Market Spotlight: South East Asia

Date: 26/03/2019
Author: GMCC
Company: GMCC

Often overlooked, South East Asia offers plenty of opportunities if you are looking to grow your business globally.

Its advantageous geographic position is ideal for importing or exporting. The port of Singapore, the second largest port in the world, is connected to 600 ports in 120 countries which facilitates trades considerably.
Composed of 11 countries, South East Asia would be the 4th largest country in the world if it were one. Its population of 640 million inhabitants contributes to the key strengths of the region: a strong labour force and a growing middle class.

Even though the economy depends heavily on agriculture, the region benefits from newly industrialised countries and developed ones, the manufacture of textiles and electronic high-tech goods are pre-dominant sectors and services are becoming more and more significant in the area. The open economies geared towards an export orientation have permitted an annual growth of 5% over the last years.

As the UK is set to leave Europe, Agreements signed between the two will only be thriving. Fastest growing export countries are part of the region and according to The Diplomat, UK-ASEAN trade accounts for £36.5 billion. In the same article, Mark Field, Minister of State for Asia and The Pacific at the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office maintains that trades with ASEAN have strong roots and these roots will be strengthened with Brexit as ASEAN is seen as a key component of UK’s “Global Britain” stance.

The large and fast-growing market with no competition and political stability provide a safe environment to do business, World Bank has ranked Singapore 2nd, Malaysia 15th and Thailand 27th for “Ease of Doing Business.”            
Worldwide, South East Asia is high in the charts in terms of GDP: ranked 1st in South east Asia, Indonesia is 16th globally while Thailand is ranked 27th globally and 2nd in South East Asia.

South East Asia has all the right reasons to attract businesses in the region: an open economy, a positive annual growth, a position of choice in the world and the ASEAN Free Trade Area. An agreement by the Association of South East Asian Nations with a primary goal of attracting more foreign direct investments. It is one of the largest and most important free trade areas that aims at supporting local trade and manufacturing in all ASEAN countries, facilitating integration with regional and international allies.

The demand for British products is high and trading between UK and South East Asia is set to grow massively which should see trades grow even more between the two in the future.               
Currently 7th economy in the world, ASEAN is set to be the 5th by 2020 according to the World Economic Forum, forecasting a bright future.

Greater Manchester Chamber has a network of partners across South East Asia. If you are interested connecting with opportunities, gaining information advice and being introduced to companies within the region, come along to our event on 11th April and book a meeting with our experts