Asia to lead global economic recovery? All signs point to 'maybe'

Asia to lead global economic recovery? All signs point to 'maybe'

Still, the Asian Development Bank thinks it's a slam dunk, and there are plenty of stories to support it
An end to the long unemployment line in sight? Job seekers in Manilla this summer queued up hoping to score whatever work they could.

From CNN, "Asia is set to lead the world out of the global financial crisis in spite of the slow recovery in the US and Europe, according to the latest forecasts by the Asian Development Bank." And why not? All you need do is read the news every day to see the logic in that outlook. Just last week the Bank of Japan signaled optimism over the future of Japan's economy.

Then there's news like the retirees who have been forced to seek employment in South Korea and Japan Airlines' elimination of 6,800 jobs in its bid for post-recession profitability. But the airline's not alone. The global industry as a whole nosedived to the tune of US$6 billion in the first half of 2009. Even with a flagging world air travel market, Asia is leading the charge toward recovery.

In banking, Asia has taken it on the chin much like the rest of the world. But unlike some banks and firms in the U.S. that just don't seem to get it, Asian lenders like the Bank of China are showing they've learned some serious lessons from the recession. Of course, recent spats over trade and tarrifs won't help move any economy forward.

The Asian car industry got pummeled over the last year, but not to the extent felt by bankrupt American car companies like Chrysler and GM. From a recent Buisness Week article, "For the fiscal year that ended in March 2009, Honda actually made a US$1.5 billion profit." Luxury car maker Rolls Royce is also flipping its keyless ignition finger to the recession in Hong Kong with the order book for its new Ghost model already filled. Further, Mitsubishi Motors is hiring 1,300 workers in Thailand after shedding 1,100 jobs in January.

Another good sign for Thailand came when NESDB secretary-general Ampon Kittiampon recently stated that the Thai "economy was clearly on the road towards recovery."

India is also contributing to Asia's high hopes for an economic turnaround with its current fevered IPO shares listing. And where some luxury companies in Japan are reeling due to a shift in consumer mentality, others (namely online retailers) are picking up steam with "staggering growth of 22% or US$67.2 billion." In Singapore, 70 percent of small and medium-size enterprises aren't holding back on overseas expansion despite the recession, and are currently "positioning themselves for growth when the economy recovers."

In Malaysia, the travel industry has shown no signs of slowing down and is actually still hiring staff. While this is by no means a barometer of the Asian travel industry as a whole -- more countries have suffered through the crises than not -- it's still encouraging.

Make of this recent news what you will, but the likelihood of Asia leading the world out of its economic doldrums still registers a "maybe." Economic predictions the last two years have generally proven as accurate as Hong Kong summer weather forecasts.

In a bind due to the recession? Or maybe just feel like contributing to the general all-around warm and fuzzy recovery feeling? Here are seven tips to start a business in a recession from CNN.

Chris Anderson is the former associate editor of CNNGo based in Hong Kong and is now senior editor at Huffington Post Media Group.

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