A Glance at Global Economics

The world economy is on edge. While the Chinese New Year brought hope and excitement to the global superpower, typically celebrated with various traditions, family gatherings, feasting, and exchanging red envelopes with money inside for good luck, there are worrisome signs in the Chinese economy. And as perfect timing would mandate, it just so happens that I recently spoke with heads of major industries across Asia. Most of mainland China is concerned. Many people across China are wondering what the future holds for them as far as their jobs and economic security. Several companies, for example, let people leave early for their New Year’s break—and it was not clear if they would bring them back.

The concerns stem from various factors including economic shifts, technological advancements, and global market dynamics.  Additionally, global economic conditions and trade tensions are also influencing job stability and growth.  People are nervous about the U.S.-Chinese relationship; consequently, many organizations—including Chinese companies—are moving or opening manufacturing to Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Mexico. Thus begins the age-old economic tale of ebbs and flows. While China may be losing some of its manufacturing, companies cannot find enough people with the right skill sets to work in the places they are moving to. Thus, there are global opportunities for countries to woo companies to their shores, but they will need to grow the skillsets of those who want to fill those jobs.

For example, India is a country with a technologically savvy workforce that also speaks English. The main problem, in terms of manufacturing, is a weak infrastructure makes certain aspects of business life there unreliable. Now that is about to change with Apple arriving in India; Apple is now the largest producer in India, and the largest manufacturer in India. They are even bigger than Tata![1]

Hopefully, the investment in India that will spur the country to fix some of those long-standing infrastructure issues. But this is an enormous opportunity. In essence, Apple has said they are going to invest in this opportunity, in this part of their supply chain, and India’s workforce is diverse and dynamic—a win-win. It’s one of the largest labor forces globally, and it has seen a recent steady shift towards services and industry.  With a youthful population and a growing emphasis on skill development and education, India’s workforce is poised to play a crucial role in its economic growth and development.

New boon industries include those supporting AI tools, whether it be servers, networking, etc. Electric vehicles is another thriving area. There are economic opportunities there. However, in some more traditional areas, those same opportunities are declining, and they are, instead, going to be cutting jobs. Again, that age-old tale of ebbs and flows.

And that’s “normal.” The message of the economy that I would like to spread is that not only is there always an opportunity, but there will always be ebbs and flows, depending on the segment that you’re in. The pandemic crushed every industry because everybody had an ebb all at the same time, and that’s not normal. What we are seeing now—pockets of faltering economies (like China, perhaps) with other areas starting to accelerate growth (like India) is normal.

My message about the 2024 economy is: be wise and be diligent, even in powerhouse China. One of the most positive comments that I heard in talking about Chinese manufacturing, is that there are a lot of skilled people in that country. There’s a lot of capacity there now because some industry is moving out. But that’s another opportunity—if you can find the right customers and utilize that skilled labor force, you might be able to capitalize on this moment. There are opportunities in the wake as things ebb. If you think of it in terms of a wave, suddenly the wave goes somewhere else and lifts all these other boats, but that wave left a lot of fish flopping around behind that you might be able to pick up and utilize.

[1] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/tata-group-indias-most-valuable-brand-apple-on-top-globally-global-study/articleshow/30632742.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst.