15 August 2018

Why Southeast Asia is Booming With International Business

southeast asia

International markets are now becoming a big focus for an ever-increasing number of organisations. Southeast Asia is one of the most interesting emerging markets for global ventures. Keep on reading to find out why.

Many of the Southeast Asian nations have made significant strides towards economic growth in recent years. For example, Indonesia is quickly becoming a major player as one of the MINT countries, while Thailand and Malaysia are drawing substantially more foreign investment. This approach goes against the previous status-quo of the Southeast Asian countries investing into each other.

Southeast Asia could be a significant part of your business’s future, so this is probably a good time to plan ahead in order to make the most out of it.

Introducing the ASEAN countries

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is an intergovernmental organisation that connects ten of the most promising Southeast Asian economies:

      • Indonesia
      • Thailand
      • Singapore
      • Malaysia
      • Vietnam
      • Philippines
      • Myanmar
      • Cambodia
      • Laos
      • Brunei Darussalam

This organisation is instrumental in the economic development of all the countries in the region, and it provides an essential connection to the wider global economy.

The ASEAN countries are connected in more than one way. The organisation operates in a similar way to the European Union (EU) in principle, and so trade agreements and business arrangements are always evolving, making this part of the world increasingly business-friendly.

ASEAN connections go beyond the member states, as networks are continually being developed across the Asia-Pacific region – so a tie to an ASEAN country could open doors to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, South Korea and India too!

Taking a chance on innovation

In a world of technological innovation, it is unsurprising that technological opportunities stand out for success in Southeast Asia. The stories of several unicorn start-ups provide an interesting perspective on the growth seen in this sector across the region, and these companies are busily expanding to other countries in the region too.

McKinsey’s research has identified two other areas worthy of attention in the region: global trade and the rise in urbanisation across the region. Southeast Asia is one of the world’s largest exporting regions, and it is also closely situated to major manufacturing nations such as China and India. However, as prices rise in these nearby countries, Southeast Asian nations may be able to capitalise on new exporting and manufacturing opportunities.

The rising population in Southeast Asia’s buzzing cities is also set to create a burgeoning consumer class, presenting significant opportunities for cities to invest in high-quality living, commercial and recreational spaces. As a result, innovation and growth in Southeast Asia can be visible in most economic sectors.

Tackling the language challenge

ASEAN operates in a similar way to the EU, and just like the EU, it has several different languages across its countries. English will only get you so far within both regions, but you are likely to hit a barrier at some point. Planning ahead and incorporating business language and cross-cultural training can help you and your colleagues get to know these new operational regions. This will enable you to confidently establish better relationships with local contacts before you take the plunge.

Doing business in Southeast Asia is likely to only get easier over time, but the language and cultural barriers may feel like an obstacle if you do not have a plan in place to overcome these challenges. However, with a little time and commitment, you can prepare your team for the adventures ahead. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

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