This article by FIDI President James Gooding was addressed to all delegates at the 2023 FIDI Conference
On behalf of FIDI Asia and all of our 79 FIDI Affiliates (including branches) located in the region, we are really looking forward to welcoming you to the 2023 Conference in Bangkok, and sharing some very warm Asian hospitality with our wider FIDI family.
As many of you already know, Asia is a fantastic place in which to live, work and do business. The region boasts some of the world’s strongest and fastest-growing economies, consisting of countries with large populations, growing middle classes and purchasing power.
Asia’s domestic markets are large, and the strong work and study ethic in many Asian countries make them exciting places to work – as well as important destinations for many international corporations. Some of these are cited as among the most up-and-coming new relocation destinations as the region has reopened.
The pandemic, of course, has had a huge impact on Asia during the past three years, with some parts implementing extensive restrictions for significant periods of time. COVID closed many national borders, stifled trade, caused an outflow of expats returning to their home countries around the world, and severely limited travel in and out of many countries.
There are other challenges, too. These include demographic dilemmas related to ageing populations in markets such as China and Japan, as opposed to the rapidly increasing number of younger people in nations such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Youth unemployment has grown in some countries, including China, as a result of the slowing economy and impact of the pandemic.
While Asia’s response to COVID has evolved and free-flowing trade has returned to the area, the recent outbreak in China – involving an estimated 800 to 900 million infections – means this virus may continue to challenge governments, businesses and individuals for some time to come.
Asia is experiencing this against a general background of heightened geopolitical challenges and tensions that are impacting on commerce across the world, increasing political intervention and red tape for global fi rms, such as movers, that trade across international boundaries.
Uncertainty about the world economy is ongoing, with inflation and interest rates up. In the background, too, there are widespread concerns about labour shortages in some markets, and higher prices of materials, not to mention existential pressures on our sector, brought about by the pandemic, an increase in remote working, and the demand for clients to increase their sustainability, among other forces.
It’s no wonder that the moving and relocation business is more challenging than ever.
As they have demonstrated time and again, however, Asia’s entrepreneurial and resourceful people and companies always rise to a challenge. As the last remaining COVID curbs have been removed and borders reopened, the expectation is for a continued strong rebound in trade across this lively and fascinating part of the world. The business is currently strong, volumes have increased, and the mood is positive.
I believe this recovery will see the moving and relocation business come back even stronger than it was before 2020.
During your stay in Thailand, as across the rest of the diverse Asian region, you will meet warm, friendly people and be able to enjoy delicious food and drink. You will experience a rich, vibrant culture steeped in history and surprises, including a plethora of incredible experiences, sights, smells, tastes and sounds. You will find dynamic businesses, capable of making quick decisions, able and willing to work as part of strong, mutually beneficial partnerships.
As FIDI’s regional association, FIDI Asia is here to support our Affiliates, and their suppliers and partners, in their business across the region. We will aim to make trading easier, advising on the latest developments here, representing Asia on the international stage, and providing a link to the umbrella FIDI organisation.
The FIDI Conference is a great opportunity to hear about the latest developments in international mobility and discuss them with colleagues from around the world in a variety of formal and informal settings – at the perfect time of year to enjoy Thailand and all it has to offer.
I, along with all my colleagues in FIDI Asia, wish you a really fulfilling, enjoyable and successful time at FIDI’s flagship annual event.