Opkomende middenklasse

Vandaag ontving ik een interessant bericht in de nieuwsbrief Knowledge@Wharton van de
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Daarin wordt een beeld geschetst dat naar mijn idee ook vanuit internationaal arbeidsmarkt perspectief de moeite waard is om kennis van te nemen.

Hierbij een gedeelte uit de inleiding:

A new global middle class is rising up from poverty in emerging economies around the world, providing competition for labor and resources, but also enormous promise for multinationals that tailor products and services to the burgeoning ranks of first-time consumers, according to Wharton faculty and analysts.

The World Bank estimates that the global middle class is likely to grow from 430 million in 2000 to 1.15 billion in 2030. The bank defines the middle class as earners making between $10 and $20 a day — adjusted for local prices — which is roughly the range of average incomes between Brazil ($10) and Italy ($20).

A look at the geographic distribution is striking. In 2000, developing countries were home to 56% of the global middle class, but by 2030 that figure is expected to reach 93%. China and India alone will account for two-thirds of the expansion, with China contributing 52% of the increase and India 12%, World Bank research shows.

According to Wharton management professor Mauro Guillen, the world’s middle class has, until recently, been located in “the triad” of Europe, North America and Japan. In the 1970s and 1980s, countries such as South Korea, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina also built sizeable middle-class populations. “Nowadays, it’s China and India,” says Guillen. “The driver is economic growth. As the economy expands, the domestic market starts to become bigger, and it is typically a middle-class market.”

Wharton marketing professor Jagmohan Raju predicts the shift in distribution of the global middle class will continue as developing countries adapt to remain competitive in the world economy. “Due to economic pressures, more and more companies in developed nations are seeking educated workforces in emerging markets to outsource manufacturing and service jobs,” he says. “More economic pressures in the West mean more jobs in emerging markets and a bigger middle class that has higher buying power.”

As a result, multinationals that have so far viewed developing nations largely as a cheap source of labor, are now poised to benefit again as many of the workers they paid to build their products are increasingly able to afford Western consumer goods. “Countries like India consist of young consumers who are ambitious and save quite a bit, but are also willing to spend on small luxuries like Western brands of consumer packaged goods,” says Raju.

Bill Amelio, CEO of Lenovo, the Chinese firm that merged with IBM’s personal computer business, notes that China is now the world’s largest market for television sets and cell phones and the second-largest market for automobiles and personal computers. “This demonstrates that there is a big consumer economy that’s being driven in China, which is exactly what the Western world was looking to happen many years ago. And that’s just China. Add India, and we’re seeing consumerism pulling up a lot of the poverty in many areas.”

The McKinsey Global Institute, the consulting firm’s independent economic research arm, projects India’s middle class will grow from 50 million to 583 million people in the next two decades. At the same time, the country will advance from the world’s 12th largest consumer market to the fifth.

Coca-Cola’s newly appointed chief executive Muhtar Kent sees this market as critical to his company’s future and describes the scale of the opportunity as equivalent to adding a city the size of New York to the world every three months.

Wellicht nu nog de ver van ons bed show, maar een ontwikkeling die voor de recruitment branche in de verschillende landen mooie uitdagingen biedt.

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