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Reading Room is expanding its operations in Australia, saying it is a growth market. In your experience, which countries are coming out of recession fastest?

There is already strong growth in several markets in Asia. Australia is not showing growth yet, but the industry is well positioned to capitalise on what is happening in the Asia-Pacific region. In Europe, countries not overly dependent on manufacturing and export should come out faster. Markets heavily dependent on tourism (such as Spain) will remain in the doldrums longest. The US is likely to remain sluggish for some time yet. So talking about ‘coming out of the recession fastest’ seems rather premature. Those shoots are still a paler shade of green than some would have us believe.
Cheryl Giovannoni, European president, Landor Associates

Tricky one. Do you go where the work is? Stay put in a crowded market? Or try to do both? Competition is tougher than ever so you have to have conviction to succeed whichever route you choose. Our clients are mostly international, so it’s not about finding new clients in re-emerging territories, but about the re-emerging sectors that play to our strengths. Personally, it’s good to see retailers looking for brand partners once more.
Franco Bonadio, Chief executive, Identica

In all our offices, including the UK, we’re optimistic and having more conversations in the past couple of months. South East Asia: ‘Q3 signals end of recession’ (Singapore Straits Times), and China down to 9 per cent GDP growth, wouldn’t we all love that kind of downturn? India, moving very fast again – noticeable turnaround since September. America, slower recovery, clients cautious, battered but commissioning. Middle East, a quiet pick-up in some countries, but Dubai is hurt hardest and it will take longer. The key now is to stay calm and focus on the real, serious stuff.
Lois Jacobs, Chief executive, Fitch

It feels too obvious to say Brazil, Russia, India and China, but if you take these biggies and add in Mexico and South East Asia, that’s where we are focusing over the coming cycle – mostly because these economies weren’t in deep structural recession in the first place. Also, brands are coming of age as consumers demand honest brands that offer them meaningful experiences. The exciting energy in these markets stems from their rapid change.
Simon Black, Group strategy partner, Design Bridge

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