The burgeoning force of Asia and its impact on the West Midland economy was highlighted at a major conference in Coventry yesterday.
The annual conference of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce at the Ricoh Arena heard from leading business experts on how the regional economy will be shaped in the year 2020.
The expanding economy of Asian countries, particularly India and China, were offered as both an opportunity and a threat over the next 15 years.
Speaker Sir Stephen Brown, chief executive of UK Trade and Investment, said that conditions in the UK market made the country a natural target for investment from the east and underlined the value of service exports to China and India.
"At the moment India is the fourth biggest economy in the world by 2030 it will have moved up to third and it is already the second fastest growing economy," he said.
"But India only accounts for one per cent of UK experts and there is massive scope to service that market.
"We are one of the most open economies in the world and that is recognised.
"The message is that we cannot stop globalisation, we cannot isolate ourselves and we have to embrace it and make it work for us."
Brian Woods-Scawen, chief executive of Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Partnership, said Coventry and Warwickshire was at a crossroads which would shape its future as an economic force domestically and internationally.
"The only way to secure jobs and work is through knowledge and equipping our people with the skills we need.
"Workers in the emerging countries are learning skills at a very fast rate and therefore improving their knowledge - China produced 600,000 engineering graduates alone last year."