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Heathrow chief executive offers guide to emerging Asian markets

Heathrow chief executive offers guide to emerging Asian markets

New Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye has used his first speech as chief executive to launch a series of guides offering advice on how trade with Asian cities showing high growth potential.

The series covers Busan, South Korea; Dalian, China; Xiamen, China; Hanoi, Vietnam; Medan, Indonesia; and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Many of Asia’s fastest growing cities possess key markers for investment such as a young population, growing disposable incomes and a burgeoning middle class, as well as government incentives to start a business such as tax exemptions.

Asia House and Heathrow have produced the guides to highlight a select few that offer untapped potential for British business.

Each provides information on the city, market opportunities, its infrastructure and connectivity as well its cultural life.

Large urban centres such as Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo and Mumbai have long been known as international economic strong points, but many others are just starting to show accelerated growth, in many cases above the national rate.

Ulaanbaatar, for example, has a growth rate of 33.8 per cent against a rate in Mongolia of 5.8 per cent, while Xiamen has a growth rate of 10.9 per cent against a national average of 7.7 per cent.

Businesses trade 20 times as much with markets where there is a direct flight connection than those where there is not, yet with the UK’s hub airport full and unable to add new routes, UK passengers have to travel via Frankfurt and Amsterdam respectively to reach those markets.

Alongside GDP, the guides look at market sectors where there may be specific opportunities. For example:

The expansion of the Ulaanbaatar’s financial services sector is a priority for the Mongolian Government.

Its rapidly growing population also means its construction infrastructure sectors are some of the fastest growing in the country.

The Busan-Jinhae Free Economic Zone encourages foreign investment into the city and offers numerous tax incentives, cash grants and financial assistance to foreign companies.

It’s heavily focused on sea trade with additional incentives for maritime logistics and shipbuilding industries. Other areas being developed include high-tech industries, tourism and leisure, and educational and medical facilities.

The government in Indonesia actively seeks FDI but places limitations on foreign share- holding. Medan has been noted as a prime investment location for the health care sector.

Speaking at the launch, Heathrow chief executive Holland-Kaye said: “As Asia’s consumer class expands, UK firms’ potential to trade with them must be realised and developed.

“These guides give an insight into some of the cities we may have heard of but never visited, but will one day be as significant to the British economy as Guangzhou or Chennai.

“We are a trading nation, and need to be directly connected to global growth. Yet a lack of runway capacity at Heathrow is cutting Britain off, leaving us on a branch line to Europe and allowing our European hub rivals to add the routes we cannot.

“The good news is that Britain can still forge ahead in the global race – it is the best located of the European hubs for accessing these emerging markets.

“This is a competition we should win.”

The guide can be downloaded here.