M2insights assists clients in understanding market information and creates actionable insights to help businesses expand in Southeast Asia. Our market research and consulting services have helped clients understand their target consumers and industries in key emerging markets including Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Although ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asia Nations) has been promoting business, political, and social cooperation between its 10 member nations, the progress is still far from the integration we have seen in the European Union. The region is very diverse with different languages, cultures, religious-affiliation, and socio-economic phase. These often make it challenging for investors and businesses trying to understand the market.
ASEAN is expected to become the world’s fourth largest economy by 2030, and M2insights is here to help our clients navigate the region from the frontier market of Myanmar to the first of world metropolis of Singapore.
There are over 650 million people who call the region home, and over 380 million people are under the age of 35. The region has the third largest labor force behind China and India, increasingly educated workers, and a growing middle-class population. Its middle-class population is expected to grow from 135 million to over 330 million by 2030. This economic development is expected to contribute to the growth of disposable income across the region.
High GDP Growth
Average GDP growth in Southeast Asia in the last decade is around 5.5%. Vietnam and Cambodia have seen growth of over 7% in 2018. Myanmar is expected to grow by 6.6% annually till 2030 resulting from increasing foreign direct investment flowing into the country.
Southeast Asia is blessed with a strategic location on major sea trade routes where as much as US$5.3 trillion of global trade passes through annually. The European Union is the largest investor in Southeast Asia, contributing to almost a third of total foreign direct investments in the region. Southeast Asia is the third-largest Asian trading partner of the U.S., and the region is also the largest Asian destination for U.S. investment. The Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative is also expected to bring in more investments to the Southeast Asia.
Adoption of Technology
High mobile phone and internet adoption in the region made Southeast Asia conducive for the growth of tech startups. Internet penetration in Myanmar has grown from 0.25% in 2010 to 41% in 2020. Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines have seen the rise of unicorn startups in the fintech, e-commerce, ride-hailing, and online travel sectors. Technology has been embraced by Southeast Asians and touted as the answer to boost financial inclusion and to solve inefficiencies in traditional businesses.
There are 8 official local languages in Southeast Asia. Large Chinese diaspora in the region resulted in a sizeable portion of the population being able to speak Mandarin or Chinese dialects. English language is commonly used in the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei. However, there is no de facto lingua franca in Southeast Asia, and local language requirements have caused challenges for businesses trying to localize their products and services.
Ease of Doing Business
The ease of doing business index by the World Bank only shows Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand in the top 50. The rest of the countries are still behind in the ranking because of complicated bureaucracies and less developed financial services.
The Philippines and Indonesia were ranked 62nd and 63rd respectively, out of 75 countries, in the 2017 open markets index released by the International Chamber of Commerce. Indonesia released a decree in 2008 requiring foreign pharmaceutical companies to manufacture drugs locally or form a partnership with a local manufacturer to register their own medicines. Since 2016, Indonesia has required mobile phones and tablets sold in the country to contain locally made components. Indonesia also only allows foreign investments in selected industries to protect the local businesses.
History of political development in the Southeast Asian nations are filled with twist and turn. There were coup d’états in Thailand in 2006 and 2014. Myanmar has just re-emerged from 50 years of isolation under the junta regime in 2011. Malaysia has had three Prime Ministers over the last 5 years. Investors were cautious ahead of the general elections in Thailand and Indonesia back in 2019.
M2insights is here to help!
M2insights offers market research and consulting services to investors and businesses entering and expanding in Southeast Asia.
Our team members have the experience working with startups and large corporations to localize products and services for the Southeast Asian market. We advise our clients on how to overcome the challenges in the region. M2insights provides consultation services to help businesses understand the country and the industry, and we create actionable strategies for our clients to capture the opportunities.
We also work with investment companies looking for an industry or country specific analysis, analysis on a target company for investment purposes, and due diligence research. M2insights has completed research projects relating to e-commerce, e-wallet, and online P2P lending industries, and our team has excellent understanding of the overall technology startups scene in the region.
Our team consist of professionals who have worked in FMCG, agriculture, investment banking, and management consulting sectors, and we have a deep understanding of the local business practice in Southeast Asia.
Market research and consulting services that we offer:
Country and Industry Specific Analysis
Market Entry Research
Product or Service Localization
Alternative Data Analysis
Business Strategy Consultation
We have assisted clients in understanding their businesses and consumers in:
In our previous projects, M2insights has conducted quantitative market research studies with CAPI (Computer-assisted personal interviewing), CATI (Computer-assisted telephones interviewing), and CAWI (Computer Aided Web Interviewing). Depending on the project scope, we may also suggest using online panel surveys. M2insights also conducts in-depth interview of industry experts for a deep dive analysis of a company or an industry.
Doing business in Indonesia?
M2insights has extensive business experience and on-the-ground market research capabilities in the largest economy in Southeast Asia.
Don’t forget to check out Our Observations!
It is a collection of our thinking and insights on business and economic developments that are happening in Southeast Asia.