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CHINA, INDIA & JAPAN: GLOBAL ECONOMIC DRIVERS

Escrito el 14 diciembre 2010 por Alumni en Others

Under the title of “China, Japan and India, driving forces behind the global economy”, IE Business School and Casa Asia organised a conference in the aula magna at IE on 29 November last.

At the moment, the transfer of economic and geopolitical power from West to East is taking place quickly mainly due to the strength of Asian economies. Furthermore, the context in which international challenges arise is changing and is set to change almost as much or even more than the challenges themselves over the coming years. From Europe, Asia is seen as a great opportunity thanks to its high growth rates, demographic factor, the need for infrastructures and the increase in the middle classes. From Asia, Europe is seen as a market with high consumer rates based on the technological capacity of its businesses, the relevance of their brands and the level of excellence in the design of certain products.  Taking this two-sided Asian-European view into account, IE Business School and Casa Asia organised a one-day event to analyse the interests of Asian businesses in Europe and vice versa. The aim was to show all the potential of Europe’s relations with the main countries in Asia (Japan, India and China) in general and, in particular, Spain’s relations with them from a business viewpoint.

 

The conference was held with two roundtables involving consultants, lawyers and entrepreneurs who analysed the experience of Asian companies in Europe and the experience of European companies that have been successful in Asia.

 

The first roundtable was chaired by Amadeo Jensana, director of the department of economic programmes and cooperation at Casa Asia, who made a general analysis of how more and more Asian companies are setting up in Spain. In reference to China, he commented that the country’s entry into the WTO in 2001 brought with it an increase in the internationalisation of its businesses; however, there have been few Chinese companies today that have entered the more developed markets of the European Union or North America, since their main destinations are Latin America and Africa. Nevertheless, China is gradually finding its place in Europe and there are cases today of associations between large Spanish enterprises, such as Telefónica and Repsol, with Chinese businesses. According to Invest in Spain, Chinese investment in Spain is characterised by the absence of a stable trend and by high-level but occasional transactions. Amadeo referred to India as a country that is also investing abroad and its investments have increased thanks to the growth of its economy, the strength of its leading enterprises and acquisitions and mergers by Indian companies with businesses from different countries in sectors such as the car industry, pharmaceutical products, information technology, energy and other industries. The case of Japan differs from China and India since its investment in Europe began some decades ago; however, its economic growth is not currently as fast-moving as that of the two Asian giants. Japanese companies in Europe usually belong to the car industry or to manufacturing and technology products, especially electronic articles.

 

 

This roundtable focused on the fact that when people speak about Asia, they almost always do so in reference to the business opportunities the continent offers and ignore how Asian countries are trading in Europe, as well as the growing number of Asian companies that are setting up in the European Union. The speakers on this table, who have a wealth of experience with Asian companies that have set up successfully in our country, were Rocio Belda, partner and member of the Asia desk at Garrigues; Alan da Silva, executive director of the India desk and partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers; Tomás Zumárraga, former managing director of Bridgestone España and chairman of the Shacho Kai association of non-Japanese managing directors at Japanese enterprises. The three spoke of the growing number of examples of Asian businesses that are setting up in Europe.

 

The second roundtable, chaired by the Dean of IE Business School, Santiago Iñiguez, involved the participation of Kareen Hatchwell, Member of the Board and Director of Institutional Relations of the Excem Group,  Jesús Sierra González, International Commercial Director of the Isolux Corsán Group, and Juan Luis González Andersson, former Business Development Director of the companies Inditex and Carrera y Carrera, all of whom gave a first-hand account of the business culture, organisation and internationalisation strategies of some of the leading Spanish enterprises in Asia.

The roundtable focused on the more common but no less important subject of the experiences of Spanish enterprises in the three Asian countries. In view of the latest international economic figures, Spanish SMEs and multinationals need to gain better positions in the countries that will be the driving force behind the economic recovery, such as China and India, and not worry so much about other markets whose economic growth forecasts are lower. Our businesses have a long way to go to consolidate their positions in Asian countries, since there is perhaps no other region in the world with such an important absence of Spanish investment as Asia. This absence can be seen not only by the absolute investment figures that correspond to our country, but also by the huge potential the region offers in the context of the global economy.

Whatever the case and although the presence of Spanish businesses in Asia is still low-level, the trend is changing slightly, and these three speakers analysed the type and characteristics of some of the companies that have now taken the step and are trading in the area. Kareen Hatchwell, from Excem Group, Jesús Sierra González, from the Isolux Corsán Group, and Juan Luis González Andersson, former Business Development Director of the companies Inditex and Carrera y Carrera, gave us a fantastic account of the main difficulties they have had to face while setting up in another country, as well as the most effective procedures they have been able to uncover, turning their experiences into examples for entrepreneurs considering the option as a future strategy for their company.

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