Overview of business in Southeast Asia
Located to the South of China and Taiwan, the East of India and Bangladesh, North of Australia and West of Papua New Guinea, Southeast Asia is a tropical sub-continent of Asia. It is home to several emerging market countries making the region one of the most dynamic in the world, an important driver of the world's economic growth.
Southeast Asia has a large population of more than 650 million inhabitants. It is a diverse region with rich cultural and natural heritage famous all over the world for tourism and recognized through many UNESCO World Heritage Sites throughout Southeast Asia.
Southeast Asia regroups some of the world's fastest growing economies. Many of its major countries attract the attention from global companies and investors willing to do business in the region and reap the benefits of its growth. To do so, they can notably rely upon the chambers of commerce in Southeast Asia from the world's major economic powers and get informed through several news websites from Southeast Asia in English.
ASEAN – Association of South-East Asian Nations
The Association of South-East Asian Nations – ASEAN – is an economic and political organisation of 10 countries located in Southeast Asia: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Together they span about 4,46 million km² and gather more that 650 million people which make the ASEAN market very attractive. The 10 ASEAN countries gradually came together to improve common political and economic ties and form a stronger political body as well as an more integrated and larger market.
The ASEAN six majors refers to the six biggest economies of ASEAN in terms of Gross Domestic Product, which are several times larger that the four others:
The ASEAN Economic Community
The ASEAN Economic Community – AEC – is a project of economic integration between the ten ASEAN countries that was launched on 31 December 2015. It aims at providing the following advantages to business in the ASEAN economic community.
- single market and production base
- highly competitive economic region
- region of equitable economic development
- region fully integrated into the global economy
ASEAN plus three
The term ASEAN plus three – ASEAN+3 – refers to the will of East Asian countries to develop further political and economic ties between ASEAN nations and:
- South Korea
Various other meetings with regional and global partners have been coined with other terminology to facilitate discussions with India, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Russia and the US.
Digital in Southeast Asia
The digital technology sector is currently booming in Southeast Asia, thanks to the rapid development of telecommunications infrastructure and the spread of mobile phones, notably in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. More mature markets like Singapore and Malaysia are not left aside as they harbor diversified eco-systems for tech startups to grow and providing significant sources of revenues for e-commerce and digital services companies.
Southeast Asia by business sectors
For a more focus overview and resources concerning particular business sectors of the ASEAN region, check ASEAN UP's business homepages by theme.
Latest business resources for Southeast Asia
Popular resources for Southeast Asia
- Southeast Asia digital, social and mobile 2018
- The 6 Tech Unicorns of Southeast Asia
- 4 ASEAN infographics: population, market, economy
- 8 free maps of ASEAN and Southeast Asia
- 12 free maps of ASEAN countries
- Top 15 news websites in English from Southeast Asia
- Infographic: top cities and urbanization in ASEAN
- Benefits of the ASEAN Economic Community – AEC
- Billionaires of Southeast Asia
- ASEAN Anthem – The ASEAN Way
- Overview of oil and gas in Southeast Asia
- Southeast Asia automotive industry overview [market analysis]
- Free ASEAN icons sets
- Top 100 ASEAN companies in 2014
- The 37 World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia [photos]
- Overview of e-commerce in Southeast Asia [market analysis]
- ASEAN infographic: economy and demography
- Welcome to the ASEAN Economic Community
- Southeast Asia digital economy 2025 [report]
- Southeast Asia real estate review