ANZ helps businesses realise the potential of new and emerging ASEAN markets
A top-five listed company in Australia and the number one bank in New Zealand, ANZ operates in 34 markets worldwide. The institution serves retail, commercial and institutional customers with consumer and corporate offerings.
'As an organisation, our purpose is to shape a world where people and communities thrive,' says David Green, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore, and Head of South East Asia, India & Middle East, ANZ.
'Since we were founded in 1835, we've been helping businesses unlock opportunities using ANZ's capabilities, network, insight and expertise. A big focus around that has been financing commerce and facilitating trade.'
ANZ sees its presence in ASEAN as key to its vision of being the best bank in the world for companies with regional trade and capital movements.
Green considers it important for businesses seeking to invest in ASEAN to take the time to understand the unique characteristics of each market in the region. ASEAN has 10 markets, more than 600 million people and a GDP of USD$2.5 trillion.
'Businesses should be focused and clear about the parts of the market that are right for them,' he says. 'Within ASEAN, there's a range from frontier to developed economies, so there's something there for everyone.'
The second key element that businesses need to be aware of is having a local presence in the market. That presence may range from a physical base to a commitment to making frequent visits to customers, partners and other stakeholders and is important to achieving success. The key, according to Green, is to build a network in each target ASEAN market.
The third point for businesses, Green says, is to consider using Singapore as a hub or base for operating in the region.
'That allows you to create scale in one centre and leverage all the advantages that Singapore brings,' he says. 'These range from the infrastructure that supports a global financial centre and a regional trade hub to the ability to conduct business in English to the country's proximity to nearby ASEAN markets.'
Green also points out that ANZ's own entry point into ASEAN was to use Singapore as a base to help customers do business in ASEAN, the broader Asian market or globally.
'We've progressively extended our presence in ASEAN,' he says. 'We've been in Indonesia and Singapore since 1973 and 1974 respectively, then we opened up in the Philippines in 1990, followed by Vietnam in 1993. Most recently in 2013 we established a presence in Myanmar and got a full banking licence in 2015.
'So that reflects moving to that next logical market where the conditions are right for your business – or in our case, for our customers' businesses and supporting them.
'Myanmar is one market that has been attracting a lot of business interest. It is approaching the size of Vietnam in terms of population,' he adds. 'It has been described as being where Vietnam was 20 years ago. But it'll only take 10 years to get to where Vietnam is today. We see that reflected in the way our global customers are engaging with the region – there are a number of multinationals and Asian corporates who want to do business in new markets in ASEAN because they see the potential.
'Working with Austrade's network of contacts to obtain advice, connecting into the local Australian Chambers of Commerce in each market and talking to ANZ itself can help businesses successfully navigate the varying laws and market conditions of ASEAN countries,' Green adds.