As I’ve written previously headline-grabbing graduate numbers might make an employer think he holds all the HR aces. That’s not quite the case, as this Economist piece points out. Given that the attraction of working for one of the world’s biggest consumer brand groups must surely have held pretty wide appeal this is a worrisome statistic. Not just for foreign direct investment, but also for China’s expectations of continued +8% growth, which cannot forever be driven from ever more shoe factories in Wenzhou (温州).
As imprecise a geographic concept as Asia-Pacific is, however its boundaries are defined it is home to something like 40-60% of the world’s population in an area comprising 20-30% of the global landmass. Within these boundaries just two nations combined account for some 38% of the global population. However it is dissected the notion of AsiaPac often remains rather nebulous, a bit unhelpful for service sector businesses arriving in the region. Whereas no-one seriously contemplates a unified Europe – despite it being by value the world’s leading trading bloc – as a culturally integrated unit, thirty years after China opened up and the Asian tigers first roared there is still a tendency (often from afar) to be casual with the term AsiaPac as a meaningful geographical and socio-political construct. This is careless and results in an internationalization strategy getting off on the wrong foot or with no real focus. The fact is there is little that tangibly connects a region that cuts across all strata of economic development and includes countries with some of the most progressive and cost-effective healthcare systems and standards. It’s partly this lack of uniformity that makes working in the environment so stimulating but developing a strategy here takes significant consideration. Break it down and Australia is too Western to be ‘Asian’, India is too indecisive about policy and foreign direct investment and seemingly focused on blowing its demographic advantage, Japan is just too different, the post-industrial economies of Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea are all well on their well-established tracks and the rest of Southeast Asia is pretty small beer economically. Cutting through what AsiaPac means in meaningful terms to pharma, there will continue to be one driving force for growth in the foreseeable future and that driver is China. Answering the question posed, in 2012 AsiaPac is China.