Why invest in ASEAN?
ASEAN is a region of different markets, varying economic developments, and diverse cultures, making it one of the most competitive regions in the world today. Diversity leads investors to a wide range of opportunities and an expansive list of possibilities. In ASEAN, investors find complementarity among ASEAN’s mix of markets. There is room for small, medium, or large enterprises. There is a long list of possible industries to go into depending on the country’s strengths and needs.
Land Area. ASEAN countries vary in sizes. The largest is Indonesia which at 1.86 million square kilometers is 2,605 times the size of Singapore (714 square kilometers).
Population. While the Sultanate of Brunei is home to only 423,000 people, ASEAN’s archipelagos such as Indonesia and the Philippines are inhabited by 238 million and 96 million people, respectively. Viet Nam is also highly populated with 87.8 million people.
Urbanization. Singapore is most urbanized with 100 percent urban population. In contrast, Cambodia is primarily rural with less than a quarter of its population (21%) found in urban areas. Myanmar is the second least urbanized having an urban population rate of 30.8 percent.
GDP. Growth across ASEAN is strong although developments still widely vary. Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia continue to perform well while Indonesia and the Philippines are dubbed as emerging economies. Combined GDP growth rate of ASEAN’s newer members – the BCMLV (Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao, and Vietnam) is at 6.7 percent, higher than the ASEAN’s mean rate. Myanmar has shown substantial growth as a result of political reforms beginning 2010.
Advantages. ASEAN’s more developed economies are proud of their technologies, research, and innovation while the rest leverages on the abundance of their natural resources and competitive labor cost.
People of ASEAN
ASEAN’s diversity is reflected in the colorful lives of its people.
ASEAN is powered by 600 million people, most of whom are young. More than a quarter belong to the 15-29 years age bracket, around 10 percent are children aged 5 years and below, while only 6 percent are seniors or 65 years old and above.
ASEAN people are greatly influenced by the region’s rich history, diverse customs and traditions, religious beliefs, economic progress, innovation, and technological sophistication. Their cultures have been molded by time into a gigantic melting pot of Indian, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, American, and indigenous Malay influences, making it one of the most interesting places in the world.
Islam and Buddhism are widely practiced in the mainland Southeast Asia while ASEAN peoples at the maritime eastern side, especially the Philippines, are largely Roman Catholic. Hinduism and Christianity are also practiced region-wide. Various languages are spoken in ASEAN, with each ASEAN country having their own official languages and wide ranging list of dialects. English, however, is the official business language of majority of ASEAN countries.
ASEAN people are known for their hospitality, graciousness, dynamism, and family values. They take pride in their colorful art and heritage as evident in the region’s ancient architecture, folk dances, traditional music, and literature.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is comprised of the ten countries of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.