Investing in Southeast Asia – A challenge worth taking

Many Southeast Asian nations (SEA) are well positioned to become hubs for multinational companies. With 600 million consumers, the region is bucking global trends with robust growth. Relaxed regulations, low costs of establishing businesses, ubiquitous Internet, and mobile services and a hyperconnected consumer market attract foreign businesses. Another plus for potential investors is the pool of qualified, affluent tech talent to be found here.

Population growth, coupled with strong Internet penetration and a global shift towards supply chain diversity have been driving growth in SEA. Five countries within the region- Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam rank among the top 10 countries in retail e-commerce sales, which are expected to grow by 18.6% in 2023.With the addition of 140 million new customers by 2030, the Internet economy here is expected to be valued at US$360 billion by 2025.

Despite the region’s potential, some challenges remain for multinational companies thinking of investing in Southeast Asia. These include issues such as political instability in some countries, fragmented tax and customs frameworks, and the presence of protectionism in some sectors.

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Marie Teo
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Spire Research and Consulting
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