The Export Council of Australia and HSBC have just released a report titled, “ASEAN Connected” (to download the full report, click onto 2016 Sep ASEAN Connected PUBLIC).

The report highlights the opportunities offered to Australian businesses by the maturing markets of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam.

The Executive Summary in the original report is reproduced below.

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ASEAN Connected 2Executive Summary

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with a collective GDP of USD 2.5 trillion, a population exceeding 600 million, and a strategic location at the crossroads of Australia, China and India, is a AUD 100 billion trading market for Australia. Increasing regional connectivity is gradually lowering what barriers remain to trade and investment in the region, and allows Australia to build on the already strong commercial foundation we have in place with ASEAN.

This report discusses the opportunities that Australian companies can leverage today, keeping our focus practical while also highlighting emerging trends which are building the more connected ASEAN of tomorrow.

Broad opportunity exists for Australian companies across the region, although for the purposes of practical illustration we have chosen to limit our discussion to select opportunities from each focus market in this report.

The opportunities we have chosen to focus on either are either areas of strength for Australia – like education and advanced manufacturing – or have the potential to facilitate Australian trade with the region and/or improve efficiencies for Australian companies – such as business process management outsourcing, or establishing regional treasury centres.

We pair these opportunities with the six largest ASEAN economies: Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. These are either the most mature or the fastest-maturing markets for Australian goods and services, as well as the most developed operating environments in the region.

Singapore offers an easy, low-risk ASEAN entry point for Australian companies, and is an ideal location in which to establish a regional treasury centre as part of a pan-ASEAN proposition.

Malaysia represents an opportunity to match Australia’s highly-regarded education and advanced manufacturing expertise with the country’s need to further up-skill its workforce, as the Malaysian manufacturing sector climbs the value chain in a more connected ASEAN.

The Philippines offers Australian companies possible cost savings and efficiency gains by integrating the country’s strengths as a business process management hub into their own value chains.

Indonesia presents a massive opportunity for Australian companies in infrastructure development and supporting services, but with this comes a complex set of challenges to capitalising on development in Australia’s closest ASEAN neighbour.

Thailand provides a strategic gateway to the Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam subregion, allowing Australian companies to leverage a more established and comfortable operating base to access ASEAN’s fastest growing markets.

Finally, in Vietnam Australian education service providers can tap a fast-growing market, hungry for knowledge and expertise.

ASEAN opportunity is of course not limited to these sectors or markets. Enterprising Australian companies are sure to also find rewards in the four ASEAN countries not directly covered by this report: Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

Supporting this report was a survey commissioned of 83 mid-market Australian companies from a variety of sectors, all with annual turnover in excess of AUD 30 million. Their responses appear throughout this report, and the survey is henceforth referenced as the ASEAN Connected survey.

This report is intended to inform and inspire, though we also recognise the need to provide practical guides to opportunity. As part of our wider ASEAN Connected project, the ECA and HSBC Australia will therefore be launching a series of ASEAN toolkits which focus on practical information for accessing ASEAN opportunity.

We hope this report and wider project become useful resources and stepping stones on the path toward greater Australian engagement with ASEAN, today and tomorrow.

Download the full “ASEAN Connected” Report

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