New Initiatives, Trends Spark Economic Growth Across Asia-Pacific Region

During the Opening General Session of ASAE’s Great Ideas in Association Management Conference, Asia-Pacific, two speakers discussed how new initiatives and trends will lead to better economic development and cooperation in the region.

With 37 countries, the Asia-Pacific region not only comprises a large and diverse area but also one prime for economic development. That opportunity for growth is being pushed forward thanks to several initiatives and trends in the region, according to experts addressing attendees at ASAE’s Great Ideas in Association Management Conference, Asia-Pacific, in Hong Kong on Monday.

Among them is the Belt and Road Initiative, a development strategy launched by the Chinese government to promote economic cooperation among 60-plus countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa along five proposed routes to further market integration and create a regional economic cooperation framework.

Connectivity is key. Not only will it foster economic development but also growth and innovation by better linking up economies.

“It will be the new driving force of development of the 21st century,” said Gregory So, secretary for commerce and economic development for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, speaking at the conference’s Opening General Session. “Connectivity is key. Not only will it foster economic development but also growth and innovation by better linking up economies.”

Connectivity is one of three mega trends that Pansy Yau, deputy director of research for the Hong Kong Trade Development and Council, said would shape the Asia-Pacific economy moving forward.

“Regional trade and economic agreements like the Belt and Road Initiative help to increase efficiencies and allow countries to build better infrastructure that will benefit all,” she said.

Yau also cited the significant growth of unique mobile subscribers in the region as another example of increased connectivity. “It will greatly affect how we do business,” she said. “It will bring about revolutionary change in terms of communication and relationship building.”

Yau said productivity is another mega trend to keep an eye on. Even though China has ended its one-child policy, there is still a “population premium,” which will require industries and leaders to look at how they can get their experienced workers to work longer and how they can educate them on the latest technology to increase their productivity.

“But at the same time they do this, they must also attract the next generation into the workforce,” she said.

The final trend Yau said is shaping the future of the Asia-Pacific economy is sustainability. “Consumers are becoming more aware of environmental impact,” she said. As a result, smart cities will grow, green infrastructure will become necessary, and more energy-efficient machines will be in demand.

These trends and initiatives could have implications for the growth and development of associations in the region, Yau said.

“Whether it’s an organization dedicated to regulating infrastructure like roadways in Asia-Pacific, or a partner to strengthen competitiveness, the advancements and trends shaping the region’s economy will lead to organizations being formed in support of those missions,” she said.

Hong Kong Commerce Secretary Gregory So speaks at ASAE’s Great Ideas in Association Management Conference, Asia-Pacific conference. (photo by Samantha Whitehorne)

Samantha Whitehorne

By Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editor-in-chief of Associations Now. MORE

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