Australia’s internationally-active businesses well-positioned for an integrated ASEAN

08 Oct 2018


  • Divya Skene
  • AIBS 2018

One of the main themes picked up by the AIBS platform is the importance of ASEAN to Australia’s internationally-active businesses.

Previous surveys in the AIBS series have shown that Australia’s neighbourhood of ASEAN is already a significant region for SMEs. Last year’s analysis of leading revenue sources and leading goods and services FTA destinations, highlights the importance of ASEAN.

ASEAN a top source of SME revenue

While AIBS 2018 confirms the dominant role of China and the United States for SMEs in our sample engaged in international business, at least one country in the ASEAN region accounts as a top two revenue generator for at least 27 per cent of AIBS 2018 respondents. On this basis at least, the Southeast Asian bloc is more important to Australian firm-level revenue than either of the top two leading countries, United States and China.

With a diverse range of drivers including economic growth, scale and youthful demographics as well as sectoral complementarity across modern and emerging markets on offer, it is clear why AESAN as a region has captured the imagination of SME business.

Further details on firms with ASEAN as a top revenue source is shown below link.

Regions and international revenue

Australian businesses are well-positioned for inter-regional business in ASEAN

This year we have looked at the question of whether firms that started in ASEAN went on to earn their highest revenue in an ASEAN market, or alternately whether those with ASEAN as a top market have ambition to expand further in ASEAN.

  • Just over two-thirds of respondent businesses that started undertaking international business in an ASEAN market went on to source their highest revenues from an ASEAN market.
  • Forty-four percent of the 27 percent of respondent businesses for which ASEAN is a least a leading revenue source, aim to expand further in the region.

The results suggest Australia’s internationally-active businesses are well positioned to take advantage of the developing ASEAN economic community.

This graphic provides detail on our respondent businesses by top revenue market, and their interest in future expansion into ASEAN.

Expansion into ASEAN