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opportunities in Asia (South East and South Asia) are huge and so are the challenges
For the last decade the countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and South Korea that collectively forms the part of South East Asia have registered consistent growth year after year making an impressive position in the economic development on the international level (Pempel, 1999). These countries have shown the growth in terms of Gross Domestic Product at an average rate of 6% to 9% annually. The dawn of 1997 has darkened the glory of these courtiers with a major slump in the economic conditions and financial development. Asian financial crisis that erupted in 1997 has miserably affected the local stock market and currency market of the Asian countries. The Stock market of these countries had declined by 70% and with the same figure the currency of has also depreciated against dollar, forcing them to knock the door of IMF for financial assistance (Corsetti, Pesenti, & Roubini, 1999).
The purpose of this literature is to analyze the transformational changes that have brought about in the Asian nations after the Asian crisis and its impact on the major economic sector. The policy implication and regulatory framework will be analyzed with the view of great economist, academician and economic and business journals thus forming the secondary source of data. Emphasis is given on the Western companies seeking investment opportunities in the Southeast and South Asian market along with the challenges faced by them.
Institutionalization and Transformation process after Asian Crisis
Many economists argued that the developmental model applied in the Asian regions which was the source of growth for these nations was then considered as a reason behind the crisis. It has also been observed through various economic reviews that East Asian economies were more prone to external shocks because democratization had restricted government's contribution towards promoting financial reform and incorporating new industrial policies (Allen, & Gale, 2000). The Asian crisis has opened new avenues of looking at the growth prospects of the economies and diverted attention from developmental models towards state's role in reform in growth and development. With Asian crisis, the transformation of Asian countries presents a learning live example of how these developmental states have been exposed to internal and external influences to incorporate change and what role democracy has played in providing public good.
Asian Economic Model or Asian Capitalism was much praised by many of the economist due to its successful implementation in the decade of 1980-1990. The Asian Pacific region especially Japan and South Korea were prominent player in the effective implementation of the capitalism than any of the Western states. The focus of Asian economic model or Asian Capitalism was on integrating the market economy with the policy formulation by centralized government. The coordination of market players and government in the formulation of business policies was much credited to the Asian Pacific region where it was applied at its optimum level. The Asia's economic prosperity was credited by many of the economist to the Asian Economic Model. However this concept was much criticized in the west and according to them the growth of Asian Pacific region especially Japan was not because of this government and business community collaboration but rather it was the outcome of high level of education prevailing in the region along with improved and ever increasing saving rates and strong labor market contribution towards the growth.
With the advent of Asian financial crisis and its effects on the international level, the view about Asian economic model was changed and many of the economists, policy makers and academician were of the view that Asian dependence on the government directed investment and feebly regulated financial system was a risky mix for the development of the region. As such structural weaknesses result in excess debt, over investment situation and financial crisis in the economy. It had seemed difficult for the Asian economies to adopt structural transformation. Many of the authoritarians still support the view of Asian economic model and support their core values of "Confucian values." They are reluctant to move away from the business-government cooperation model and adopt western economic model. It was difficult for their minds to adopt such a structural reform even after the blast of debt bomb and crash of stock market and exchange rate markets during crisis. Asia's structural changes were found to be government and business collaboration released, dissolution of critical banks and companies, tightening of the financial disclosure regulation and free economic system was setup with the deregulation of the economy so that it's open to foreign investment and international competition (Radelet, Sachs, Cooper, & Bosworth, 1998).
In response to the global changes, economic scenarios, technological advancement the Southeast Asian countries have collaborated for the common goal, mission, and aspiration and towards the final destination of economic prosperity.
The objective and purpose of establishment of the ASEAN Free Trade Area is well described by its leaders in the following words:
"We reaffirm our commitment to the greater integration of our economies as a primary expression of our co-operation and solidarity. ASEAN will keep its markets open as it recognizes that the key to strengthening and stabilizing the region's currencies and economies is to attract long-term investments. ASEAN reaffirms its commitment to trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, at the multilateral and regional levels, and will continue to undertake concrete measures towards these objectives. We resolve to implement, as scheduled, the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and all approved program and projects. In addition, we seek to further accelerate AFTA and expedite the implementation of the ASEAN Industrial Co-operation Scheme (AICO). We shall open up our investment regimes through the launching of the ASEAN Investment Area (AIA), which will enhance the attractiveness of the region as an investment destination through the application of consistent investment laws and policies."
Impact of Global Financial Crisis
The crumble of the sub-prime mortgage in the U.S. economy and the downturn of the housing boom had a ripple effect globally. These have initiated other subtle weaknesses in the financial system to augment and show its negative effects. The weakening of financial system had lost public trust on the financial markets (Brunnermeier, 2009). Due to the investment turmoil the whole of the financial system has undergone complexity and disorder due to which the economic structure got shoddier. In the Conference on Trade and Development at United Nations it was scrutinized that that the global financial recession had made it difficult for the third world countries to regain its ground of growth and development.
"The global economy is teetering on the brink of recession. The downturn after four years of relatively fast growth is due to a number of factors: the global fallout from the financial crisis in the United States, the bursting of the housing bubbles in the U.S. And in other large economies, soaring commodity prices, increasingly restrictive monetary policies in a number of countries, and stock market volatility."
In response to the global financial crisis countries have been adopting productive measures to restore the economic well being of their state. International measure taken to address the issue was the meeting set on 24th Sept 2009 in which all the leaders of G-20 nations had gathered to address the issue of financial crisis. China has been a fundamental player in escalating social, political and economic security to address the issue of financial collapse. The recent reform measures have stressed smooth functioning of financial markets by fighting recession and ensuring well being of its nation, safe guarding the rights of tax payers and creating lucrative environment for business community. Legislative and policy measures have been adopted to prevent future crises in the nation (Shah, 2010).
Business Opportunities and Challenges in South and Southeast Asian Market
The major opportunities for the Western companies to make investment in the Asian market are:
1. Southeast Asia and South Asia comprising of countries like Philippines, Honk Kong, China, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Afghanistan etc. are the largest population countries in the whole Asia with prominent economies in the continent. The consumer market is expanding day by day with growing number of population at the age around 25-35. These countries are rich in agriculture, mining, mineral resources, gems, technology and strong financial structure (Joshi, Gulati, Birthal, and Tewari, 2004).
2. Western countries are finding the South and Southeast Asian Market attractive to do business because they provide foreign investors with the business friendly environment. The social, political and economic situation of these nations permits the Western countries to make hub for their businesses in the Asian markets thus promoting their own business and improving the quality of living for the Asian developing nations. Western companies are investing in the pharmaceutical industry of Asian economy, Food and franchising in the fast moving consumer goods have become very popular with the Asian markets and venturing into the technological market of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and India has enabled Western countries to…[continue]
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