Probably more than in other regions of the world, small and medium enterprises are an essential feature of the social and economic fabric of East Asia. In fact, these companies account for more than 96% of all enterprises in the ASEAN region, outnumbering larger players not only in the quantity of establishments, but also in the share of the labour force they employ.

Small and medium enterprises generate between 50% and 85% of domestic employment across the region, and contribute between 30% and 53% of its gross domestic product. Promoting their economic dynamism – and supporting the entrepreneurial spirit behind their success – is therefore essential in order to continue fostering growth and development in the region. The World Economic Forum is therefore proud to welcome 20 East Asian enterprises to its community of Global Growth Companies (GGCs).

GGCs are fast-growing companies with the clear potential to become global economic leaders based on factors such as their business models, growth record, leadership and the markets they serve. Most of them have consistently experienced growth rates above their industry average in the past three years and are engines of the economies in which they operate. The World Economic Forum’s GGC community currently brings together over 360 companies with these characteristics, coming from more than 65 countries.

Among the newly selected GGCs for East Asia, there are companies such as ACLEDA Bank (Cambodia), one of Cambodia’s leading commercial banks, providing financial services to all segments of the community; WanaArtha Life (Indonesia), a national establishment that is also one of the country’s largest life insurance companies; Capital Diamond Star Group (Myanmar), a leading business conglomerate active in industries including food and beverage, retail, real estate and insurance; Manila Water Company (Philippines), a major provider of water, sanitation and sewage facilities, and an acclaimed example of successful public-private partnership; AA Corporation (Vietnam), a top interior fit-out company in Asia with an established reputation for cutting-edge interior services in the hospitality market; Banyan Tree Holdings (Singapore), a leading manager and developer of premium resorts, hotels and spas in the Asia-Pacific region; and LINE Corporation (Japan), which operates the popular LINE app for smartphones, allowing millions of users worldwide to communicate for free.

The 20 selected companies come from a variety of market backgrounds, but what brings them together is their ability to exceed industry standards in revenue growth, exemplary corporate global citizenship, innovative business practices, and their excellent track records of executive leadership.

Author: David Aikman, Managing Director, World Economic Forum

Image: A general view of high-rise residential and commercial buildings is seen in Manila October 3, 2013. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco