ASEAN offers big returns but few opportunities

Right in the geographic heart of the Asia-Pacific region is a group of 10 countries often referred to as South East Asia – namely Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and the Philippines. They form an economic grouping called ASEAN, which is rather like the EU except it focuses entirely on free trade rather than political union.

I used to think of this area as all about palm trees, beaches, rubber plantations, temples, noisy markets and mopeds. Such features do still exist, but now that I have spent time in these markets I…

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