In the last two years the share of Australian firms planning to significantly increase their presence in ASEAN has almost doubled, the AustCham ASEAN 2018 Annual Business Survey shows.
The recently published survey finds that about 87 per cent of Australian firms surveyed plan to increase their trade and or investment in ASEAN over the next five years. A strong 44 per cent said they plan to increase their presence significantly, almost double the share reflected in the 2016 survey.
The survey identified three main reasons behind this surge. They were ASEAN’s growing consumer class, the prospect of greater ASEAN economic integration, and infrastructure improvements in the region. Almost one quarter of firms said e-commerce opportunities, included for the first time in the survey, were a top three driver to increase investment in ASEAN.
But it isn’t all smooth sailing. Survey respondents pointed to corruption, restrictions on ownership and investment and access to skilled labour as the top three concerns for Australian firms. Many Australian businesses also said they require further information about ASEAN markets, most notably, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia and Thailand.
The 2018 Annual Business Survey was conducted by AustCham ASEAN, a ‘chamber of chambers’. The Chamber draws on the officially registered chambers and business councils from across ASEAN as its membership base.