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Hiring in Southeast Asia – Understand ASEAN and the Opportunities

By January 25, 2016August 30th, 2022No Comments
Hiring in Southeast Asia - Understand ASEAN and the Opportunities

Hiring in Southeast Asia – as we embark upon 2016, the investment spotlight is often shown on Southeast Asia, an emerging market filled with untapped economic opportunities.  The region comprises eleven countries, ten of which make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).  In December 2015, the ASEAN Community was launched as part of regional integration efforts and is still a work in progress.  The ten-country bloc is in the process of building the Asean Economic Community (AEC), which aims to create a single market and production base through free flow of goods, services, investment, skilled labor, and freer flow of capital.  The AEC blueprint has been substantively implemented in eliminating tariffs and promoting trade, facilitating skilled labor mobility, harmonizing capital market regulatory frameworks, and developing regional frameworks in consumer protection as well as intellectual property rights.


It is estimated that Southeast Asia as a region will see an average 4.9% GDP growth in 2016, according to the Asian Development Bank.  If ASEAN were one economy, it would be seventh largest in the world and third largest in Asia; it has a combined GDP of 2.4 trillion and a population of 622 million consumers.  ASEAN attracted US$136 billion worth of foreign direct investments (FDI) in 2014, accounting for 11 percent of global FDI inflows.

We have told you some of the facts, now we will tell you why you should expand your operations to this emerging region:

Expanding and hiring in Southeast Asia is smart because it is a region of endless economic diversity.

It consists of the hottest investment spots at different levels of development.  In 2016, five economies in particular—Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Philippines, and Vietnam—are expected to see a GDP growth of above 6 percent.  Most of this growth will be in the service sector and the region is endowed with a large young population to service that growth.  Here are some of the destinations with endless opportunities for your overseas expansion:


To most people, Cambodia is known for its Angkor Wat.  To investors looking for emerging markets, the country tops their list of investment destinations.   This mainland Southeast Asian country with a population 15 million will enjoy a GDP growth of 7.2 percent.  Cambodian economy is centered on manufacturing but there is plenty of room to grow.


This country has been making headlines recently, Myanmar just came out of nearly 50 years of military rule.  Since 2010, a series of political and economic reforms have been introduced, making it an attractive investment destination in the region.  Recently, the most democratic elections in generations were held and a brand new administration, tasked with transforming the economy, will take charge in April.  Myanmar’s economy is estimated to grow at a staggering 8.2 percent in 2016.  Myanmar is the last economic frontier in Asia; we suggest you seriously consider Myanmar for your next investment destination.


The country’s $12 billion economy is estimated to grow at a solid 7 percent in 2016.  As AEC comes into effect, Laos may see an increase in foreign investment and inflows of professional services that Laos currently lacks, learn more from World Bank.


Philippines will see a GDP growth of 6.3 percent in 2016.  Unlike other ASEAN countries, the Philippines economy grows at a slow and steady rate.  Some of the attractive aspects of expanding your operations to the Philippines include a large English-speaking population and strong skills in industries such as healthcare, seafaring, oil/gas, engineering, and airlines according to McKinsey.


Vietnam will enjoy a 6.6 percent growth in its GDP in 2016.  This growth is sustained by a steady influx of FDIs into manufacturing.  This $186 billion economy with a population of 90 million people is growing rapidly and you shouldn’t miss out on its economic potential.

The ASEAN economies vary in size and wealth.  They range from well-developed economies like Singapore and Thailand to economic frontiers such as Myanmar and Cambodia.  The region offers endless economic opportunities for those who plan to make long-term investments.