Joe Ballantyne writes:

We’re experiencing a fundamental shift in the global economy, as wealth moves from West to East. As Asia and the Middle East assert themselves as the brightest prospects on the global landscape, in some ways we’re witnessing a return to the 16th–19th centuries, when the Chinese and Indian economies dominated world trade.

The scale of the shift is huge. In 1950, America was responsible for 27 per cent of the world’s GDP. China accounted for just 4.5 per cent and India, 4.2 per cent. Fast-forward to 2050 and the picture will look very different: forecasters say China will then be about to become the biggest economy in the world.

This economic shift, and the large implications for European businesses, was the subject of a recent report, Looking East, produced by The Futures Company for HSBC. The report included extensive analysis of the main drivers of change affecting the global economy to 2020, as well as a number of in-depth interviews with experts and businesspeople in a number of European countries.

It can seem as though this story is now a familiar one. But the research uncovered some striking findings, some of which go against the grain of popular conceptions about the rise of Asia. I was most struck, as we wrote the report, by these three:

The report – Looking East – was widely covered by (among others) the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and Business Week and can be downloaded online (opens pdf), free of charge.The picture at the top of this post is from the China Digital Times, and is used with thanks.

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