Brunei Darussalam is the smallest country in ASEAN in both geography – at 5,800 square km – and population – less than half a million. The second part of its name, Darussalam, literally means Abode of Peace. It is based on the island of Borneo, and mostly surrounded by territory belonging to Malaysia. The country is home to Southeast Asia’s last absolute monarchy.
Despite its size, Brunei is a wealthy country owing to its vast petroleum and natural gas reserves; the industry accounts for more than half of its $20B GDP. It is the third-largest oil producer in the region, and one of the top ten producers of liquefied natural gas in the world. The country has enjoyed political stability and good economic and political ties with other ASEAN members. Due to the volatility expected of fossil fuel markets, the government has been seeking ways to diversify the economy.
Together with Singapore, Brunei has the highest internet penetration rate (IPR) in the region, growing from 50% to near 90% from 2010 to 2017. In 2019, 61% of households owned a laptop and used Facebook, 88% owned a smartphone, and 95% of the entire population had access to 4G networks. High connectivity, IPR and a literacy rate of 97% makes it ripe for digital ventures.
At Aseian Business Partners, we’d be glad to connect and help you tap the opportunities in Brunei.