Southeast Asia is home to several promising industries across its regional economy that will report quicker than the global average growth in 2023. Despite a concerning macroeconomic backdrop, various factors will continue to pull in investment and businesses to the region.

Southeast Asia, or the ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region as more commonly referred to in Asia, is among the fastest-growing regions in the world. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), economic growth in Southeast Asia reached 5.5 percent in 2022.

However, a host of evolving and generally negative economic pressures is pushing down the growth forecast for the region by ADB – reflecting patterns elsewhere in the world – to 4.7 percent.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast for global growth was 3.2 percent for 2022 and 2.7 percent for 2023, meaning ASEAN is still forecast to grow substantially faster than the global average.

Despite the prevailing gloomy economic climate, Southeast Asia remains very attractive to foreign direct investment (FDI), and several industries look set to prosper in 2023. Trends of capital inflow into key sectors, such as tech, manufacturing, and infrastructure development, will likely continue while China’s ‘reopening’ will provide a much-needed boost for tourism and travel from the second quarter (Q2 2023).

ASEAN growth trends

The region is on course to become the world’s largest single market by 2030. This is reflected in the investment flows that have continued at a high level in recent years. ASEAN states are becoming increasingly open to international trade having incrementally removed barriers to inter- and intra-regional trade and investment.

The growth of Southeast Asia’s indigenous economies also offers a lucrative environment for foreign businesses, as also the sheer size of the regional population and workforce. ASEAN countries have a total population of 662 million people and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$3.2 trillion.

Map of Asean Countries
ASEAN countries have a total population of 662 million people and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$3.2 trillion.

Growth patterns will be boosted as economies and workforce arrangements become more formalized and more young people enter the labor market. The median age in Southeast Asia is 30.2 years, substantially less than in China (38.4) and Europe (44.1).

Finally, the ASEAN region has benefitted, and will likely continue to benefit, from a privileged geopolitical position. An intensifying rivalry between superpowers, the US and China, have prompted both nations to deepen their ties with the region.

China has considerable links with ASEAN economies and seeks to enhance them through increased infrastructure spending and by improving access to trade, such as through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

What are the promising industries for Southeast Asia in 2023?


There are clear challenges for the region’s manufacturing sector in 2023. We’re seeing downward pressure on demand across the world, predominantly in advanced economies, which will impact manufacturing activity in the ASEAN states.

Other challenges include rising interest rates, which increase the cost of borrowing and therefore growth, and inflation, which puts pressure on margins at a time when demand is already under pressure.

Manufacturing is an important part of the regional economy. In some countries, this dependence on manufacturing is more pronounced – in Vietnam, it is the backbone of the economy, and in Thailand – the sector contributed 27 percent of GDP in 2021.

However, there are several reasons to believe that capital inflows into manufacturing in the region will continue in 2023. For one, ASEAN-made goods are generally considered more cost-effective than those made in China, primarily due to factors such as labor costs, leading to the growing shift to ASEAN.

In addition to lower labor costs, the US-China trade war has forced many China-based manufacturers to move part of, and in some cases, all of their supply chains to Southeast Asia.

Chasing this ‘China Plus One’ or ‘China Plus Many’ strategies, ASEAN governments have issued preferential incentives and enabling policies to capitalize on this shift in regional supply chains. This includes implementing tax cuts, increasing the ease of doing business, boosting infrastructure spending, and offering incentives in special economic zones and free trade areas.

Vietnam has been one of the largest beneficiaries of the China Plus One strategy in recent years, with the manufacturing sector attracting some 58 percent of total FDI in the country in 2020 alone.


Since the start of the pandemic, the tourism sector has faced challenges across ASEAN states. It plays an important role in several of the region’s economies and is also one of the key areas of ASEAN cooperation since the establishment of the association.

Thailand was the most-visited ASEAN state, welcoming nearly 40 million visitors in 2019. It was the first country in the Asia Pacific to initiate the reopening to international tourism back in July 2021 with its Phuket Sandbox program. However, while 2022 data is yet to be finalized, visitor numbers remain significantly down over the pre-pandemic era. It is understood that around 10 million people visited Thailand in 2022.

Vietnam’s tourism sector has been struggling too. The state will likely have welcomed 3.5 million tourists in 2022, a mere 18 percent of the 19 million international arrivals in 2019.

However, there are several reasons to expect 2023 to be a more positive year for the sector. First among these is China’s ‘reopening’ to travel. The Chinese immigration authority recently announced that it would resume issuing visas for mainland residents to travel overseas from January 8. A lack of Chinese tourists had been seen as the predominant challenge for the sector in most ASEAN states.

