US companies bullish on Southeast Asia despite some concerns
US companies are mainly concerned about rising office rents and corruption in Southeast Asia but remain bullish about the region in general, according to a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham).
AmCham’s ASEAN Regional Business Outlook Survey listed office rental and rising housing costs as US businesses’ chief worries, but chairman Steven Okun said these conditions were normal in any region with high growth, increased investment and increased hiring. It was something US companies would have to figure out for themselves if they want to move into Southeast Asia, he said.
80% of survey respondents intend to do exactly that. 70% said they expect the region to become more important to global business over the next couple of years, up from 65% in the previous survey. Two thirds said they expect to see a profit increase from this year (down from 70% last year). 82%, however, said they expect bigger profits in 2011. 55% were worried about the impact of corruption in the region.
Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines were seen as the countries with greatest potential for growth. AmCham’s survey of 328 US companies operating in Southeast Asia should be good news for ASEAN’s Economic Ministers in Vietnam this week, as they downplayed the significance of US Government non-attendance at their meeting but maintained foreign interest in the region is still strong.
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