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Survey Shows Indonesia and Singapore are ASEAN Countries with Most to Gain from AEC

Chicago, IL, January 17, 2015 --( Indonesia and Singapore are the South East Asian countries that will have the most to gain from the January 2016 launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), according to a new white paper by Global Intelligence Alliance (GIA) Singapore. The white paper, “Gaining Competitive Advantage through AEC,” includes a survey of 32 industry specialists and thought leaders based in South East Asia, who also said that companies need more business critical information about AEC, such as its business impact, socio-economic impact, risks and benefit

“Singapore is one of the most well prepared for the implementation of AEC. It is already a financial hub with all the required infrastructures in place. Among the main advantages that Singapore has is that it has one of the lowest corporate tax rates which will continue to encourage companies to set up their regional bases in Singapore,” said Michael Vrolijk, Regional Sales Manager, South East Asia, at ThyssenKrupp, who was interviewed for the “Gaining Competitive Advantage through AEC” white paper.

The market intelligence consultants’ research, which also included views from the automotive, energy, industrial and logistics sectors, showed that:

Indonesia and Singapore are ranked first and second respectively, as the markets with the most potential to grow and develop as a result of the AEC.

Businesses in Singapore expressed that the efficient nature of the country’s policies and regulations and transparent framework will help them adapt well to the AEC. However, nations such as Myanmar, Laos, Brunei and Indonesia need to step up their efforts in developing their infrastructure and legislative framework and tackling institutional challenges such as corruption.

84% of the respondents say that they are expecting a medium to very high impact of the AEC once it rolls into place. Quality of labor, investment potential and expansion capabilities are crucial elements when it comes to determining the impact of AEC on businesses. As Singapore has had a head start in terms of industrialization and education, companies believe the quality of the workforce in Singapore serves as a big push-and-pull factor to enhance productivity and efficiency.

However, more than 50% of the respondents do not think information regarding AEC has been adequate. Companies are of the viewpoint that there should be more information dispersed, especially in the run up to 2015 for businesses to make informed decisions.

50% of the respondents in GIA's AEC survey agree that their strategic goals are well aligned with the goals of AEC. Companies are gradually shaping up their strategic vision and intention for the next few years to make the best out of AEC. Approximately 45% of respondents agree that they have the proper internal infrastructure and capabilities in place to tackle the competition from AEC.

60% of the respondents believe that they are prepared for the impact of AEC. Companies expressed that regular workforce training, knowledge sharing and exposure to the market will provide them the leverage they need over the competition. This will also allow companies to introduce new and enhanced services and products that give them an edge over others.

“With over 80 percent of respondents expecting a medium to very high impact from AEC on their businesses, companies need to monitor and strategically analyse the expected consequences of the AEC. They should be shaping their market strategies, human resourcing plans and business development ambitions in 2015, in order to make the most of AEC’s goal of having increased competition and a single market across the region beginning from 2016,” said Ms. Preetika Gupta, Research Consultant at GIA Singapore.

“There will be winners and losers with the implementation of AEC; Singapore is well positioned, but other less mature markets like Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia will lack the infrastructure to reap the rewards efficiently. Businesses and Member States of ASEAN will need to plan ahead and navigate a road map to maximize the opportunities to ensure competitiveness within the changing landscape. We advise companies to track AEC developments closely and 'think regional,' not just country by country,” said Duncan Falzon, Managing Director at GIA Singapore.

The white paper, Gaining Competitive Advantage through AEC, can be downloaded from

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Jennifer Tow

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