London mayor Ken Livingstone has praised Asian entrepreneurs for making a ‘significant contribution’ to the capital’s economy.

Livingstone offered his comments at the third Asian Business Conference and urged all London businesses to focus on the opportunities that will become available as a result of emerging markets in India and China. “In the coming decades the global economy will be dominated by Asia, particularly with the phenomenal economic growth of India and China,” the mayor said. “If London is to continue to thrive, and ensure that the global companies that will inevitably emerge from the region choose our city as the place for their European headquarters, we will have to understand and meet these huge changes in the global economy. “London’s Asian-owned companies are not only vital to London’s economy itself but play a major role in helping us succeed in these trends. I hope that today’s discussions will provoke thought, debate and ideas for new work and activity that we can take forward together.” Over 250 delegates attended the conference, which examined the challenges and opportunities Asian businesses face in London. Discussions centred on three key themes from the mayor's 2005 report into Asian businesses: Asian entrepreneurship and enterprise in London’s economy; Asian women in London’s economy; and the importance of information and communications technology to London’s Asian-owned businesses, as well as in the global marketplace.

The report found that in 2003/4, London’s 39,000 Asian-owned businesses had a turnover of £60bn, which provided some 300,000 of the capital’s jobs.