With the tech industry booming in places like China, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, Southeast Asia has been enjoying a resounding level of success in 2013.
But how far are Asia’s top developers and manufacturers expected to go in the near future, and what are the most notable forecasts for 2014 and the upcoming years?
The Influence of China’s Growing Tech Market
A number of the largest ecommerce giants, smartphone manufacturers, search companies and internet services based in China have already began to expand their influence mainly to Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Also, a recent report from a news article about Southeast Asia market trends has revealed that some Chinese developers have even been outspending their US counterparts when it comes to advertising their services both in Asia and on a global scale.
2013 has already been witness to a remarkable surge in global interest created by a little known Chinese photo editor app that went viral last year, and experts say that continuing international success is in the forecast for China’s top developers in 2014 as well.
Social commerce has been enjoying a remarkable growth in Asian countries in the past two years, with an incredible number of consumers already using major social media services and apps to connect to mainstream sales channels.
After a number of new platforms have provided improved alternatives for payment options and mobile ecommerce in 2013, this year, we can likely expect to see the number of brands seeking sales opportunities through mobile apps and new concepts such as F-commerce which haven’t really caught on in the West as it was expected.
Asian Crowdfunding Projects
According to an informative news article about Southeast Asia tech trends, the growing interest in crowdfunding projects has raised more than $1.5 million, and the full potential of the region has not yet been reached.
Despite the fact that there have been few opportunities for small Asian companies to achieve success with crowdfunding on a global scale, local solutions continue to provide better availability and profits than were expected in past years, and a few large global platforms have also extended to Asia, promising more solutions in 2014 and the following years.
As you can see, there are many promising tech trends that are expected to emerge this year, and even if progress is slow in some areas, statistics show that new promotion platforms and improved scalability solutions are expected to improve the way companies in countries like China, Indonesia and Thailand will be communicating with their customers, leading to brand new opportunities in the upcoming years.
Travel and tourism have always had a powerful impact in Southeast Asia, as the region is well-known for its hospitality and cultural diversity.
As mentioned in a news article about Southeast Asia that talks about the slow but definite infrastructural and economic growth in a significant number of regions in Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore or Indonesia, new options have become widely available for tourists and travelers from North America and Europe interested in visiting these countries through group travel solutions.
Why Is Group Travel Important?
There are several reasons why group travel may be important both for these Southeast Asian countries and their trading partners:
- The most obvious benefit is that group travel directly impacts the necessity for supply chains, transport solutions, as well as accommodation and facility upgrades – leading to more jobs and a greater opportunity for both small businesses and large retail chains to improve their profits.
- Communication, planning and customer support solutions are also in greater demand, as group travel requires significant preparation and customization.
- Banks and financial services are also positively influenced by the need for investments and financial security brought about by the large number of businesses and individuals involved in restructuring the tourism industry in Southeast Asia.
Although group travel has been the preferred choice of most travelers even before these changes, a number of positive changes involving the Southeast Asian economy, trade and infrastructural upgrades have sparked an even greater interest for group travel opportunities, and are expected to lead to further economic and trade improvements in the next few years.
The Impact of Improved Connectivity and Trade
In the past, Southeast Asian countries have suffered from poor international connectivity and trade, while bureaucratic limitations have lead to stagnation when it came to building or upgrading roads, ports and transportation means.
As a result of the global economic crisis, however, many of these countries have discovered a newfound opportunity for improving their infrastructure and profiting from the improved possibilities for trade and travel options that are slowly building a bond between them and European countries such as Italy, Germany or France.
The better opportunities presented to countries like Malaysia, Indonesia or Vietnam in the past few years have slowly lead to a significant growth of the middle class that has lead to increasing potential for building new facilities and quality accommodation options required by the already highly developed tourist industry in the area.
According to a recent news article about Southeast Asia, further international and intra-regional trade are expected in the region by the end of 2015, as well as a steady quality growth of the services, transport options and facilities provided for tourists and visitors interested in Southeast Asian group travel.
