Since its establishment in 1967, ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) has sought to bring countries in the region closer together both politically and economically.
At present, there are ten nations involved in the body – Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Brunei and Singapore – and they all share the same goal; regional integration. If ASEAN was a single entity, it would be the eighth largest economy in the world.
Indeed, in order to achieve their vision by 2016, they have created an economic blueprint.
As a result of this cohesive strategy, many businesses are looking favorably upon the ASEAN community, as they recognize there are genuine growth opportunities if products and services are launched in the right manner.
What are ASEAN's aims?
Put simply, the group wants to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development through joint endeavors. Indeed, it thinks equality and partnership are central to the future success of the organization. Enshrined within the agreement is a mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of all member nations, while effective cooperation is continually advanced as the best way forward. By encouraging a single market and production base, it hopes to establish a highly competitive economic region that will be the envy of global superpowers.
Economic blueprint and plans for the formation AEC
The ASEAN Economic Blueprint, which was agreed in 2007, serves as the master plan for economic development. It seeks to create the conditions for the establishment of an economic community by 2016. This will be knows as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). By the end of the process, ASEAN hopes to have a region that can offer free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labor and a freer flow of capital. As well as region-wide recognition of professional qualifications, there will also be closer consultation on macroeconomic and financial policies, and enhanced infrastructure and communications connectivity. All of these attributes will make the location more attractive to businesses keen to expand their international portfolios.
The case for localization
While it is clear the formation of AEC will generate many attractive investment opportunities, businesses need to make sure they are prepared for launching in the area. Because of the diverse range of cultures and languages that exist in the ten-member group, and the relatively low level of English proficiency, marketing efforts need to be varied country-to-country, but also retain a consistency of message. This is where localization services come in. By working with an established Asian localization expert like EQHO, companies can benefit from the use of in-country subject specialist translators and state-of-the-art localization technology, to ensure that their corporate materials are not only on message, but cost-effective.