The Asian Century has been predicted for decades and is here now. Cities, territories and entire nations across Asia are rapidly modernizing. Billions are being invested in infrastructure, renewable energy, AI, healthcare, jobs and education. And it's not just replacing the old but upgrading to world standards. Many of these investments have become drivers of inclusive growth as well as regional and global integration.
In late 2020, fifteen Asian-Pacific nations formed the world's largest trading bloc, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), covering nearly one third of the global economy. RCEP is on track to become the world's largest export supplier and second-largest import destination. That spells opportunity, with Europe in a particularly strong position as many Asian countries can relate to its systems of governance and commitment to multilateralism. For anyone doing business in and with Asia, and for Asian entities with vested interests overseas, now is the time to revisit long held beliefs and assumptions.
Communicators have a special role to play. First off, audiences are better connected than ever. How we interact with one another, the tools and channels we use, the content we share - all that has already changed dramatically. Take WeChat, TikTok, Waygo and Zoom. Invented by Asians, these apps have transformed our lives in the shortest span of time. Secondly, purpose and shared values take center stage in any environment where rapid, disruptive change has become the new normal, especially in the Covid and coming post-Covid era.
Together, this elevates the role of all communications functions and triggers a rise in demand for new content, audience segmentation, local, regional and global engagement strategies, transparency, public diplomacy and dispute-resolving mechanisms. Those who see this now and act accordingly are going to define this new era.