In 2001, global economist Jim O’Neill labeled Brazil, Russia, India, and China as the premier emerging markets of the world with enormous economic potential. The mainstream BRIC acronym was applied to these countries and the hype surrounding these countries was well deserved. Over the past decade, the countries have contributed to over a third of world GDP growth. Recently, Jim O’Neill named the next tier of large emerging economies using the term MIST – or Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey.
The selection of these countries may be a little surprising as they lack the economic strength of the BRIC countries. Despite this concern, the MIST countries have a number of important factors in common—a large population and market, a big economy at about 1% of global GDP each, and all are members of the Group of Twenty. Of the four countries in MIST, the two major countries are South Korea and Turkey.
South Korea is the top-runner of the group with a far higher per capita GDP than the others and is a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Turkey is not far behind South Korea as Turkey has a large unsaturated market making it very attractive to investors. Additionally, Turkey hopes to become one of the world’s top five tourist destinations by doubling its arrivals to 63 million over the next five years. Turkey’s main attraction is a popular museum known as Hagia Sophia which draws visitors from all around the world. With increased tourism, more money will be spent in Turkey allowing its economy to expand. Tourism is a key indicator for future economic growth in Turkey.
Besides tourism and investing opportunities, Turkey has other advantages too. Its location as a natural bridge from east to west (connecting Europe to Asia) has many economic benefits. Turkey’s potential lies in its ability to capitalize on its proximity to major markets in the region including the Middle East, Central Asia, the Balkans, and Russia. To be effective Turkey must also take advantage of the energy market in the region.
Despite these many advantages, being competitive might not be easy for Turkey as it faces high labor costs and intense pressure from its exporting rivals in Asia. For the MIST countries to fulfill economists’ expectations, Turkey must address these problems and effectively use the advantages it has. The future of the MIST countries may be foggy and unclear but time will tell if MIST can achieve the economic solidity of the BRIC countries.