Asked where they currently see the biggest opportunities for profitable investments in ASEAN, Inside Investor readers voted equally for Myanmar and Indonesia as being the countries where things are happening.
Actually it was not that much of a surprise that Inside Investor readers voted for Myanmar as one of the best countries for investments in ASEAN. The former hermit nation in 2011 opened up for business and was in the stage of issuing a new investment law after sanctions of the EU and the US fell in 2012.
Since then, investors have been beating a path to the country which virtually has to start from zero with most of its economic sectors. Coca Cola, PepsiCo, Chevron and General Electric were the first multinationals to set up a new branch in Myanmar.
Nonetheless, Myanmar ranked equal with Indonesia in the poll. The world’S fourth most populous country is currently experiencing a tremendous boost in its economic performance, with billions of investors’ money being pured into the archipelago. Forecasts for GDP growth this year stand at 6.8 per cent despite global economic volatility.
Vietnam, the country that joined the World Trade Organisation in 2007, has caught up and has developed itself to an investors’ darling as well. Though Vietnam is still struggling with inflation issues and the inertia of its huge state-owned conglomerates, economic growth in the nation is rife.
Thailand and the Philippines are in the middle of the field, mainly because Thailand’s growth has been curbed by the 2011 floods and a comparably saturated investment environment. The Philippines, on the other hand, suffers from infrastructure issues and a lot of red tape for investors.
Malaysia, Singapore and Cambodia are, at the moment, seemingly not the first choice for our poll respondents, being outpaced by the growth prospects of the top three. And Brunei obviously needs to market itself better for investors, as many do not see a point to go there despite the country’s wealth and ongoing economic diversification measures. At the end of the list comes Laos, a country that still has to define its economic position in the world.