Unilever boss keeps faith in the tiger economies
Friday 16 January 1998
In a speech this morning to business leaders in the Philippines, Mr FitzGerald said commentators in the West were skating over the fundamental strengths of the Asian market, with its youthful, growing, enterprising and educated population.
Unilever generates 14 per cent of its sales and profits in the region and has operations in all but four South-East Asian economies. It recently opened an icecream plant in Vietnam, a margarine factory in Jakarta and a regional headquarters in Singapore.
Speaking at the European Chamber of Commerce in Manila, Mr FitzGerald said pundits were now rushing to tell everyone the success of the tiger economies had proved a "sand castle in the air" but Unilever's own strong growth justified its long-term faith in the region.
Mr FitzGerald painted a picture at odds with the image of cronyism, corruption, inefficiency and speculative borrowing that has come to characterise the region since the crisis began to unfold last year.
"Asia as a market is driven by increasingly demanding and sophisticated consumers. We are not talking about short-term froth. We are talking about changing patterns of consumption reflecting a growing and youthful population, higher standards of education, and a population shift from agriculture to manufacturing and service industries.
"All this is underpinned by a solid foundation of human capital: clever, enterprising citizens; dedicated and adaptable workforces and a keen sense of teamwork, discipline, and interdependence which, along with a good savings ratio, keeps the welfare burden down to manageable proportions and keep national tax rates down to levels which stimulate enterprise and initiative." If the company lost its nerve every time a country suffered a setback, there would not be an entity today called Unilever with $50bn of sales, he said.
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...