The New Asian Middle Class (NAMC)

I attended the Asia House Signature Conference on The New Asian Middle Class. Speakers included Dominic Barton, MD, McKinsey & Company; Paul Walsh, CEO, Diegeo and Mark Dunhill, International Director, TM Lewin. The emphasis on the explosive growth in consumer markets in China was unmistakable; not surprising given China’s share of Emerging Markets consumption of 25% followed by India at 10% in the year 2025. China has also emerged as the second largest e-tailing market after the US. Indonesia is now becoming a hot contender for foreign investment with a rising middle class and growing per capita income. The prize – the New Asian Middle Class – is highly coveted and several MNCs are using the opportunities to expand and grow. Chinese cities are witnessing a surge of new stores for foreign apparel, sports and retail brands; Uniqlo has over 100 stores with Zara trailing behind below 100. TM Lewin are making a success out of bringing English heritage, elegance and value to Chinese consumers already lapping up the Bond charisma. It is clear that Asian cities will lead growth in all consumer sectors. Generation Next in China are rich, have a propensity to spend and are inclined to buy foreign brands of high quality. They will experiment, but are not promiscuous. Companies in these markets are innovative, take risk, invest capital for growth, take a more long-term view and have dominant family shareholding.

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