Press Release 2017

UOB's FDI Advisory Unit facilitates more than RM83 billion of business flows into Southeast Asia in 2016

Kuala Lumpur, 11 May 2017 - United Overseas Bank's (UOB) ability to connect its corporate clients to business and investment opportunities in Southeast Asia has attracted more than RM83 billion (S$27 billion) into the region in 2016, double the amount in 2015.

The Bank's Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Advisory Unit has been at the forefront of helping UOB's clients to seize opportunities in Southeast Asia. Data from the FDI Advisory Unit showed that the top investment destinations from global and Asian companies investing in the region in 2016 were Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore. The data also revealed that companies expanding into the region were more likely to be from the fast-moving consumer goods, natural resources and building and construction-related sectors that are tapping on Southeast Asia's growth potential.

Mr Sam Cheong, Managing Director and Head of Group Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Advisory Unit, UOB, said, "Southeast Asia is an attractive investment destination due to the opportunities that the region's rapid urbanisation, major infrastructure projects, rising incomes and increasing consumption create. The potential of a more integrated region through the ASEAN Economic Community is also proving attractive to those companies establishing their presence in our region."

"Companies are planning their Southeast Asia expansion efforts carefully. Many are choosing Singapore as their regional headquarters and then springboarding into other markets. However, we are now seeing more companies invest directly into Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar. This is to capture the opportunities driven by the young population and increased consumption from rising incomes in these markets," Mr Cheong said.

The potential economic growth of ASEAN is huge. According to UOB's estimates, the combined gross domestic product of the countries that make up ASEAN will expand from the current RM10.8 trillion (US$2.5 trillion) to RM35.1 trillion (US$8.1 trillion) by 2030 . This will make ASEAN the fourth largest economy in the world by 20301.

While the long-term outlook for ASEAN is positive, Mr Cheong noted that there were distinct challenges when investing in the region.

"The region's cultural diversity can be challenging for companies seeking to enter new markets. Each market has its own business and cultural practices that must be understood to ensure business success," Mr Cheong said.

"At UOB, we believe that our strong appreciation of what makes each market in Southeast Asia unique, combined with our deep local presence and expertise, enables us to support our clients as they expand across the region. Our strong network of partners, including government agencies, trade and industry associations and professional services providers, also helps us to offer our clients value-added services beyond banking as companies navigate the complexities of doing business in ASEAN."

About the UOB FDI Advisory Unit
In 2011, UOB was the first bank in Singapore to establish an FDI Advisory Unit to provide businesses with a one-stop shop dedicated to access inter- and intra-regional opportunities.

The Bank has expanded the Unit across nine FDI Centres including Malaysia in 2013, with others located in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The FDI Advisory Unit works closely with government agencies, trade and industry associations and professional service providers to promote regional connectivity in the areas of trade, finance and logistics.

UOB's extensive network of partnerships includes those with the Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Singapore Economic Development Board, International Enterprise Singapore, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Japan Finance Corporation and Vietnam's Foreign Investment Agency.


1 Source: UOB Global Economics and Markets Research.

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