Viewpoint: My problem with ‘emerging markets’

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

By Amit Anand

The terms “emerging markets,” “developing nations” and the antiquated “Third World” have always rubbed me the wrong way and not just because I grew up in Mumbai, live in Singapore and do business across Southeast Asia. These terms bother me because they prevent people from seeing how dramatically the world has changed, especially over the last decade. For investors, this means not just missing the train but not even realizing that there is one.

The traditional view of Southeast Asia, for example, is that it’s a fragmented region of countries with more differences than similarities. The practice of labeling some countries as emerging and others as developed prevents investors and policymakers from seeing the opportunities. If investors look at what these countries have in common, rather than what they don’t, the opportunities become obvious.

Consider the skyrocketing use of the internet and social media in the region thanks to the increasing ubiquity of smartphone and mobile technologies. Now the region has the third-largest number of internet users in the world with 350 million, more than the population of the U.S., according to a study published Nov. 18 by Google and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.

Photo courtesy of JanetandPhil.

Source: Pensions&Investments (link opens in a new window)

global development