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ASEAN regional bloc is business-friendly

ASEAN member countries complement each other in supporting investors.

ASEAN is committed to an excellent investment climate for businesses. Aside from each ASEAN countries’ individual initiatives, the region offers an investment framework aimed at enticing investors and helping those doing business in the region. Newer member countries of ASEAN attract more efficiency-seeking FDI because of their comparative labour cost competitiveness. Similarly, some land-constrained ASEAN countries encourage investors from agriculture and plantation industries to operate in neighbouring countries in ASEAN that have abundant lands. The practice of finding another ASEAN country to complement current operations has led ASEAN-based investors to deepen their engagements with the region.

ASEAN’s workforce is a key draw for investors to the region. Human resources range from productive and cost-competitive labour, highly-skilled industry practitioners, and licensed professionals. Labour force participation rate in ASEAN is estimated at 70%. ASEAN citizens value education. Adult literacy rate ranges from 73% to 96%. Every year, the region produces hundreds of thousands university graduates. Technical and vocational certificate holders are also filling industry workforce requirements as ASEAN countries continue to support industrial and public training institutes. English is commonly used in ASEAN business transactions.

Global players in various industries are present in ASEAN and many are expanding their operations as they see opportunities develop. The world’s top global brands (as ranked by Interbrand), have made their way to the region. More than 80% of the world’s global Fortune 500 companies operate in ASEAN including via non-equity methods such as contract manufacturing, contract farming, licensing and franchising. The top 10 global automotive companies and top 10 global auto parts manufacturers are in ASEAN. The Association also takes pride in hosting the world’s leading consumer electronics and a number of global pharmaceutical and chemical companies. Apple, Dell, HP, LG, Microsoft, Nokia, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba are some of the electronic companies with multiple plants in the region. AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis all have production or R&D facilities in ASEAN.


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