After decades of stagnation under military rule, Myanmar, a Southeast Asian country with a population of over 60 million, has finally opened up its borders, expecting to be flooded with foreign companies that have already been eyeing the country as a potential untapped source for investment opportunities.
Despite the impressive progress that the country has already made, a news article about Southeast Asia reforms and legislations has pointed out that there are still many challenges left to overcome before Myanmar can truly enjoy the prosperity it seeks.
Untapped Resources for Profit
From important beverage and tourism related brands to names that carry a lot of weight in the electronics manufacturing industry, Myanmar has received numerous visits from large and important foreign companies willing to expand their reach well within the borders of the Southeast Asian country.
Investment experts consider the country to be one of the greatest untapped resources for profit in the region, and tourism, food and beverage and various manufacturing industries are the ones where foreign companies have been most eager to test the potential that Myanmar’s market has to offer.
Unfortunately, despite the drive and potential being high enough to support significantly profitable investments in the years to come, critics consider that certain issues – mostly of a legal nature – are expected to continue stalling the country’s economic, educational and infrastructural development for quite some time.
Progress Stalled by Ineffective Legislation
As Myanmar’s government has been pushing various laws to attempt the improvement of labor, investment and environmental standards, as well as to discourage issues such as corruption and stagnating reforms, these efforts have been widely criticized by foreign sources, many of which consider them to lack the transparency and decisiveness needed for bringing all the long awaited changes that both local and foreign businesses require.
In some places, the lack of proper infrastructure has also played a key role in the lagging progress the country has been experiencing. In other areas, foreign investors have faced the lack of properly distributed resources, poorly organized local businesses and even gender-based discrimination that the newfound legislation has had considerable issues in properly addressing.
Despite all this, many still consider Myanmar to be one of the most remarkably improving Asian countries of our time, and a news article about Southeast Asia and human rights issues has revealed that gender and age discrimination has diminished considerably in recent years.
Although there is still a long way to go before Myanmar can truly establish itself as an industry and trade leader, even critics have shown a few optimistic nods, admitting that the situation might not be as difficult as it would seem.
The world’s eyes have fallen on the Philippines at the end of 2013, as countless people’s lives were left devastated in the wake of one of the most destructive storm in South Asia’s recent recorded history: Typhoon Haiyan.
As relief efforts continue to alleviate the damage, subtle, yet significant changes have been recorded in the approach that countries such as the United States are employing in the hope of avoiding issues that have occurred during recent humanitarian aid efforts in other disaster struck parts of the world.
Haiyan’s Devastating Effects
According to one news article about Southeast Asia, more than 6000 people have been killed in Philippine alone.
Also, overall it has been estimated that more than 13 million people have been adversely affected in some way by the typhoon’s destructive force, 4 million of which have remained homeless after their homes were leveled or taken away by the strong currents.
Although some experts have high hopes for future efforts that local and international sources have been promoting in dealing with the losses, it is estimated that reconstruction costs could exceed 5 billion USD – a nearly inconceivable amount for the numerous people whose lives were destroyed by this natural calamity.
Learning from Past Mistakes
Despite the large scale catastrophe left in the wake of Haiyan, there have been reports according to which assistance and relief efforts brought by the US and other international allies have slowly but surely managed to reach even some of the more remote communities affected by the typhoon which local authorities were unable to provide assistance for.
These initiatives have sparked worldwide attention, as the policy of the US, as well as all other countries involved in the Philippine relief efforts, seemed to have changed compared to the events that drew criticism in recent past disasters such as those in Haiti in 2010.
US officials have explained that, although they continue to maintain a resolute drive in providing humanitarian aid in the area, they will mostly be focusing on a more dynamic approach to aiding and investing in their allies. Rather than a constant military presence in the Philippines, the US is expected to only have occasional rotational presences in the region for addressing key aspects of the relief effort.
The overall efforts brought by the US alone are estimated to have exceeded $40 million in supplies, hygiene kits and the restoration of clean water systems.
Also, another news article about Southeast Asia outlining the relief efforts started at the beginning of 2014 has revealed that other countries, such as Japan, have also followed in the footsteps of the United States in providing increased humanitarian efforts in the region.