Over one-third of ASEAN's population live in cities, contributing more than two-thirds of the region's GDP. An estimated additional 90 million people will live in cities by 2030, and this could add more than US$500 billion to ASEAN's GDP.3
Urbanisation rates across ASEAN, 2016
Per capita incomes in capital cities and in countries (Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia), 2016
Already some of ASEAN's largest cities, Bangkok, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur rank as high-income status. ASEAN's growing middle-weight regions and second-tier cities, those with populations of between 500,000 and five million people, are drivers of further growth.
There are around 50 ASEAN cities that have more than half a million residents. Special economic and export processing zones and clusters around larger cities also create economies of scale and provide additional benefits for investors.4
ASEAN cities with populations over 500,000 based on UN data, 2017 projections
Future cities in ASEAN will require innovative and specialist services, products and technologies to address urban challenges such as overcrowding and congestion, infrastructure needs and pollution.
ASEAN cities will demand substantial investment across the region in new and retro fitted major transport infrastructure, power and water utilities and tourism facilities. In addition to private investors and ASEAN countries' own resources, investment is stemming from China's Belt and Road Initiative, Japan's Partnership for Quality Infrastructure, and multilateral development banks such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, for market-ready proposals.
Long-term view vital to Vix Technology's ASEAN success
Patience, performance and partnerships have fuelled Vix Technology's success in ASEAN markets. Over 20 years, the Melbourne-based company has applied these approaches to seize lucrative opportunities in the fast-growing transport ticketing and payment market in the region.
Individually, as a member of consortia and in joint ventures, the company has delivered several prominent projects in ASEAN markets. These include the 'EZLink' integrated smart ticketing system in Singapore and multiple projects in Thailand, including a national smart card clearing house.
In Malaysia, Vix Technology is helping develop a unified payment system for multiple transit operators, which became the cornerstone of the company's sizeable investment in the country. Vix Technology has established its Asian operating headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, seconded international staff into the country and created a local support presence.
In Thailand, Vix Technology has also established a joint venture with a local operator to support and maintain the 'Rabbit Card' electronic payment system and support business development in the region.
Vix Technology has received considerable support from Austrade over the last 10 to 15 years as the company built its presence in ASEAN markets.
Australia's reputation for liveability is widely recognised. Australian solutions can, and are, helping to build ASEAN cities of the future
Australian firms can also provide building materials and consulting expertise in integrated precinct planning and environmental design, intelligent transport systems, renewable energy and storage solutions. Firms can offer input to efficient public services and civil safety, smart environmental technologies, including for air quality control, and services to protect critical public infrastructure.
IE Asia Pacific keeps ASEAN airspace safe and effcient
A Canberra-based organisation founded in 2009, IE Asia Pacific specialises in providing performance evaluation products and services for radar surveillance systems. Part of a European multinational group, IE Asia Pacific is a steadily growing business which turns over about AUD $5 million per year.
In ASEAN, IE Asia Pacific has exported to Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore and is currently seeking to develop business in both Vietnam and Thailand.
Dominic Nadvillaveetil, Marketing Manager, IE Asia Pacific, points to experience, market knowledge, investments and long-term relationship building as keys to IE Asia Pacific's success in the ASEAN region. 'For example, one of our directors has lived and worked in Malaysia for eight years and knows the market and our customers very well,' Nadvillaveetil says.
'Another key to IE Asia Pacific's success in the ASEAN markets has been their relationship with local representative companies to help with in-country logistics and business development.' He also adds, 'we are therefore constantly on the lookout for reputable, experienced organisations that are prepared to work with us across the region.'
IE Asia Pacific intends to increase its engagement with Austrade and leverage their rich network across the ASEAN region. 'We do intend to capitalise further on the Austrade network to build our business in ASEAN and beyond, particularly in the markets where we don't have any presence,' said Nadvillaveetil.
Australia's solar scientists make breakthrough in quest for low-cost panels
Solar power is a hot topic in Southeast Asia. ASEAN is pursuing policies to diversify their energy sources and have set an aspirational target to source 23 per cent of their energy from renewables by 2025.
As recognised world-leaders in solar-cell research, Australian scientists have the capacity to power this renewables revolution. Australian scientists have been at the forefront of research into photovoltaic cells for 40 years. In December 2016, the Sydney-based Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP) announced a world record for efficiency for a certified solar-cell (larger than 10cm2) using a specific type of structured compound, called a perovskite.
According to Dr Anita Ho-Baillie, Senior Research Fellow at the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, and Program Manager for the Perovskite Solar Cell Research at ACAP, perovskites are the fastest-advancing solar technology to date.
'Perovskites are highly versatile and because they exist in solution, we can paint, spray or print them onto solar cells,' she says.
By making solar cells simpler and cheaper to make, the new perovskite technique could shake up global manufacturing of solar panels.