Understanding the ASEAN market

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprises Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Giving the ASEAN region a combined GDP of US$3.3 trillion (in 2011) and a population of more than 600 million people (Source IMF).

Though the 10 ASEAN countries are small when compared to economies such as China’s  or Japan, GDP growth rates are foretasted to rise 5-6% in the coming years (Source IMF).   The ASEAN regions new single-minded focus on economic growth, is seen as the important lynch pin that will lead this region into continued prosperity for the long-term.  This makes ASEAN countries attractive markets for Australian and foreign companies alike across many sectors.

Breaking into the ASEAN market.

As scores of companies wishing to break into the ASEAN market have found out, what have been traditionally successful, tried and tested methods used in the western market, may not translate well into  ASEAN markets.

Logistics is seen as one of the great entry points for foreign companies into the ASEAN region, especially  with the introduction of new infrastructure and investment by governments into the industry.

So what are some of the requirements that foreign companies need to keep in mind when doing business in The ASEAN Region? Here are three that no foreign investor can overlook:

  • Tap into the communal mindset in ASEAN countries, where there is still a greater sense of community that can influence consumer behavior. This type of communal behavior is most evident in the internet domain where portals dutifully inform users the most popular topics that others are searching.  ASEAN consumers tend also to trust in reviews and testimonials from like minded users, rather than in advertising.
  • Build local relationships, don’t just call yourself global – be global. It is imperative that you have staff living in the area, not just visiting regularly, or better yet, hire staff from the region. Develop robust data bases, grow and develop relationships, and ensure that you continue to connect with your market on their home turf.
  • Research the markets, although the opportunities are vast, ASEAN consumers are discerning, they like all consumers are looking for quality and value for money.  If you cannot deliver your promise you will lose face very quickly, and this damage to your reputation, will be mostly irreparable.

Want to know more about entering into the ASEAN market? Latus can help, contact us today.


Emma Baker

Emma Baker is a senior consultant for Latus. Emma has a background in communications and marketing, with a focus on business development. Her primary focus for Latus is assisting in spearheading the growth and direction of the company´s marketing initiatives in Australia as well as; channel development, strategic partnerships, brand image, and customer acquisition through both online and offline advertising. Emma resides in Melbourne Victoria and holds a degree in Business from Victoria University and Arts, from the University of Ballarat.

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Posted in ASEAN Logistics, Industry News.

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