Another reason is returning demand for tourism elsewhere in the world. US households are continuing to unleash two- or three years’ worth of pent-up demand as Covid-19 fears wane according to data shared by CNBC. The Asia Pacific is among the most popular destinations.

Demand for travel is continuing in Europe, despite inflationary challenges, while airlines are increasing routes and injecting more supply.

Further, ASEAN states have also developed programs to attract foreign arrivals, such as the digital nomad visa program in Malaysia, and Indonesia’s second home visa scheme. Indonesia has set an ambitious target of attracting 7.4 million foreign tourists for 2023, almost double that recorded in 2022.

Digital economy

The digital economy across the ‘ASEAN-6’ (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) is expected to reach a gross merchandise value (GMV) of US$200 billion by the end of 2022, according to a report from Google, Temasek and Bain & Company. This is expected to reach a GMV of US$330 billion by 2025.

Over the past three years, the region saw the emergence of 100 million new internet users. In many countries around the world, internet adoption was enhanced by the pandemic as the virus restrictions placed on socializing and public activity impacted offline shopping and entertainment, etc.

Tech start-ups are well-represented in Southeast Asia’s booming start-up ecosystem. According to a recent UNCTAD report, the number of start-ups in ASEAN that have raised more than US$1 million in funding almost tripled to 1,920 between 2015 and 2021. The growth rate is 85 percent greater than in Europe and 65 percent faster than in the US.

The digital transformation agenda continues to be a major driver of investment and growth in the region. Importantly, the expanding digital economy offers huge opportunity scope in the area of digital financial services.

The majority of Southeast Asia’s population is still unbanked or underbanked and the majority of workers are in the informal sector, thus lacking bank accounts and making it difficult for banks to build a credit history.

Further, MSMEs in the region also lack formal credit histories hindering their access to capital. This is crucial as MSMEs make up the backbone of most ASEAN countries. Fintech companies can plug this gap by issuing microloans that have terms and maturity which are small and short – borrowers can receive as little as US$100, which can be disbursed within 24 hours.

ASEAN Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia and maintains offices throughout ASEAN, including in SingaporeHanoiHo Chi Minh City, and Da Nang in Vietnam

About the author

ASEAN Briefing features business news, regulatory updates and extensive data on ASEAN free trade, double tax agreements and foreign direct investment laws in the region. Covering all ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam)


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BANGKOK (NNT) – China’s will close its e-commerce services in Indonesia and Thailand, retreating from Southeast Asia after a bruising year for China’s retail and technology sectors.

Local websites showed will end its services in Thailand from March 3 and in Indonesia from the end of the same month. Both units will stop taking orders on February 15.

A spokesperson for said in a statement on Monday that the company will continue to serve global markets, including Southeast Asia, through its supply chain infrastructure.

The company, which did not give a reason for the closures, started its e-commerce operation in Indonesia under the name JD.ID in 2015 as a joint venture with Provident Capital, while the Thai platform was launched two years later with the kingdom’s largest retailer Central Group.

However, failed to gain traction against larger players such as Alibaba Group’s Lazada, Sea Ltd’s Shopee and GoTo Group’s Tokopedia.

The company, which also runs the omni-channel retail brand Ochama in Europe, said in November that “new businesses” – including units abroad as well as other ventures such as JD property – accounted for just 2% of total revenue in the third quarter.

In China, the company, like many of its tech peers such as Alibaba, has been battling a slowing economy and the impact of strict curbs, which have prompted cost cutting and worker layoffs.

While has performed better than its peers, posting an 11.4% rise in third-quarter revenue, its chief executive has described the second quarter as the most difficult one since listing in 2014.

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Reporter : Paul Rujopakarn

National News Bureau :


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Thailand has launched its first digital free trade hub in partnership with Alibaba, as the country looks to upgrade its logistics and e-commerce sectors.

The hub is a free trade area in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) designed to facilitate cross-border e-commerce between Thailand and China. The Thai government developed the hub in partnership with the Chinese technology giant as part of the latter’s Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP), an initiative to promote international e-commerce.

If successful, the digital free trade hub will allow consumers in Thailand and China to buy products from each other’s markets more easily and quickly. The launch of the digital free trade hub is part of Thailand’s efforts to position itself as one of Southeast Asia’s key logistics centers for trade and e-commerce.

What is the digital free trade hub?

The digital free trade hub, sometimes referred to as the Smart Digital Hub, is a zone of 40,000 square meters that benefits from special rules for Thailand-China cross-border trade.

The hub is populated by bonded warehouses storing Chinese products to be sold in Thailand, as well as warehouse housing Thai products to be shipped to Chinese consumers who buy them through Alibaba’s platforms.

