Global Expansion

Apparel and beauty firms are eager to find new global markets with burgeoning fashionistas, especially in the all-important Far East. With Japan’s economy recovering slowly, the hunt is on for the next big spenders. No one in the region matches Japan’s per capita spending of $24,900 in 2000, but there may be other opportunities. Meanwhile, growth in the developed West remains modest.

The 10 advanced countries with the fastest growing economies(Measured in percentage increase of gross domestic product or GDP)



2001 GDP growth rate: 5.9 percent; 2002: 3.8 percent; 2003: 5.3 percent

Ireland’s economic growth has consistently been among the highest of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries. Credit the favorable demographics and young population. Per capita spending in 2000: $21,600.



2001 GDP growth rate: 4.1 percent; 2002: 3.7 percent; 2003: 3.2 percent

Before Greece dumped the drachma for the euro, the country was plagued by high inflation. The new currency forced the government to balance the budget and slash the deficit. Per capita spending in 2000: $17,200.



2001 GDP growth rate: 3.5 percent; 2002: 2.7 percent; 2003: 5.1 percent

Luxembourg has a stable, high-income economy and an industrial sector dominated by steel. The country is one of the most successful in the world at attracting foreign investors. Per capita spending in 2000: $36,400



2001 GDP growth rate: 2.7 percent; 2002: 2 percent; 2003: 2.7 percent

Since 1996, the year pro-business President Jose Maria Aznar came into office, Spain’s economy has grown faster than that of any large EU nation and consumer spending increased. Per capita purchasing power in 2000: $18,000.



2001 GDP growth rate: 2.6 percent; 2002: 4 percent; 2003: 3.8 percent

Australia’s economy emerged virtually unscathed from the crisis that engulfed the Asia-Pacific region in the late Nineties. Deregulation spurred productivity and growth without igniting inflation. Per capita spending in 2000: $23,200


New Zealand

2001 GDP growth rate: 2.5 percent; 2002: 3 percent; 2003: 2.9 percent

The country’s heavy dependence on trade leaves it vulnerable to economic conditions in other parts of the world, so the government is trying to improve ties with large market countries like the U.S. Per capita purchasing power in 2000: $17,700.


United Kingdom

2001 GDP growth rate: 1.9 percent; 2002: 1.7 percent; 2003: 2.4 percent

So far, strong consumer demand and a booming housing market have helped keep the U.K. economy buoyant despite the global slowdown and recession in manufacturing. Per capita spending in 2000: $22,800.



2001 GDP growth rate: 1.8 percent; 2002: 1.2 percent; 2003: 2.3 percent

There was strong consumer spending in the first three quarters of 2001, but that confidence began to wane in the fourth quarter. The French aren’t ready to give up their croissants and couture yet, however. Per capita spending in 2000: $24,400.



2001 GDP growth rate: 1.8 percent; 2002: 0.7 percent; 2003: 2.3 percent

Fiat’s troubles are Italy’s troubles. The ailing car manufacturer dominates Italy’s economy, accounting for 5 percent of the gross domestic product and 25 percent of sector workers. Per capita spending in 2000: $22,100.



2001 GDP growth rate: 1.7 percent; 2002: 0.4 percent; 2003: 1.5 percent

Portugal has had robust economic growth since 1993. Its 10 million consumers spent $15,800 per capita and are developing increasingly sophisticated tastes.

The 10 countries in the Far East with the fastest growing economies (Measured in percentage increase of gross domestic product or GDP)


China, People’s Republic

2001 GDP growth rate: 7.3 percent; 2002: 7.5 percent; 2003: 7.2 percent

Every fashion company dreams of tapping the market in China — the world’s fourth-largest trading power. Shanghai has 17 million trend-conscious and affluent consumers. Per capita spending in 2000: $12,000.



2001 GDP growth rate: 6.3 percent; 2002: 4.5 percent; 2003: 6 percent

Tourism is Cambodia’s fastest growing industry. The government is making progress in implementing an economic reform program and inflation remains low. Per capita spending in 2000: $1,300.



2001 GDP growth rate: 5.9 percent; 2002: 6 percent; 2003: 5.7 percent

Bhutan has one of the world’s smallest and least developed economies. Ninety-percent of the population is involved in farming or forestry. Per capita spending in 2000: $1,100.



2001 GDP growth rate: 5.2 percent; 2002: 5.5 percent; 2003: 6 percent

Subsistence agriculture accounts for half of the country’s GDP and employs 80 percent of the population. The country’s economy is largely dependent on aid. Per capita spending in 2000: $1,700.



2001 GDP growth rate: 5 percent; 2002: 5.3 percent; 2003: 6.5 percent

The former Communist country has embraced a market-based consumer-driven economy. Consumers are hooked on a localized version of "Wheel of Fortune" and city-dwellers carry cell phones.Per capita spending in 2000: $1,900.



2001 GDP growth rate: 4.9 percent; 2002: 1.2 percent; 2003: 7 percent

Tourism, the Maldives’ largest industry, accounts for about 35 percent of the country’s GDP, but global warming threatens the islands. Per capita spending in 2000: $2,000.



2001 GDP growth rate: 4.8 percent; 2002: 4.2 percent; 2003: 4.8 percent

Myanmar’s long-term economic prospects are good due to the country’s broad range of natural resources. Problems include political instability with charges of sweatshop labor. Per capita spending in 2000: $1,500.



2001 GDP growth rate: 3.3 percent; 2002: 3.5 percent; 2003: 4.5 percent

Economic growth in Indonesia is fueled by the expansion of agricultural output and healthy domestic spending.Luxury boutiques and fancy new cars in Jakarta attest to the strong consumer demand. Per capita spending in 2000: $2,900.



2001 GDP growth rate: 3.2 percent; 2002: 4. percent; 2003: 3.8 percent

The political situation is relatively stable, the economy is improving and inflation has declined. Per capita spending in 2000: $3,800.


South Korea

2001 GDP growth rate: 3 percent; 2002: 6.3 percent; 2003: 5.9 percent

Department stores are still crowded in South Korea, but there are signs that consumer confidence may be ebbing over worries about the volatile U.S. stock market. Per capita spending in 2000: $16,100.

SOURCES: World Economic Outlook, September 2002,International Monetary Fund;

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