Why invest in ASEAN?
ASEAN’s market of more than 600 million people is 9% of the world’s total population. Combined income per capita in the region for the past 6 years has been rising and reached an average of US$3,600 as of 2011. Singapore has the highest GDP per capita at over US$50,000 followed by Brunei at US$39,000.
ASEAN's consumer market at present is at US$1.2 trillion which exceeds that of India (US$938 billion) and South Korea (US$590 billion) and compares favorably with Brazil (US$1.8 trillion) and Russia (US$1.3 trillion).
In 2012, the GfK Group - one of the world’s largest market research groups – reported that “consumers in Southeast Asia spent some US$ 8.75 billion on almost 29 million smart phones within the last 12 months, translating to 61% and 78% growth in volume and value”, respectively. In terms of basic mobile phones, consumers across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Cambodia, and the Philippines, bought a total of 118 million units!
Growing Middle Class
ASEAN countries have a growing number of middle income families who beef up demands for wide range of products, such as electronics, mobile phones and gadgets, cars, and services related to education, health, and leisure.
The region has made significant progress in reducing poverty rate. It is the only regional bloc in Asia Pacific dubbed as an “Early Achiever” in terms of achieving the Millennium Development Goal pertinent to poverty reduction. The average headcount poverty ratio (living on less than US$1.25 per day) in Southeast Asia fell from 50 percent to 22 percent between 1990 and 2009.
Reasons for Investing in ASEAN
ASEAN is a choice destination for ASEAN and international investors. Investors enjoy profitable operations and commit to deeper engagement in the region as shown by strong reinvestment and sustained growth in foreign direct investments (FDI). FDI stock in the region has quadrupled within a little more than a decade. In 2011, FDI stock exceeded US$1 trillion compared with only US$266 billion in 2000.