The center of the global economy is increasingly shifting to Asia. Emerging economies are maturing into trailblazers, while less developed nations are rapidly catching up. Since 2018, for the first time, more people worldwide belong economically to the middle class than live in poverty or are at risk of poverty. A key reason for this is the consistently high growth of countries in East and South Asia.
In mid-November 2020, 15 countries from the Asia-Pacific region (including, for example, Australia, China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and New Zealand) signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). In terms of population, RCEP is the largest free trade area in the world, with over 2.2 billion people living in the region. Together, these countries account for almost a third of the world's trade volume and are thus already almost on a par with the European Union (EU).
Many German companies and SMEs have benefited from the "Chinese economic miracle". For example, the Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the Silk Road Project, offers numerous investment opportunities and links a wide variety of economic areas. The Eurasian continent is to grow closer together as a result. The new Silk Road runs from China to the center of Europe and ends at Europe's largest inland port in Duisburg.
Independently of this, there are also new opportunities in the Asian economic region. Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines and Indonesia are probably the most promising countries in the Southeast Asian Pacific region in economic terms. These countries are characterized by large domestic markets, have a highly educated workforce and are favorably located in terms of logistics. Also noteworthy is the common desire of the EU and the Asian states to expand free trade. One example of this is the JEFTA free trade agreement, which has largely eliminated tariffs between Japan and the EU since 2020.
Thanks to its dynamism, the Asia-Pacific region creates suitable business opportunities for many German companies. We support you in turning the region's opportunities into successful business.
In our survey of German companies in China, the Business Confidence Survey 2020/2021, we found that China is already an important investment destination for German companies. China is the only major economy to have grown in 2020 - albeit only by around two percent. This means that many German companies in China will manage to increase their sales and also their profits in 2020, despite the sales slump in the first half of 2020 associated with Covid-19.
India is also a growth engine and is becoming increasingly important in geopolitical and economic terms, as our survey of German companies in India, the German Indian Business Outlook 2021, shows. For example, Germany is India's most important trading partner within the EU and sixth most important trading partner worldwide. With its population growth, increasing prosperity and “education offensive”, India is full of possibilities and opportunities.
Japan, the country known as the land of the rising sun is noted for its economic, cultural and innovative achievements. As our economic outlook German Business in Japan 2021 shows, the Japanese market remains very profitable and highly important for German companies, despite the difficult conditions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.