In January 2020 as the world began to learn of COVID-19, many market observers predicted a challenging year for Asia. While there continue to be headwinds from the health and economic crisis, Asia, and China in particular, has demonstrated comparatively advantageous resilience.
Asian markets are expected to be the fastest to recover from the pandemic.
Being “first in and first out” of COVID-19, China is the only country among the G20 that is thought by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to have increased GDP in 2020.
China’s economy rebounded sharply
China has the only economy thought to have grown GDP in 2020.
By contrast, Germany’s economy is expected to have contracted by 5.5% and the United Kingdom is anticipated to have declined by 11.2%. Of the G20, excluding China, South Korea and Indonesia are expected to be among the best performing economies, albeit their GDP is still expected to have declined by 1.1% and 2.4%, respectively.
The resilience of Asian economies has reinforced our bullish view and we remain enthusiastic about the long-term trends that will continue driving China and Southeast Asia’s growth.
There are approximately 4.3 billion people living across Asia, including 1.4 billion alone in China – more than the total combined populations of North America, South America, Europe and Japan. With its immense population, including the highest number of internet users in the world, China produces, collects and analyzes more data than any other country across the globe.
This amount of data is spurring an accelerating adoption of next-generation technologies in China and is one of the key reasons why it is the leading implementer of 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Mobility, FinTech and Industry 4.0 technologies by both speed and scale.
Further, while the ongoing decoupling between the US and China will be highly complex and challenging in the near-term, we expect it to unlock greater investment opportunities in both countries over the longer-term. The US is the world’s largest economy, serves as the global reserve currency, boasts the most efficient financial markets in the world and its long-term prospects remain very bright.
The US economy is expected to recover and reach pre-pandemic levels by mid-2021. There are few, if any, countries better equipped to capitalize on the rebound than the US, as Americans have accumulated $2 trillion in new savings since February, which is roughly 10% of GDP waiting to be spent.
China has delivered strong and impressive GDP growth over the last decade, surpassing Japan to become the second largest global economy. Yet, China’s per capita nominal GDP is still only one-sixth of the US and a quarter of Japan’s. Many healthcare and consumption per capita metrics are still a fraction of developed economies, leaving ample room for sustained long-term growth.
Rising incomes and more affluent consumers in China are expected to lead to a rise in demand for more premium goods and services. The number of middle-class households in China is forecast to grow at a 10% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) as 600 million lower income households join China’s existing hundreds of millions of middle class citizens.
This demographic shift is expected to lead to a rise in demand for more premium, healthy and convenient food and drink.
China’s healthcare market is growing fast and is expected to become the largest healthcare market in the world in a decade, driven by an ageing population, rising middle class, and increasing penetration of commercial healthcare insurance. China’s healthcare sector is expected to be worth $1.7 trillion in 2023, and grow…