Southeast Asia developments and opportunities

30 October 2018

Businesses in Southeast Asia are undergoing major changes. We have chosen two articles to show these developments and the opportunities they may bring in the region. The first article focuses on the developing business models in SEA and how they can lead to economic growth, while the second report outlines the growing e-commerce opportunities for New Zealand businesses in Southeast Asia.

Three reasons to be optimistic for the future of Asia

While Southeast Asia still faces many challenges such as income inequality, food insecurity, environmental issues and discrimination, there are also reasons to be optimistic about the region’s future. This is due to the new business models that are starting to be integrated in various SEA markets and which promote social and environmental sustainability and fair trade.

There are already improvements within equality as the gender pay and leadership gaps are starting to close. The region is also seeing a rapid growth in ethical consumption as consumers are now willing to pay more to businesses that are socially and environmentally responsible and those that give back to community. ASEAN governments are also helping economic growth by implementing public policies and initiatives that support social enterprises and fair trade. These factors combined mean that businesses can be more optimistic about the future of Southeast Asia. However, businesses must also do their part by implementing the new business models rather than having them as an add-on to contribute to the region’s economic growth.

Read the full article on the World Economic Forum website.

E-commerce opportunities in South East Asia

Southeast Asia’s e-commerce is developing at one of the highest rates in the world due to rapid economic growth and the large population. This creates many opportunities for New Zealand businesses in the region as it helps to overcome the challenges of distance and scale. However, it is important for businesses to prepare and plan ahead before entering the ASEAN e-commerce market. In this report, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise provides a number of key guidelines for New Zealand businesses wanting to engage in e-commerce with Southeast Asia.

Firstly, it is important to build brand awareness and educate SEA consumers about the brand, as unknown brands will not attract consumers. This means that PR, marketing and investing in distributor connections are crucial, and it is especially important to utilise social media to help build brand awareness. SEA consumers tend to trust information they acquire from social media more than from institutions, meaning that social e-commerce (conducted especially via mobile social media platforms) should be a part of the business model. SEA consumers also tend to have low trust in online banking and credit payment systems, which means that businesses will need to offer trusted pay systems such as pay-on-delivery. Finally, it’s vital that New Zealand businesses aim to integrate smart technology such as AI assistants, interactive wall screens and smart mirrors as part of their retail in the future as these are becoming a major component and source of competitive advantage in Southeast Asia e-commerce.

Read the full report on the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise website

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