24 June 2024

Australian investors zero in on opportunities in Southeast Asia

The first outbound investment mission to Southeast Asia examined opportunities in Singapore and Vietnam.

Australia’s leading institutional investors and fund managers gained a deeper understanding of investment opportunities on the Australian Government’s first outbound investment mission to Southeast Asia, as part of the Southeast Asia Investment Deal Teams initiative.

Led by Minister for Trade and Tourism Senator the Hon Don Farrell, the delegation visited Vietnam and Singapore from 3–6 June. Representatives from Austrade, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and Export Finance Australia accompanied the delegation.

The mission was the largest-ever outbound Australian business mission by value. The 16 organisations and 19 delegates represented a combined A$2.5 trillion of assets under management. They included Future Fund, IFM Investors, Australian Super, Australian Retirement Trust, HESTA, Aware Super, Cbus and state government investment funds. Also joining were Lighthouse Infrastructure, Plenary, Pacific Partnerships, Frontier Advisors and the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA).

‘Greater engagement with Southeast Asia is a priority for the Australian Government,’ says Minister Farrell. ‘We are determined to leverage the enormous opportunities for Australian businesses in the region.’

Mission highlights

Vietnam: a market to watch

The mission kicked off in Vietnam, with visits to Ho Chi Minh City on 3 June and Hanoi on 4 June. The delegation met with key government departments and 4 of Vietnam’s leading business groups: VinGroup, VinaCapital, FiinGroup and Dragon Capital.

‘Vietnam is a market to watch,’ says Rebecca Ball, Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, Austrade Vietnam. ‘Its growth, ambition and demographic dividend make it an increasingly attractive investment destination in Southeast Asia. Its strategic location is a drawcard for corporates seeking to diversify their supply chains. Investors may wish to test the market in their future portfolio strategies.’

Singapore: access to regional opportunities

In Singapore, investors were keen to understand how ASEAN’s growth rates, energy transition, digitalisation and rapid urbanisation are driving opportunities for Australian investors.

Delegates engaged local experts from DBS, Sembcorp, Singtel, CapitaLand, Macquarie Asset Management, IFC, ADB and King & Wood Mallesons Australia. The discussions gave them insights on regional opportunity pipelines and approaches to manage risk, draw down blended finance and create partnerships for smoother market entry.

‘Singapore offers easy access to regional decision-makers and capital partners,’ says Kirstyn Thomson, Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, Austrade Singapore. ‘The Singapore Deals Team also covers Malaysia and Brunei. The team of Austrade, Export Finance Australia and DFAT specialists will help Australian investors access investable opportunities across ASEAN, while providing connections to help manage regional risks.’

Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) Clean Economy Investor Forum

Minister Farrell led the delegation to attend the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) Clean Economy Investor Forum in Singapore. This significant regional investment event was hosted by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Singapore Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.

Minister Farrell hosted a roundtable with the Australian investor delegation to discuss the significant opportunities in Southeast Asia and the benefits of outbound investment for Australia.

A delegation of men and women in business attire stand next to a banner for a group photo. Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell with members of the delegation at the Indo Pacific Economic Framework Clean Economy Investor Forum.


Deal Team Hub launches

The mission also saw the launch of 2 Deal Team hubs in Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City. Minister Farrell launched the Singapore Deal Team hub at the High Commissioner’s residence in Singapore. The launch was attended by 60 senior executives from across Southeast Asia.

The Southeast Asia Investment Deal Team hubs will work with governments and business in Southeast Asia to identify and facilitate outbound investment opportunities for Australian investors.

Raising awareness of investment opportunities in Southeast Asia

The mission supported the Australian Government’s aim to increase investment in the region as part of Invested: Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040.

As a bloc, Southeast Asia is projected to become the world’s fourth-largest economy by 2040. The region’s potential consumer market will be 10 times larger than Australia’s by that year.

Invested: Australia’s Southeast Asia Strategy to 2040 notes that Australian investment in Southeast Asia is underweight. Australian foreign investment stocks in Southeast Asian countries were worth A$123.1 billion in 2022, representing 3.4% of Australia’s total investment stocks abroad (A$3.7 trillion). The strategy found Australia needs to do more if it is to benefit from the region’s economic growth.

‘Australian investors are well placed to meet Southeast Asia’s strong need for capital, technology and know-how to fuel its economic growth,’ says Peter Horn, General Manager – Investment, Austrade. ‘While it’s a new market for many, the long-term growth profile suggests the time is right for Australian corporates and institutional investors to invest in their own knowledge of the region.’

Next steps

Investment Deal Teams in Australia and Southeast Asia will now work closely with investors and stakeholders to support their investment journeys. For more information, contact us.

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