Manufacturing has been a critical part of the development story in Asia. Its large consumer base has seen a rapid increase in the level of discretionary spending. This positions ASEAN as a vibrant market for the production and sale of goods. However, this Asian-styled development model faces challenges.
Export-based manufacturing helps to earn valuable foreign currency, drives investment into building infrastructure, creates jobs as demand shifts away from agriculture, and nurtures an eco-system of local SME suppliers that support the big foreign manufacturers.
Will the next generation of less-developed economies be able to thrive on export-based manufacturing as a path to prosperity? Despite varying levels of industrial development in the region, all countries in ASEAN face a long road to reach the productivity frontier.
The World Economic Forum is uniquely positioned to provide a platform among regional stakeholders that will serve as a catalyst to facilitate cooperation in the region focused on key priorities: