The 10-country Southeast Asia economic bloc is one of the world’s highest growth regions. Currently the 5th largest economy, it is poised to be the 3rd largest by 2030. ASEAN is home to 9% of the world’s population, has a 440 million-strong workforce and a high literacy rate. In the past decade, it is the 3rd fastest-growing major Indo-Pacific economy after China and India. It has been growing considerably in importance as a trade bloc, and is now the 3rd largest after the European Union and the North American Free Trade Agreement. Tariffs for most products have been lifted over the years, or are in the 0-5% range, making it an almost duty-free region.
With a global look-East policy being pursued by the US and Europe, ASEAN has a lot to offer to global investors. Aside from each country’s individual initiatives, the region offers an investment framework aimed at enticing investors and helping those already doing business. Newer member countries attract more efficiency-seeking FDI because of their comparative labor cost competitiveness. The region’s internet economy is also advancing rapidly. With a growing middle class and a young, digital-savvy population, the bloc is an attractive destination for providers that offer localised versions of their digital services.
For all its attractions, gaining a foothold in ASEAN presents many challenges; these include ever-evolving rules and regulations, language and cultural differences, and difficulty finding the right partners. ASEAN Business Partners offer comprehensive services to help forward-looking companies enter succeed in the region. Connect with us. We’ll be glad to help.