The rebalancing of the Chinese economy, as well as growing consumption elsewhere in Asia, can be a boon for global trade, according to HSBC.

Much of the focus on Beijing’s decision last year to move from an investment-led to a consumption-based one was the negative effect it would have on various commodity markets, as well as those involved in the projects sector.

But Simon Constantinides, Asia Pacific head of trade and supply chain at HSBC, tells GTR that such ruminations are too short-term in nature, and that the longer-term impact is what needs to be examined.

He says: “I think we read too much about a statistic or figure that might be representative of 30-day activity, that is turned into doom and gloom for the next few years. What we’re looking at is not the minutiae of bumps and bubbles, but the medium to long-term trend. Over the medium to long-term our research shows that the trends are positive.”

Constantinides was speaking on the back of the bank releasing its Global Connections Report for March, which finds that “over the medium-term, the development of a strong middle class in countries such as China and India presents significant opportunities for western brands that can establish a foothold in these markets, as well as emerging market firms that can use their local knowledge to spur growth”.

However, the continued strong growth in Asia is dependent on lasting investment in R&D, since much of it is to be powered by the export of high-tech and manufactured goods. HSBC expects growth in high-tech to outstrip that of total merchandise exports by a factor of three.

Globally, between 2014 and 2030, the bank predicts high-tech exports to grow at 9% a year, around the same pace as manufacturing, slightly ahead of chemicals and machinery.

Within that, the lion’s share of growth will be in Asia. More than 40% of those interviewed for a survey contained within the report (which polled 5,550 exporters, importers and traders) said that Asia is the most promising region for trade over the next six months, almost double the amount who said Europe, the second-highest in the poll.

Constantinides says that there are 7 million Chinese university graduates expected to join the job market this year and that the onus is on the government to create opportunities that will satisfy them.

“These graduates don’t want to be going into textiles manufacturing, they want more sophisticated roles. This gives markets such as China a fantastic opportunity to increase the education level of the workforce and also to move up the value chain. If the economy is to be robust, there needs to be a significant focus on R&D investment. China has already been doing that. In merchandise exports, 40% are high-tech,” he says.

He also draws attention to India, which has traditionally been a domestic economy, but which is looking to nurture its fledgling high-tech sector. The government recently restricted the importation of certain technological items in order to ensure that producers were using locally-developed technologies. Producers will have to source between 25% and 100% of equipment used in their stock domestically. Some of the items affected are WI-FI devices, laptops, printers and telephone handsets.

The move has drawn the ire of international trade groups, but Constantinides says it shows a longer-term view is taking root in the Indian government.

The report shows the striking recalibration which has undergone the global economy this century. In 2000, the US was the top exporter of high-tech goods, accounting for 29.2% of global exports. In 2013, the US fell to third with a 9.6% share. China has risen from sixth position and 6.5% to first, with a share of 36.5%. Hong Kong is in second position with a 13% share – much of which is composed of Chinese re-exports.

With the continuing emergence of the countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and South Korea, it’s a trend which is not going to reverse any time soon.