Empower your business in Sri Lanka and internationally with Prifinance expert corporate and financial services. Streamline company formation and investment opportunities with our tailored advice and solutions.

62nd LBR LBO CEO Forum – “Asia Rising: Emerging Opportunities for Sri Lankan Business” – 20th May 2015


Topic: Asia Rising: Emerging Opportunities for Sri Lankan Business
Date/Time: Wednesday 20th May 2015 | 1800 - 2100 Hrs
Speaker: Professor Razeen Sally
Moderator: Anushka Wijesinha | Consultant Economist
Panelists: Rohan Fernando | Chairman | HVA Foods PLC Imal Fonseka | CEO | Ceylon Biscuits Limited Ranil Pathirana | Group Finance Director | Hirdaramani Group
Venue: Institute of Chartered Accountants
Host: Lakshaman Bandaranayake | Founder, Publisher | Lanka Business Online [LBR LBO]
To Join the Discussion, Post your Comments/Questions Text: 071 294 7693 | Twitter: @lbolbr | Facebook: LBRLBO | Use Hashtag: #62ndlbrlboforum#lbrlbo, #lbrlboceoforum×
If you wish to request an invitation to attend LBR LBO CEO FORUM, kindly fill the LBR LBO Invitation Request Form×


Asia Rising & Middle Class is Swelling

Brookings Institution estimates that by 2030 - due to rapid growth in China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia - Asia will host 64% of the global middle class and account for over 40% of global middle-class consumption. The European and American middle classes will shrink from 50 percent of the total to just 22 percent. Per capita GDP in emerging and developing Asia too has recorded high growth rates during the past three decades. It increased from US$ 411 to US$ 5,227 over the period 1980-2010. The rising middle class is expected to bring about higher expenditure and consumption patterns. Lee Jong-Wha, Professor of Economics and Director of the Asiatic Research Institute at Korea University observed that the rapid emergence of Asia’s middle class will bring far-reaching economic change, creating new market opportunities for domestic and international companies. He furthers observed that as Asia’s economies rebalance toward domestic demand, especially household consumption, the region known as a global manufacturing hub will transform itself into a consumption powerhouse. As demand rises, more and better jobs will be created not only in Asia, but also globally, along supply chains and across production networks. Asia will not only be the largest consumer of goods, but also the largest producer of goods and services, influencing global trends.

Intra-Asia Trade & Investments Rising

The continuing shift in global power from the west to the east began with the end of WWII and continued even after the end of Cold War has now proven to be no fluke. It has been often projected that Asia will reach politically, culturally, economically and militarily a dominant position in the 21st century, provided certain demographic and economic trends continue uninterrupted. According to the World Bank, China may become the largest economy in the world sometime between 2020 and 2030, while India may become the second largest economy in the world sometime between 2030 and 2035 . Based on Hurun Report, for the first time in 2012, Asia surpassed North America in amount of billionaires. More than 40 percent or 608 billionaires came from Asia, where as North America had 440 billionaires and Europe with 324 billionaires. The direction of change is manifested in the growing economic power and influence of Asia. First in Japan in the aftermath of WWII and subsequently in South Korea and Taiwan led the economic revival in Asia. Singapore led “East Asian Tigers” gave further impetus to the region’s growth. The reforms in China and then in India further propelled the shift in “global economic center of gravity.” While the West has been the traditional export market of Asia, the intra-region economic integration has opened up new markets. Major intra- and inter-regional trade deals will further cement the region’s status as the engine of global economic growth in the 21st century. According to the Asia Foundation report “Regional Integration: Asia’s New Frontier” the intra-Asia trade corridor is the fastest growing trade area worldwide. Intra-Asia trade represents around 25% of Asia’s total $6 Trillion annual exports and is predicted to rise strongly. For instance, intra-regional trade with China now accounts for more than 37% of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation’s total trade, up from 26% in 2000 while ASEAN trade with US has fallen from 20% in 2000 to 10% in 211. IMF recently noted that Asia’s growth would hold steady in 2015, and the region is expected to continue outperforming the rest of the world over the medium term. While the Chinese economy is shifting to a more sustainable pace, growth is projected to pick up elsewhere in the region. This reflects the boost from lower world oil prices, strengthening external demand, and still-accommodative financial conditions despite some recent tightening.

