China+++

While rummaging around in my virtual repository of information and ideas for something to focus on in this space, one thing occurred to me. I see, hear and consequently, write a lot less about China than I did a few years ago. I remember back in 2007 when I first took over as editor of this magazine it was all about China. Since then it has moved from the fabled golden land of air cargo to an important but less ‘shiny’ market as it was once was viewed. Other markets have now taken on increasing importance in what has become a sort of China+++ for the air cargo sector.


China


But for air cargo carriers this has also presented a problem because unlike Shanghai, Hong Kong or Beijing, these are pretty much maindeck only destinations because of the limited passenger demand and connectivity. They also tend to be driven by consumer technology roll-outs, with sudden boom times when the latest iPhone or other gadget is rushed to market.

Meanwhile, rising wages and other costs have now made manufacturing more expensive than Mexico according to some reports, which has resulted in some shift of manufacturing out of China. This manufacturing movement has also been fostered by the China+ strategy of many multinational companies diversifying their manufacturing activities to other countries for strategic and risk based reasons. Neighbouring countries like Vietnam and Cambodia have benefited from this, while further afield, the Philippines and Indonesia have enjoyed growing foreign investment in manufacturing as their economies come around, following on from leaders like Malaysia and Thailand. Singapore of course sits in a category of its own, as does Myanmar which has already begun attracting global investment attention.

Of course being situated in Southeast Asia, it is satisfying to see the rise of regional economies after so many decades of lethargy, turmoil and outright war in some cases. Increasingly I find myself writing about new developments in many of these countries, alongside the BRICs of course – although, apart from Brazil which looks a lot like the ‘Duracell Bunny’ with economic growth that just keep growing and growing. India on the other hand has so much potential but still is having trouble overcoming infrastructure problems and a bureaucratic system so large it seemingly cannot move.