The hub offers both expedited customs procedures and physical proximity to expedite trade. In a bonded warehouse, a dutiable Chinese product will be stored in Thailand. Planners designed these warehouses to be fully automated.

E-commerce orders from China to be reduced from 10 days to three days

Taken together, planners say that the amount of time needed for Thai consumers to receive cross-border e-commerce orders from China will be reduced from 10 days to three days. If successful, expedited shipping will make Chinese products more appealing and more accessible to Thai consumers.

In a statement, Song Juntao, secretary general of eWTP, said that the hub marks the successful replication of China’s cross-border e-commerce model. Over the last decade, this model has grown in popularity in China as it allows consumers to rapidly receive international purchases through bonded warehouses located on Chinese soil.

From plan to reality

The digital free trade hub came into operation on December 8, 2022. It gained extra international attention following its launch when Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, visited the country in January 2023, making a rare public appearance.

The project initially began in 2018 when Ma signed four Memoranda of Understanding with the Thai government on trade, investment, and support for e-commerce and tourism. Alibaba and the Thai government previously signed a letter of intent in 2016 to cooperate on e-commerce.

At the time, Alibaba committed to investing 10 billion baht (US$302.8 million) to develop the hub. It was originally supposed to be fully operational by 2019, but its launch was delayed, including by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alibaba launched the first international hub under the EWTP initiative in Malaysia in 2017 with a focus on developing a logistics hub by the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Within China, Alibaba has also established eWTP partnerships in Hangzhou, Yiwu, Hainan, and Hong Kong.

Read the rest of this story here :

Thailand Opens First Digital Free Trade Hub in Partnership with Alibaba (

ASEAN Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia and maintains offices throughout ASEAN, including in SingaporeHanoiHo Chi Minh City, and Da Nang in Vietnam.

About the author

ASEAN Briefing features business news, regulatory updates and extensive data on ASEAN free trade, double tax agreements and foreign direct investment laws in the region. Covering all ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam)


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BANGKOK (NNT) – Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit and EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis announced that the two sides have agreed to relaunch negotiations for a free-trade agreement (FTA) between Thailand and the European Union, with both sides aiming to complete the talks within the first quarter of this year.

Jurin described the meeting as “historic” as it was the first time that political representatives of both sides agreed to relaunch free-trade talks. He will now seek the Cabinet’s endorsement to resume trade talks, while Dombrovskis will seek approval from the EU’s 27 member states.

This marks a significant step forward for Thailand, which has been seeking an FTA agreement with the European Union for almost 10 years. Negotiations for the FTA were first launched in March 2013 but were put on hold the following year.

If the resumed talks lead to an agreement, Thailand will become the third ASEAN country to have an FTA with the EU, after Vietnam and Singapore.

EU is Thailand’s fourth-largest trading partner

The EU is Thailand’s fourth-largest trading partner, after China, the United States, and Japan. Last year, bilateral trade between Thailand and the EU totaled 1.3 trillion baht (US$41 billion), accounting for 7% of Thailand’s total trade.

Thailand’s exports to the EU last year totaled 843.3 billion baht, with key export products including computers, computer equipment, and components, gems and jewelry, air-conditioners and components, rubber products, chicken, and electronic circuit boards.

Also in 2022, Thai imports from the EU totaled 594.2 billion baht, with major import products including machinery and components, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, electrical machinery, and tools.

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Reporter : Krajangwit  Johjit

Rewriter : Paphamon Arayasukawat

National News Bureau :


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BANGKOK (NNT) – In 2022, Thailand saw a significant increase in foreign visitors, with a total of 11.15 million people traveling to the kingdom. This was a significant jump from the previous year, when just 428,000 visitors were recorded due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.

According to data from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the figure exceeded the government’s expectations and marks a strong recovery for Thailand’s vital tourism industry, which had been heavily impacted by strict entry and quarantine policies during the pandemic.

2.24 million foreign tourists in December

There were 2.24 million foreign tourists in December alone, compared to 230,497 in the same month the year before.

Before the pandemic, Thailand saw a record high of nearly 40 million foreign tourists in 2019. The top three source markets for tourists last year were Malaysia, India, and Singapore.

25 million international visitors in 2023

Thailand is aiming to attract 25 million international visitors this year, with a focus on attracting at least five million visitors from China. To support this goal, the government has approved a budget of 3.95 billion baht (120.72 million US dollars) to boost domestic travel and international tourism in secondary cities.

