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Seminar highlights Asia market opportunities, challenges

Azlan Othman

Asia is a vibrant region and is always seen as the key growth engine of the world. The region is transforming itself from a follower to a leader. But it is also being hit by demographic with the young population increasing. The population is more mature and more urbanised with a bigger average income. COVID-19 certainly accelerates the change.

This was said by UOBAM Group CEO Thio Boon Kiat at the virtual ‘2022 Market Outlook: Opportunities and Challenges’ yesterday.

He also said, “Some of the most advanced digitilised nations are now in Asia because of the market scale with the technology and infrastructure. The growth prospect is quite phenomenon and Asia has the potential to lead the world in digitilisation.”

On new investment opportunities in Asia, he said, “The most important opportunity is the emerging segment driven by technology and sustainability and interplay between both.

Fintech, e-payment and e-commerce have become more common. The emerging green tech and health tech have also been common and companies on these scenes are prevalent”.

Thio added, “Asian governments have also encouraged the private sector for common prosperity goals and more transparency. A growing number of investors are now millennials who are more confident, more independent and more digitally savvy and have more earning potentials than their parents. Their expectation for business is higher.”

UOBAM Group CEO Thio Boon Kiat during the virtual seminar. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

“Time in the market,” he said, “is more important than timing the market which means take a long term view, invest early and sensibly to benefit in a long run.”

Meanwhile, UOBAM Head of Multi-Asset Strategy Anthony Joseph Raza discussed the market outlook for 2022’.

“Caught in a mix of hope and uncertainty about the Omicron variant, 2022 is expected to mark a more mature phase of global economy accompanied by increased market volatility and lower earnings growth”, he said.

UOBAM CIO Chong Jiun Yeh and UOB Head of Research, Global Economics and Markets Research Suan Teck Kin discussed changing demographics of New Asia.

“Global player, like China and Japan are confronting their ageing societies, while some ASEAN and South Asian nations encounter a strong growth in the middle class and younger populations,” they added.

Head of UOBAM Sustainability Office Victor Wong touched on ‘Go Green – Next Frontier of Sustainability in Asia’. With renewed and strengthened pledges from Asian nations at the COP26 Summit, the climate vulnerable region offers plenty of investment opportunities while seeking to combat climate change.

UOBAM Senior Director of Asia Pacific Equities Paul Ho and Author of Driving Digital Transformation, Managing Partner at All Digitalfuture LLP and Bain External Adviser Singapore Dennis Khoo, meanwhile, brought attention to the topic of digital economy. They discussed where the next big investment opportunity is and what are risks, innovation and disruption to businesses, which sectors will be most affected or benefit from the trends and how we spot the next Amazon or Alibaba.

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