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The fourth Asia Pacific Ireland Business Forum in Hong Kong was an event which focussed on themes and trends. An audience of 150 delegates proceeded through a programme compromising formal presentations, panel discussions and focussed industry sector workshops. The event was proudlly sponsored by Business & Finance and Enterprise Ireland, Invest HK, Morgan McKinley and KPMG, to each of whome a sincere thank you.While it is not possible to fully reflect the breadth and depth of the content of the event, this report is intended to capture and recall some key messages from the day's proceedings.
The mood of the APIBF this year was overwhelmingly of optimism, but not blind optimism or foolish hope with no grounding in reality. This came particularly into focus in presentations by those who gave hard economic data on Asia to the delegates attending
Mr. Nick Sutcliffe, from the Conference Board, noted that on average, global growth through to 2016 will be at 4% per annum, and two--thirds of this growth will occur in emerging and developing countries. If economic growth represents potential that has vested and is realised, then the roadmap to economic potential in the global economy points to emerging and developing economies. Warming to this theme, but focussing on the shorter term, Mr. Sutcliffe anticipated high speed growth in China, India and emerging Asia in the coming year, with Chinese growth levelling out in the medium term to 7%. In India, Mr Sutcliffe noted that the major trend in the coming period would be the development of critical mass in the manufacturing sector. The opportunity for Ireland was to provide the support required to improve the productivity gains in emerging Asian economies. This was another example of the way in which Ireland can use its intellectual capital in economies and countries leaping to an advanced stage of economic development.
Further cause for optimism, if actioned sensibly, is the prospect that Ireland can be a harbour for Asian outbound investment to Europe. This recent and growing trend was explored by Mr. Fergal Power, from KPMG, and Mr. Brian Conroy, from the IDA. Mr. Power noted that the trend in outbound investment tended to move through three phases, from the acquisition of stakes in the financial sector, to the acquisition of resources and commodities, to the acquisition of technology, brands and people. The trends in outbound investment from Asia to Europe showed that Asia was in phase two and moving to phase three. Mr. Power noted that Irish businesses in the asset leasing, financial services and technology sectors could soon find themselves the objects of interest from Asian investors. Mr. Conroy noted the IDA target of attracting 20% of all inward investment from new markets and that Asia represented the markets with most potential for that to occur
The 4th annual Asia-Pacific Ireland Business Forum hosted by the Irish Chamber of Commerce of Hong Kong.