China’s reopening boost

The reopening of China is expected to further boost Thailand’s vital tourism sector, which before the pandemic accounted for about 12% of the gross domestic product in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

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  • Reporter : Paphamon Arayasukawat
  • Rewriter : Paphamon Arayasukawat
  • National News Bureau :


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Keeping up with the ever-changing regulations of the healthcare industry can be overwhelming and difficult. To ensure that your healthcare business is compliant with all government regulations, you may want to consider using user compliance software. In this blog post, we will explore what user compliance software for healthcare is and how it can help your healthcare business stay ahead of the curve.

What is User Compliance Software?

User compliance software is a type of solution designed to help organizations comply with various regulatory standards. It provides tools to help businesses identify and monitor potential risks associated with non-compliance, such as data breaches or unauthorized access to confidential information.

The goal of user compliance software is to provide an automated way to ensure that organizations are following all applicable laws and regulations in their operations.

How Does User Compliance Software Help Healthcare Businesses?

User compliance software helps healthcare businesses by providing a comprehensive platform for managing their regulatory requirements.

  • The software is capable of identifying potential risks associated with non-compliance and can also provide proactive alerts when changes in regulations occur so that businesses are better prepared for any new challenges they may face.
  • Additionally, user compliance software helps streamline internal processes by automating certain tasks, such as employee onboarding and monitoring employee access rights. This allows healthcare businesses to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time focusing on patient care.
  • Finally, user compliance software makes it easier for healthcare organizations to maintain records related to regulatory requirements, which can help reduce fines or penalties associated with non-compliance.

So, if you’re looking for a way to ensure your healthcare business is compliant with all applicable regulations, consider investing in user compliance software. It can help make sure that your organization is staying up-to-date with the ever-changing regulations of the healthcare industry and will provide peace of mind knowing that you are following best practices.


Overall, user compliance software can be a valuable asset for any healthcare business looking to remain compliant with government regulations while streamlining internal processes.

By providing an automated way to manage risk assessments and monitor employee access rights, user compliance software makes it easier for healthcare organizations to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to regulation changes while freeing up time spent on administrative tasks.

If you’re looking for a way to make sure your healthcare business remains compliant with all relevant regulations, then consider investing in user compliance software today!

Before you think of calculating the EPF interest rate, how about checking the basics of the same? There are two parts of the commitment, contingent upon the association making the EPF commitment – worker and manager commitment. The worker makes a commitment to their EPF account equivalent to 12% of their base pay in addition to a dearness stipend (DA).

In situations where there are fewer than 20 representatives as well as on the off chance that the organization is in a specific industry, like jute, beedi, block, and so forth, the worker is expected to make a lower commitment of 10%. The business contributes an equivalent add-up to the plan (12% of the representative’s essential compensation in addition to DA). The leftover sum, 3.67%, is placed into the representative’s EPF account which you can easily check after you go for an EPF Passbook Download.

Of this business commitment, 8.33% goes to the Representative Benefits Plan (EPS), up to a month-to-month roof of 1,250 on the off chance that the worker’s compensation is ₹15,000 or above. Furthermore, the business makes a 0.50% commitment to the representative’s Workers’ Store Connected Protection (EDLI) account.

It is essential to take note of that the representative has the choice to deliberately offer more than the base legal measure of 12%, known as a commitment to the Willful Fortunate Asset (VPF), which is followed freely while going with the EPF Passbook Download.

The VPF comparatively offers tax-exempt interest, however assuming that the worker chooses to take part, the business isn’t constrained to make any commitments. A representative might be qualified to procure tax cuts for commitments made to PF accounts as per Segment 80C of the Indian Annual Expense Demonstration of 1961. This advantage is accessible for PF account commitments up to ₹1 lakh that’s how you have the EPF interest rate.

The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) is a retirement savings scheme for employees in India. The interest rate on EPF contributions is set by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), which is an organization under the Ministry of Labor and Employment in India.

  • To calculate the interest on your EPF interest rate or contributions, you can use the following formula:
  • Interest = (Principal x Rate of Interest x Number of Days) / 365
  • Where:
  • The principal is the number of your EPF contributions

The rate of Interest is the interest rate set by the EPFO for the year

The number of Days is the number of days for which the interest is being calculated

For example, if your EPF contributions are INR 50,000 and the interest rate set by the EPFO for the year is 8.5%, and you want to calculate the interest for 180 days, the interest would be:

Interest = (50000 x 8.5 x 180) / 365 = INR 7,123.29

You can check the current interest rate on the EPFO website or by contacting the EPFO directly. The interest rate is typically revised every year and is announced by the EPFO.

It’s important to note that the EPF interest rate is subject to change and may vary from year to year. Therefore, it’s a good idea to stay informed about the current interest rate and plan your retirement savings accordingly.