Business in Southeast Asia

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.

Map of Southeast Asian countries - white

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

Seal of ASEAN
Seal of ASEAN

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:

  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Infographic: ASEAN economies

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

4 pillars of the ASEAN Economic Community - AEC

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:

  • China
  • Japan
  • 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.

Latest business resources for Southeast Asia

Digital advertising: AdWords CPC in ASEAN countries

AdWords CPC in ASEAN countries

Online advertising is an easy and efficient means to reach new customers in Southeast Asia. However, the cost-per-click – CPC – varies greatly between the different ASEAN countries, and it should therefore be evaluated properly by people planning how to spend their marketing budget or monetizing their websites. Continue reading

Southeast Asia digital, social and mobile 2017

Southeast Asia: digital in 2017

Southeast Asia is experiencing a rapid growth of Internet, digital, social media and mobile activity. With more than 320 million Internet users in January 2017 and double-digit growth in most segments and most countries of the region, the digital sector is booming and attracting a lot of interests. Continue reading

Enhancing management and leadership in ASEAN

ASEAN management model

With the rapid growth of the region, companies in Southeast Asia face various challenges to manage their operations and lead their teams. The following presentation draws on the experience of many CEOs in ASEAN to assess these challenges, propose methods to tackle them successfully and prepare for the future. Continue reading

The 37 World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is a culturally rich and diverse region counting numerous sites classified by the UNESCO in the World Heritage of Humanity. With some of the world’s most famous sites like Angkor Wat in Cambodia or Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, Southeast Asia is home to 37 wonderful sites that stand out for their natural or cultural value. Continue reading

Join the ASEAN business community!

Empowering business in Southeast Asia further and accompanying the ASEAN Economic Community, ASEAN UP implements new tools to help business in the region. Introducing the ASEAN business community, ASEAN UP now helps you network, learn, share, discuss and promote yourself and your business. Continue reading

Infographic on travel trends in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia travel trends

Southeast Asia has been a top international travel destination for years. But the growing income now also make the Southeast Asian market an important source of tourists within the region and beyond. Travel interest of Singaporeans, Malaysians and Indonesians are here highlighted by their online search. Continue reading

Insights on candidates and hiring in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia talent trends 2016

The Southeast Asian workforce is now primarily made up of a new generation. With different habits and aspirations from their parents the “Millenials” also bring a shift in the way they approach their careers and their job hunting practices. At a time of change in Southeast Asia, here are some insights on how to attract and hire them. Continue reading

Overview of financial inclusion in Southeast Asia

Financial Inclusion in Southeast Asia

The inclusion of a country’s population into its banking and financial system varies greatly across Southeast Asia. A well developed financial system makes some countries profit from the convenience of financial services, while opportunities arise to expand financial inclusion in less developed countries. Continue reading

Top universities of Southeast Asia

Top universities of Southeast Asia

Education is a major concern in most countries and a key issue in Southeast Asia where many countries have a very young population. With the integration of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, education will also be a major factor to bring ASEAN countries closer together in the coming years and decades. Continue reading

13 HR tips for foreign companies in Southeast Asia

HR tips for business in Southeast Asia

While the journey of acclimatizing to a culturally different business ecosystem is not without its challenges, the Dutch startup Saleduck has successfully launched its operations in Malaysia with an eye on regional expansion. Here are some tips on their journey with a focus on the aspect of human resources. Continue reading

ASEAN flag