and my
greatest fear would be to have to confront the management and
shareholders of IAG in future years and have them question why
today's management squandered it."
Mr Wilkins said by the year 2020:
- Middle class consumption in Asia (excluding Japan) will
increase 185 per cent to US$12 trillion;
- Asia will have more middle class consumers than the rest of the
world combined; and
- Asset ownership in Asia will increase 203 per cent to almost
"The Asian Development Bank goes on to estimate by 2030 Asia's
annual consumption will reach $32 trillion - almost half of all
global consumption," he said.
"I would challenge anyone with a view that Asia doesn't
represent opportunity for their business or industry.
"Only a few businesses and industries couldn't find a way to be
excited by the economic revolution…right here on the door step of
The opportunity is particularly exciting for Queensland which is
"positioned comfortably close to Asia in the north with a skilled
workforce, good infrastructure and a can do attitude," he said.
Mr Wilkins said while the natural resources and mining industry
has somewhat dominated conversations around the Asian century, "the
fact is the Asian boom is not just for resource companies or large
multinationals, SMEs (Small and medium enterprises) have a massive
opportunity with the right support and strategy".
Since 1998 when IAG first went into Asia, we had a slow and
steady strategy of boosting our Asian footprint, he said.
Today IAG operate in India, Thailand, China, Malaysia and
Vietnam, with the Indonesian market on the horizon.
Based on his market experience Mr Wilkins outlined four crucial
tips for any business looking for success in Asia:
- Boldness and belief;
- A sound model;
- Patience and long term planning; and
- An appreciation and respect of cultural differences.
Mr Wilkins also said the release of Asialink's report calling
for the development of a National Centre for Asia Capabilities
would help create an Australian workforce that is fully capable of
capitalising on the Asian opportunity.
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