Local biz urged to tap opportunities in Asean
Business Mirror
February 1, 2017

HOME to more than 600 million people, the Asean offers many opportunities for the Philippines with its diverse markets, urbanized population with increasing incomes, growing services sector and dynamic growth trajectory. The region ranges from First World to lower-middle-income countries that present a wealth of prospects for varying cost structures and comparative advantages.

Brunei Darussalam and Singapore are high-income economies. Malaysia and Thailand are upper-middle-income countries and Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam and the Philippines have lower-middle-income status.

While the region is now a single market under the Asean Free Trade Area, the diversity in culture, language, religion and the level of socioeconomic development and political systems also poses a challenge.

The size of the consumer market in Asean varies significantly among member-countries. The four largest are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, requiring different strategies from the smaller markets.

Philippine businesses need to do their homework and understand the challenges of being in particular markets. Starting and expanding entrepreneurs should focus on investing time and effort to acquire in-market knowledge, expertise and relationships.

The Philippine Department of Trade and Industry-Foreign Trade Service Corps (DTI-FTSC), through the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC), has offices in Asean, specifically in Bangkok, Jakarta, Malaysia and Singapore. The PTIC provides information, advice and assistance on trade preferences, market opportunities, introduction to importers, buyers and investment partners. The PTIC also serves Filipinos living and working abroad who are interested in business opportunities in the Philippines, particularly in their hometowns.