Impact on Sri Lankan External Trade Profile

How has the changing fortunes of Asia impacted Sri Lanka? Between 2002 and 2012, imports from Asian countries has tripped from USD 4.5 B to USD 14.1 B. However during the same period exports to Asian countries had grown only from USD 1.0 B to USD 2.9 B, while the exports to traditional markets of North America and Western Europe grew from USD 3.8 B to USD 6.6 B. Exports to traditional markets is double the exports to Asia destinations. The trade imbalance has grown from USD 1.9 B in 2002 to USD 11 B in 2012. Sri Lankan business has quickly exploited Asia as a sourcing destination; it has not performed well in developing exports markets in Asia. With Asia becoming not only the largest consumer, but also the largest producer of goods and services, Sri Lanka should seize new and expanding opportunities that will come with it - opportunities in trading goods and services that would benefit Sri Lankan businesses and consumers alike. It will provide an opportunity for Sri Lanka to diversify its dependence on industrial economies, reducing its susceptibility to developments and imperatives in these markets. Sri Lanka stands to benefit from strengthening trade relations with Asia considering the demand prospects for its major exports to the region, combined with its geographic proximity.

Exploiting Emerging Opportunities in Rising Asia

In the aftermath of Global Economic Crisis, there have been many discussions on need to diversify export markets, and the need for Sri Lankan service sector grow beyond the national boundaries. However, it appears that Sri Lanka has not achieved much success in exploiting the opportunities arising from the increased Intra-Asia trade. Given this backdrop, the 62nd edition of LBR LBO CEO FORUM is dedicated to; 1) Understanding the characteristics and trends in the emerging Asia 2) Discuss the emerging opportunities and challenges LBR LBO CEO FORUM is pleased to present Professor Razeen Sally, Associate Professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. In his talk Professor Sally will present a brief overview of the state of China, Japan, ASEAN and India and then address the crosscutting themes for business opportunities: 1) Reorientation of Asian supply chains as low-cost production migrates out of the Chinese coastal provinces 2) Urbanization and the rising middle class in cities 3) The geo-economics of Asia: the dangers of an unstable balance of power (US, China, Japan and India) for economic development in Asia Professor Sally will deliver a brief keynote address and join the ensuing panel discussion.


Keynote Speaker - Professor Razeen Sally
Professor-Razeen-Sally @razeensally  |  Facebook  |  LinkedIn Associate Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore. Chairman Designate, Institute of Policy Studies, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Prof Sally earned his PhD from London School of Economics. Formerly: research, teaching and advisory positions at institutes and think tanks in Europe, the US, Asia and South Africa; Faculty Member, London School of Economics. 2006, Co-Founder and current Director, European Centre for International Political Economy, a global economy think tank in Brussels. Adjunct Scholar, Cato Institute, Washington DC. Chair: Global Agenda Council on Competitiveness, World Economic Forum; Mont Pelerin Society. Research and teaching focuses on global trade policy and Asia in the world economy. Has written extensively on the World Trade Organization, free-trade agreements, different aspects of trade policy in Asia, history of economic ideas, especially the theory of commercial policy.
Moderator - Anushka Wijesinha, Consultant Economist
Anushka Wijesinha Anushka is an economist and policy advisor, currently consulting with several international agencies including the World Bank and GIZ. He has published extensively in local and international publications, and government, multilateral, and private sector institutions regularly seek his insights. Anushka was formerly Research Economist at the Institute of Policy Studies, where he headed the Industry, Competitiveness and Regulatory Policy Unit. He previously worked with the Presidential Commission on Taxation (2009-10), as Assistant Director of the Economic Affairs Division of the Peace Secretariat (2009), and the World Bank (2006 and 2007).
Panelists - Rohan Fernando, Chairman/HVA Foods PLC
Rohan Fernando Rohan Fernando has over 37 years of experience in the tea industry and has been successful in developing, promoting and marketing the traditional beverage of tea in many innovative variants over the last several years. He served on the Colombo Tea Traders Association as a member. He functioned as the President of the National Chamber of Exporters in 2008 and 2009. He is the current Chairman of the Tea Exporters Association of Sri Lanka and a member serving in the board of the Sri Lanka Tea Board.
Panelists - Imal Fonseka, CEO/Ceylon Biscuits
Imal Fonseka Former Managing Director of CBL Foods International, a fully owned subsidiary of CBL. He is a graduate of the Charted Institute of Marketing (UK) and a Certified Management Accountant of Australia whilst completing his postgraduate education at the Indian School of Business. He’s had his executive education at Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University), University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Fundação Dom Cabral (Brazil).
Panelists - Ranil Pathiarana, Group Finance Director / Hirdramani Group of Companies
Ranil Pathirana Ranil has extensive experience in finance and management in financial, apparel and energy sectors. Fellow member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK(FCMA) and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.


5.30 - 6.00 Arrival of invitees
6.00 - 6.15 Welcome, opening remarks and sponsor messages
6.15 - 7.15 Keynote speech by Professor Razeen Sally
7.15 - 7.20 Sponsor messages
7.20 - 7.45 Panel discussion with the participation of keynote speaker and guest panelists.
7.45 - 7.50 Conclusion - Presentation to CandleAid in lieu of honorarium
7.50 - 9.00 Drinks and fellowship

Watch Online