Competition in Asia Stifled By Threats To Asia-Pacific Economies

While competition is healthy in Western economies, the same can't be said for the Asian region. East Asia Forum pointed out that there's too little 'competition' happening in the Asian region among investors and companies, but it may be beyond their control; a different report comes from Business Times SG, citing external threats and difficulties as the reason behind little competition or the lack thereof.

Weak competition in Western economies has been attributed to different things: insufficient innovation, lack of investments, mark-ups multiplying, mass inequality, weak wages, and struggling start-ups. A lot of these has been seen in Asian economies and these would serve to be examples of what they need to work on.

The story in Asia, however, is a complicated one. The 2018 Global Competitiveness Report pointed at different factors that meant to show how lack of competition affected the market, but there are deeper problems. There are threats that force the economies to downtrend; most of them come from external forces.

It is pointed out that the US-China dispute plays a big role in how these economies can be seen as 'down.' However, there are other factors likely in play, such as policies that don't provide solutions even when they are supposed to be the solution, and a slower pace towards expected growth.

Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea are only a few developed Asia-Pacific economies who have shown how large an effect external forces have extended to their economies. Then, there are the Asian-Pacific economies, most of which can be considered struggling. The effect these outside forces have on their economies can prove to be catastrophic.

The lack of competition means conglomerates and monopolies hold all the coins in these various economies. Whereas in the West--despite all their problems--there is a healthy competition, in Asia, the problem seems to be the lack of it. It is in this picture that multinational companies and multilateral cooperation play a key part.

The APEC and the G20 are happening this year. Asian economies would do well to pass the legislature and key in bilateral and multilateral deals that promote healthy cooperation rather than enriching the rich and making the poor poorer. This is perhaps a good solution toward the problem of lack of innovation.

Asia has a problem, and competition can solve it, rather than stifle it. The people who make laws and drive business should know better.

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