New middle class, new customers: Forum for Foreign andInve

Getting to grips with the growing middle class in emerging countries is a key challenge for Swiss exporters.

However, the fastest-growing market is not necessarily the best. Interaction with regionally established and strongly value-adding foreign firms is also a growth driver for the export sector.

Following a rapid increase in economic strength among the emerging markets, and with their rising population figures, ever more people globally are achieving an annual income of between USD 1,000 and 12,000. By 2030, the global middle class will double in size from 2.5 to 5 billion members, two-thirds of whom will live in Asia. Accordingly, by 2030 Asia will account for around 60% of global consumption. “The massive growth of the middle class in the emerging countries turns the global economic situation on its head,” observed Daniel Küng, CEO of S-GE, on the results of the study (see infographic), which was undertaken by PwC on behalf of S-GE. This was presented at the Forum for Foreign Trade and Investment, which was strongly characterized by the topic of the rising middle class.

Sales potential: From chocolate to municipal vehicles

Significant growth opportunities are presenting themselves for Swiss companies in the consumer goods sector. Food expenditure is set to increase by 9% per year in the ten largest ‘rising middle class’ markets. But where the middle class is growing, so too is the need for working infrastructure or a quality health care system. Swiss Industry Exporters can also benefit greatly from the rising middle class. In many sectors – from medical technology to ICT, transportation and beyond – annual spending is increasing by 8 to 9% in the ten countries with the largest growing middle class.

Carefully weighing up market entry: No Asia automatism

Realizing these multifaceted market opportunities poses a major challenge – above all for SMEs. “The rise of the middle class means that the regional economy of the emerging economies is growing into an increasingly strong competition,” explains Daniel Küng. “The fastest-growing country is therefore not automatically the most suitable for Swiss exporters. Companies must meticulously analyses where opportunities outweigh competition. However, precisely because of the strong Swiss franc in the euro area, it is worthwhile to work on the diversification of export markets.”

MGreater competitiveness due to an influx of the right foreign companies

In view of the shift in global economic power, as well as the strong Swiss franc, Switzerland finds itself under pressure as seldom before. “In this environment, bringing selected, strongly value-adding companies into the country not only supports the export economy in its international competitiveness,” explained Ruth Metzler, President of the Board at S-GE, during the Forum. “These top companies bring new ideas and innovations into the country, award orders for Swiss SMEs, or fund research projects at our universities.” To this end, they create high-quality new jobs and additional tax revenues.

Infographic: The Rising Middle Class

Study "The Rising Middle Class"


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