Monthly Archives: November 2015

Get ASEAN’d! Position your SME for the Opportunity on Australia’s doorstep

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If you are looking to do business in Asia, it’s not just about Japan, Korea, China or Indonesia. The ASEAN region is an exciting opportunity, being one of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets that sits right on our doorstep.

ASEAN member countries comprise Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

This diverse group has achieved incredible progress over the last 30 years, becoming an economic powerhouse in the region. Collectively, ASEAN is the 7th largest economy in the world with a population over 600 million, a fast expanding middle class and GDP over US$ 2 trillion growing annually at around 5%.

The full-version of this blog (and comments) was originally published in the First 5000 (a business network for Australia’s most significant mid-sized companies).  It outlines why Australian SMEs and investors should seriously consider an ASEAN business strategy, and looks at the attractions and challenges.

Attractions include:

  • Needs and demands in every sector

Accelerating growth in consumers and consumption
  • A feasible alternative for manufacturing
  • Free movement of goods, services, investment and labour across the region
  • Free trade agreement with Australia
  • Access to other major Asian markets

Challenges include different cultures, business practices, languages and regulations across ASEAN, with individual countries differing in their level of market maturity.

The blog concludes that Australian SMEs and investors have generally shied away from an ASEAN business strategy. But now there is a lot of attractiveness about ASEAN, especially with the ASEAN Economic Community commencing in 2015. The return on investment is definitely tipping positive. It’s time to get ASEAN’d!

OXFORD UNIVERSITY: ASEAN Economic Integration Forum 2015

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We are proud that Venturenauts’ Managing Director Peter McKenna was an invited expert speaker at the inaugural ASEAN Economic Integration Forum at University of Oxford’s St. Antony’s College on 10 November 2015. This forum marked the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community 2015 and was convened by the Asian Studies Centre at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, and the World Trade Institute, University of Bern.

The main objectives of the ASEAN Economic Integration Forum 2015 were to discuss the economic governance challenges facing ASEAN Member States as they strive to establish the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and explore forward looking proposals to enhance the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community 2025 objectives.

New research and thinking was provided by speakers and hotly discussed amongst the Forum’s international participants. Cutting-edge perspectives were shared on topics ranging from the political economy of ASEAN’s member states to explain progress with the AEC, to examining the disparity, gaps, and openness in building connectedness (eg., production chains) across members states that unlocks the potential of ASEAN. Co-Convenor of the Forum Associate Professor Dr Sufian Jusoh provided a very interesting and topical case study on integrating Myanmar into the AEC.

Venturenauts’ Peter McKenna was privileged to be invited as the sole business speaker at the Forum. Peter’s presentation outlined the opportunities and challenges for business with the AEC from both an ASEAN and Australian business perspective, likely winners and losers, and detailed necessary collaborations that business needs with government and academia across ASEAN to make the AEC an business and economic success.

Peter provided examples of collaborations that support SMEs which included raising awareness of ASEAN and the AEC across the community, developing international skills and knowledge in businesses and governments, training executives and officials in economic diplomacy, and addressing regulatory reform and harmonization at national and regional levels. This practical and strategic thinking resonated strongly with international participants.

Planning for the ASEAN Integration Forum 2016 (proposed to be held in Malaysia) is commencing. Early expresssions of interest from partners, sponsors and interested supporters are being sought. If interested in learning more, please contact us.