• International
    • International Trade

Global Connections: Connecting Southeast Asia and the UK

  • 4 mins
  • Article

In the constantly evolving world of international business, the UK has been making significant progress towards strengthening its ties with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

HSBC’s recent Global Connections report is based on a survey of international businesses and provides a comprehensive and insightful overview of the current and likely future shape of the business relationship between ASEAN and the UK. It includes key insights from over 350 businesses across the UK and takes a deep dive into the opportunities, challenges, and trends that are currently shaping this dynamic relationship.

The report reveals that approximately 49% of UK businesses have established supply chains within the ASEAN region, with Singapore and Thailand being the main countries of operation. This statistic alone underscores the importance of the ASEAN region in the global strategy of UK businesses. However, the report covers more than just the current state of affairs; the future looks promising too. More than two out of every five UK firms (43%) expect their organic growth in the ASEAN region to increase by 30% or more within the next year. This level of expectation surpasses that of any other European market.

What makes the ASEAN region so attractive to UK businesses?

There are several factors at play. The skilled workforce, supportive governments, and the opportunity to develop new products are some of the most compelling reasons. However, ongoing geopolitical issues and financial stability are concerns for UK firms operating in the region. These challenges, while significant, are not insurmountable. With the right strategies and resources, they can be effectively managed.

Looking at technology, the report shows how UK companies see 5G technology and artificial intelligence as transformative for their business in ASEAN. While these technologies offer immense potential, they also present their own set of challenges. High training costs and lack of trained personnel have been identified as barriers to digital transformation efforts in ASEAN.

As the connections between the UK and ASEAN continue to strengthen, it is an exciting time for businesses looking to expand. Get in touch with HSBC UK to discover how we can assist you in navigating the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for businesses looking to grow within the dynamic ASEAN region.

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