What most people know about Southeast Asia is limited to the fact that its scenery looks nice in photos and that it's a nice place to go on vacation. When they think of economic and industrial powerhouses in the region, they think of China, Japan, India, and Australia. But ASEAN countries can hold their own in industrial development, and many are saying it's the growth market of the future. To learn more about the industries that represent growth and wealth to Southeast Asians, read on.
Foreign investment drives much of the growth in both high and low tech Southeast Asian industrial development with the goal of exporting the products to North America and Europe. Aerospace is one of these industries. With more space for factories and workers who are willing to work for less, it's cheaper for a manufacturer to build factories in Southeast Asia. Malaysia, in particular is becoming a player in the assembly sector and Singapore is drawing an increasing number of repair and transport businesses.
Though export is still a large part of the economy, investors are noticing that the highest profit margins are being posted in industries that sell within Southeast Asia. Petrochemicals is one example. As the industrial infrastructure grows and more people are employed and able to afford cars, the demand for oil and gas goes up. Thailand is the new auto manufacturing hub if you're looking for a vehicle to get you to work, and Malaysia and Indonesia are producing palm oil that is used to make biodiesel. In fact, the auto industry in this region is doing better than the manufacturers in America.
Everything from running shoes (like these from Adidas) to the various rubber materials used in machinery inside an HVAC warehouse for example and much of the world's natural rubber is produced in Southeast Asia. Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka all have huge rubber industries, with factories churning out millions of tires, o-rings, handles, and seals used in everything from cars to fighter jets. The advantage of producing rubber products in Southeast Asia is that the factories are close to sources of rubber trees, which reduces transport costs.
A the region industrializes and computers become essential in every task from processing services to running your household, the market for electronics in Southeast Asia expands. Add to that the continual demand for electronics in developed countries and you've got a growth industry. Governments are promoting and encouraging development in this industry, and though competition is strong from China and Japan, domestic markets help the electronics industries in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand thrive. Main products include TVs, computer hard drives, cell phones, and wireless devices.