Welcome to Trends!
We are delighted to finally fulfill a lifelong dream; launching an English language business and lifestyle magazine in Iran! In fact, it was one of the original reasons I personally left London for Tehran some years ago. It took many years for Trends to materialize. First it was the shortage of time; after all, there is very little time in the consulting world for one to have a side passion. Then it became a moving target, and every time we worked on the concept, some rather unexpected events (such as sanctions and now the pandemic) happened that distracted us and our potential audience. Then there was a lengthy process of obtaining a license and, once we got it, many friends and colleagues called us insane for launching an English language publication while the country is going through the “harshest sanctions in history” and foreign companies and expats are leaving.
In all honesty, there is never a perfect time to launch any venture in volatile and unpredictable conditions, but then again, there is also no better time to do so! We believe in the strong economic fundamentals of Iran and its potential to eventually become a major regional industrial and trade hub. Sanctions will sooner or later be lifted again, and even if they don’t, Iran will remain a powerhouse in the region and an interesting case study in geopolitics and political economy for the curious ones out there. Nobody can claim to fully understand Iran’s economy, business environment, its consumers or even investors’ behaviors! Every time someone predicted the complete collapse of the Iranian economy, they were proved wrong shortly after. It has, after all,shown great resilience despite massive pressures from the inside and outside, but can it continue on the same path for the foreseeable future? What can we expect in 2020 in light of historically low prices of oil and the corona virus crisis? What about its vibrant tech sector, which we will be covering in this edition? What lies ahead for the local tech giants and the startup community? What is happening in Iran’s cultural and art scenes? These are among some of the key questions that we will be trying to address in this and future editions of Trends.
There will be teething problems, no doubt. This is the first issue of Trends and we rely on your feedback to improve the content, format and our distribution and delivery mechanism. We thank you for your generous support and eagerly look forward to hearing from you.
Amir Cyrus Razzaghi
A McKinsey report back in June 2016 called Iran “the world’s biggest untapped market with around 1 trillion USD worth of investment potential.” A lot has changed for Iran since then,unfortunately in negative ways. The arrival of the new US President at the White House has, by far, been the biggest reason for the reversal of Iran’s fortune. The US imposed economic sanctions along with regional tensions and mismanagement of the domestic economy have all contributed to the lack of confidence by foreign and local investors. They have also been the main reasons for the reversal of inflation and Forex trends of the past few years. Add to this the far reaching impact of the corona virus crisis of the past quarter and it would be hard to have high expectations for the Iranian economy in 2020! None of this, however, changes anything about the fundamental potential of Iran; it is now among the handful of countries with advanced stem cell research and nanotechnology and is consistently among the top nations when it comes to scientific growth. Iran remains one of the best North-South, East-West transit routes in West Asia, needless to mention the amazing natural and human resources. One of our main objectives in publishing Trends is to highlight such potential and also put forward potential solutions, through our contributors, to address the existing issues in Iran’s economy and business environment. Another goal is to showcase the highlights of Iranian lifestyle, from culture and art to architecture and travel.
Our main audience consists of not only foreigners interested in Iran, both inside and outside of the country (embassies, chambers and businesses), but also Iranians inside the country interested in an international perspective of Iran’s economy and business environment, as well as Iranian expats curious about what is happening inside their native country. Trends will be published quarterly in both print and digital formats and our distribution model uses stands at key locations such as bookstores, shopping malls, etc. complemented by online/mobile delivery for our digital subscribers. We hope you enjoy reading Trends and help us improve it.
Chairman & Editor-in-Chief