ASEAN Business Outlook Survey

Each year AmCham Singapore, in collaboration with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other AmChams in the region, surveys business executives from U.S. companies across ASEAN about their perspectives on business environment and opportunities in Southeast Asia. The findings are presented in our annual publication, the ASEAN Business Outlook Survey (ABOS).


As foreign direct investment from the U.S. in ASEAN represents the largest volume of any nation and U.S. – ASEAN trade volume continues to grow rapidly, respondents of the survey, who are charged with making investment decisions on behalf their companies, have significant influence on the development of the region. Showcasing perspective of senior business leaders, the ABOS is a reliable source for insights on business opportunities and sentiments in ASEAN. These findings are presented to government representatives in closed-door discussions and at the annual ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting.


ABOS Screen Shot



General Outlook


U.S. companies maintain a steady sense of optimism about growth prospects and commercial opportunities in ASEAN. More than half of respondents (53%) report that ASEAN markets have become more important in terms of their companies’ worldwide revenue over the past two years, and 78% of executives project profit increases in 2017. Close to half of the surveyed companies (49%) expect to increase their ASEAN workforce by the end of 2016. The overwhelming majority of respondents (87%) expect that their companies’ level of trade and investment in ASEAN will increase over the next 5 years.







Current Local Business Environment


While an overall confident business outlook holds much promise for growth across ASEAN, a number of critical challenges remain for American companies. Corruption persists as the primary concern across the region with the exception of Brunei and Singapore. Government transparency, regulatory efficiency, and policy engagement are emphasized as priority areas in which ASEAN governments and American business leaders could work together more productively.


Talent Sourcing and Workforce Development


Availability of adequate technical and managerial talent is a significant consideration for U.S. businesses seeking to invest in the region. This year’s survey dedicates a new section to talent sourcing and workforce development in ASEAN, and identified the top technical and non-technical skills most valued by U.S. businesses in ASEAN. American companies place a striking emphasis on hiring locally and nurturing the skills and leadership potential of local employees in the countries in which they operate. While the demand for various skills varies across countries, the four skills most valued by U.S. business leaders across ASEAN are creativity and innovativeness (45%), analytical and problem-solving (44%), technical (44%), and communication and cross-collaboration (41%).


The ASEAN Business Outlook Survey  has a global readership and is relied on by both business leaders and policymakers across the region. The report gives policymakers a unique window into the sentiments of business leaders, and offers them a chance to address identified issues in order to attract greater business investment in their respective countries. Additionally, the report provides business leaders insights into the opinions and projections of their counterparts on the ground throughout the region.


Our 2017 edition marks the fifteenth year of the survey and the fourth year in which we have collected data from all ten ASEAN countries. AmCham Singapore and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce presented the survey results at the 48th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in Laos on August 4th.


Download the full press release. (PDF)
Download the 2017 ASEAN Business Outlook Survey. (PDF)


To view the full report, click on the image below.

To view the 2016 ASEAN Business Outlook Survey, click here.
To view the 2015 ASEAN Business Outlook Survey, click here.
To view the 2014 ASEAN Business Outlook Survey, click here.
To view the 2012/2013 ASEAN Business Outlook Survey, click here.



To find out more about how the ASEAN Business Outlook Survey 2017 is being cited, click the links below:


January 2017

Corruption: It’s contagious! Hendi Yogi Prabowo, The Jakarta Post


October 2016

Does corruption deter investors in Indonesia and should it? John Bray, Control Risks


September 24, 2016

PH is 3rd top Asean destination for growing US companies Raadee S. Sausa, The Manilla Times


September 22, 2016

US firms generally upbeat on Cambodia’s investment potential  Kali Kotoski, The Phnom Penh Post


September 19, 2016

Who cares about facilitation payments? John Bray, Control Risks


September 7, 2016

Asean business outlook, US foreign investments and the Philippines Gerardo P. Sicat, The Philippine Star. Reposted by the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) September 19, 2016.


September 6, 2016

Surveys cite high business optimism Business World Online


September 6, 2016

US firms most upbeat, survey says Philippines New Agency, Manila Standard


September 2016

Threats and pressure still drive facilitation payments John Bray, Control Risks. Reposted by The FCPA Blog September 7, 2016.


August 29, 2016

Asean’s Economic Outlook Chheang Vannarith, Khmer Times


August 24, 2016

American firms in Asean Put Vietnam as Preferred Expansion Location Michael Tatarski, AEC News Today


August 16, 2016

Poll: US expats less upbeat about Thai investment Bangkok Post


August 15, 2016

Vietnam overtakes Indonesia as ASEAN’s top investment magnet: survey Bui Hong Nhung, VnExpress International


August 13, 2016

Asean should not drop the ball Ravi Velloor, Straits Times. Reposted by The China Post August 13, 2016.


August 12, 2016

Vietnam to be US firms’ target market in 2017: Amcham survey Vietnam News Agency


August 10, 2016

ASEAN’s Optimistic Outlook Tara Yean, Business Today


August 6, 2016

US Companies Upbeat on Burma Prospects Kyaw Hsu Mon, The Irrawaddy


August 5, 2016

US firms upbeat about S-E Asia outlook: Survey Geraldine Goh, Straits Times


August 5, 2016

US business remains optimistic of commercial growth in ASEAN Asia Today International


August 4, 2016

Asean now more important or US firms’ global bottom line; 8 in 10 see higher profits in 2017: poll Soon Weilun, Business Times


August 4, 2016

ASEAN expects China, Brexit to slow economic growth in 2016 Marius Zaharia, Reuters. Reposted by Today August 4, 2016.


August 4, 2016

ASEAN Continues to Be a Key Focus as U.S. Businesses Remain Optimistic about Commercial Growth in ASEAN PR Newswire, Yahoo Finance



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