China and Myanmar stand to be the most promising destinations for foreign direct investment between now and 2015, according to the "2013 ASEAN-BAC Survey on ASEAN Competitiveness".
The survey was conducted by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council and was released last week, as the bloc pushes on with its efforts to realise the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the end of 2015.
About 17 per cent of businesses that had internationalised - engaged in export or outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) activities - or planned to do so within the three-year 2013-15 period indicated that China was the most attractive in the world for such activities. This was followed by 12 per cent voting for Myanmar.
However, ASEAN as a unit is considered the most attractive, winning votes from 57 per cent of the businesses (Malaysia, 11 per cent; Singapore, 8 per cent; Indonesia, 7 per cent; Brunei, 0.3 per cent; Laos, 4 per cent; Vietnam, 6 per cent; Thailand, 3 per cent; the Philippines, 1 per cent; and Cambodia, 3 per cent.)
ASEAN's attractiveness was also rated higher than China's both as a market for goods and services and as a production location. Close to half of the businesses planned their investments in ASEAN coun-tries over the three years by con-sidering the investment attractiveness of the region as a whole rather than of individual countries in the bloc. This was up from two-fifths in the 2011-12 survey.
Some 94 per cent of businesses planned to invest or raise investment in an ASEAN country over these three years. The main reason for investing in ASEAN countries, as identified by the largest share of businesses, was to "access a new or growing market", which attests to business optimism in growth prospects of this region.
This was followed by "to supply main or leading customers" and "low-cost production facilities".