Go West Young Man!
According to a recent article by Harold Meyerson in the Washington Post, "Doing business in China is beginning to cost real money. Not that Chinese workers are buying second homes or anything like that: Their average wage is still a little short of a dollar an hour.
But so many Chinese have now left their villages for the factories that the once bottomless pool of new young workers is beginning to run dry, and the wages of assembly-line employees are rising 10 percent a year." So, where are manufacturers going to find the lowest cost wages today? Meyerson says that many are fleeing south of the border--not our border (Mexico costs way too much.) but China's. They're bound for Vietnam.
So this begs the question, where do we go now? Clearly, NPES needs a presence in the BRIC markets, but to what extent and where are the new BRIC countries to come from?
The mantra going forward is "Go East Young Man!", meaning Eastern Europe (beyond Russia), the Middle East (especially the gulf states) and Southeast Asia. Unfortunately it doesn't form a clever acronym, to coin a term we could call it EEMESEA (pronounced EMC).
Let's take a look at some of the countries that might be a target for NPES members' attention going forward.
The largest of the Asian markets yet untapped by NPES is South Korea. Although technically it isn't in South East Asia, it's a sizable market with much potential for NPES members. At #19 and over $6.8 billion in print sales, it's the largest emerging market in the Asian region. The compound annual growth rate of this market from 2001 to 2006 was 11.4% making it both large and fast growing.
As has been covered in previous NPES News articles, Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world and the 22nd largest print market in the world. At slightly under $6 billion in print shipments in 2006, it's both a fast growing and sizable market.