In a world struggling with low growth, the ten member states of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) represent a genuinely exciting prospect among emerging markets. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) expects growth in the region, already the world’s sixth largest economic bloc, to average 4.6% annually in the next five years. Much of this growth will come from ASEAN’s urban hubs: the region currently has around 50 cities with populations of over 500,000, which will continue to drive an overwhelming share of its economic development in the next decades. For investors looking at the region, determining where exactly the greatest opportunities lie within these metropolises can be a struggle. The EIU is able to offer a wealth of data and analysis to clarify the prospects of these dynamic markets, enabling firms to pinpoint which market segments offer the most potential for growth. In this report our expert analysts have provided detailed forecasts from our Market Explorer service of demographic and income trends across ASEAN’s key cities over the next 15 years. Highlighting the region’s potential as an emerging consumer market, we project that the number of middle-class households in ASEAN will more than quadruple, from 38m in 2015 to over 161m by 2030. The EIU anticipates, however, that this surge in the urban consumer class will translate into an ever increasing strain on infrastructure and a much higher demand for services. As a result, ASEAN cities will continue to grapple with urbanisation management challenges, which they must address in order to create more liveable and more competitive centres of sustained growth. The EIU has substantial expertise in helping governments and firms to navigate the challenges that rapid urbanisation and economic growth can bring. The strains on urban infrastructure will of course pose a potential obstacle to development in ASEAN’s key cities, but they also represent an opportunity for investors able to provide the solutions to these growing pains.
Image: Tianjin is the seventh richest city in China
Source: The Economist
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