Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Time for south-east Asia?

I have been speculating for a while that south-east Asia, off the business development radar screen for most of the past decade since the 97/98 financial crisis, is overdue some attention from the business media. China is looking an increasingly difficult media market and the industry that B2B media serves is beginning to look elsewhere. Costs are rising in China and companies are worried about putting more than 70% of their capacity in one country.

Today we see two stories which seem to back this up: firstly, the People's Daily quotes a Chinese economist saying that Chinese companies in southern China should "look at investing in other Asian countries where he says start-up costs and wages are much lower than on the mainland".

Then we see Donald Rumsfeld in the region drying to show his warm side to ASEAN (almost as scary as his normal, cold side). The BBC quotes him as congratulating "his Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Van Tra, on the country's "amazing economic achievements" of the last 11 years". We commented just the other day on Hugo Martin's post about the likely rise of Vietnam as a business media centre. It's not often we find ourselves agreeing with Rummie.

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