Jan 13

What do the East want from the West?

When we Westerners drop in to Asian countries nowadays, most are staggered by the modernity that confronts us – the numerous sky-scrapers, concrete flyovers, n-lane motorways – and millions of cars and motor-bikes with few of them old bangers

Hong Kong, Jakarta, Bangkok, Tokyo, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur are but a few capitals where this applies

And there’s skyscraper building cranes everywhere so much more to come

Asian middle classes already number billions – and it’s those billions that now drive a large part of global demand

The question for Western G7 nations is ‘demand for what?’

  • Clearly it’s not demand for basic commodities – e.g. bog standard cars, motorbikes or bicycles – where most demand is met by local suppliers

  • But it is demand for quality, upmarket stuff that lets them differentiate themselves or at least ‘keep up with the Joness’ – and most seem to want stuff which is distinctly Western

Sadly, none of these developing or developed Asian countries seem to want to build on and develop their own cultural histories and ways of living – the very things we visitors would like to see and cause us to visit more

Instead, for example:

  • Their cities comprise buildings which look the same as in the West and leave one thinking one could be anywhere in the world, not somewhere different and so interesting

  • Their streets are littered with Western outlets for the likes of Starbucks, KFC, Boots or Tescos

  • Their upmarket clothes, trainers et cetera are all western brands, sporting latest logos

  • Even their choice of music is usually western – and they know the words to many of our pop songs

The good news is the existence already of this huge demand for our quality goods and services

The better news is it’s increasing, unlike demand from our current biggest export market, the EU

So our home suppliers of said goods and services need to be pushing their wares out there, especially post Brexit

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