World's largest tax advisory, audit and consultancy services provider, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has suggested that the emerging markets like India and China is fast becoming the hub of global economic activity with China likely to outpace the US by 2025.
The global center of economic gravity is already shifting to China, India and other large emerging economies and our analysis suggests that this process has a lot further to run, said John Hawksworth, head of macroeconomics at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. India could grow to almost 90 percent of the size of the US by 2050.
According to Hawksworth, China could overtake the US in around 2025 to become the world's largest economy and will continue to grow to around 130 percent of the size of the US by 2050.
There are other surprising findings in store. Brazil seems likely to overtake Japan by 2050 to move into fourth place, while Russia, Mexico and Indonesia all have the potential to have economies larger than those of Germany or the UK by the middle of this century, the economist said.
But, the fastest mover, according to Hawksworth, could be Vietnam, with a potential growth rate of almost 10 percent per annum in real dollar terms that could push it up to around 70 percent of the size of the UK economy by 2050.
According to the report, India rather than China, tops the growth league table, a reflection of India's working age population which is projected by UN to continue to grow at a healthy rate. After 2030, the younger and faster growing Indian population is expected to age, experiencing a gradual deceleration.
The key to achieving the growth potential, indicated by the report titled The World in 2050: beyond the BRICs, will be establishing and maintaining a macroeconomic, legal and public policy environment conducive to trade, investment, increased education levels and hence economic growth.
The report also highlights that there are many other alternatives worth considering, depending on the nature of the investment and the risk tolerance of the investor.
Nigeria, while high-risk, has the long-term potential to overtake South Africa to be the largest African economy by 2050. The Philippines, Egypt and Bangladesh also have high growth potential but also high-risk levels.
However, according to Hawksworth, The rapid growth of the emerging economies does not mean the demise of the established OECD economies. In fact it should prove to be a boost for them through growing income from exports and overseas investments, even as the OECD share of world GDP declines.
But while the macroeconomic story should be 'win-win' at the company level there are likely to be both winners and losers from the process of adjusting to this new world economic order, Hawksworth said.
Retailers should be potential winners by benefiting from lower cost imports into their OECD markets while also having the potential to set up new stores in the E7 countries (China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Indonesia and Turkey). China, in particular, is likely to be the second largest consumer market in the world by 2020, while cities across the leading emerging markets from Shanghai to Mexico City will have rapidly growing middle class populations with the spending power to afford Western consumer goods and services, he said.
But of course, retailers need to be savvy enough to identify the right business strategies and local partners for such overseas ventures. This has not always been the case for overseas investments by retailers in the past, particularly in culturally unfamiliar territories such as China or India, the economist warned.
Similar cautions apply to other potential winners, such as business services, energy and utilities, healthcare, educational services, media companies and owners of leading global brands. All of these are, in principle, well placed to benefit from the rapid growth in emerging markets provided they can identify and execute the appropriate business strategies, bearing in mind that strong domestic competitors either already exist or will probably soon emerge in these markets, he added.
In the financial services sector, while the emerging markets of the E7 provide considerable opportunities, it is expected that large financial service providers will emerge in economies such as China and India that may increasingly seek to play on a global stage, particularly in serving business customers and operating in wholesale markets, the report said.
Losers are likely to be mass market manufacturers due to increased Chinese competition.
New lower cost competitors like Vietnam will also increasingly challenge China as the leader of low-cost manufacturing in the global economy, while China itself moves into higher technology areas just as Japan and South Korea did in earlier decades.
In the long term, perhaps India too may displace China gradually, if it can create the right political and economic pre-conditions for manufacturing investment.