The Business Times Leaders' Forum explores business opportunities in Asean

MAY 03, 2018 - 6:00 AM

[Singapore] ASEAN has experienced impressive growth in recent years, but is still facing hurdles to realising its full potential.

The Business Times Leaders' Forum - back for its third run this year - brings together thought leaders from the public and private sectors to discuss prospects and challenges in the region.

The forum, which will be held on May 21 at the Shangri-La Hotel, will offer insights on opportunities in Asean which can help businesses counter the rising tide of protectionism worldwide.

"Asean's prospects are bright - investment interest in the region in the coming years will be high, on the back of rising infrastructure spending on regional transport connectivity and the growth of the digital economy," said The Business Times editor Wong Wei Kong.

"But companies keen on growing in the region still face hurdles - for example, Asean economies have yet to become meaningfully integrated, which means investors often encounter regulatory and trade barriers.

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"Many companies also struggle to hire the right talent when expanding abroad," he noted, adding that the forum seeks to address some of these issues.

Chan Chun Sing, who assumed his new portfolio as Minister for Trade and Industry on May 1 after three years in the labour movement, will deliver the keynote address at the forum. Mr Chan is one of the fourth-generation leaders regarded as a front-runner to be the next prime minister.

The event will also feature Liew Mun Leong, the Chairman of Changi Airport Group and Chairman of Surbana Jurong Private Limited. Mr Liew will talk about prospects for improving infrastructure and connectivity in the region.

In addition, Mr Chan and Mr Liew will join a panel discussion about what companies have to do to win in Asean.

The panel includes three other speakers - Lazada Singapore chief executive Alexis Lanternier; Singapore Business Federation chief executive Ho Meng Kit; and Tan Soon Kim, the assistant chief executive of Enterprise Singapore, the government agency spearheading enterprise development.

The forum will also feature findings from an exclusive survey, which polled business leaders on their Asean operations as well as their views on prospects and challenges in the region. The survey's results and insights will be presented by Edward Lee, Standard Chartered Bank's chief economist for Asean and South Asia.

Judy Hsu, Standard Chartered's chief executive for Singapore and Asean markets, said that it is an "opportune time" for businesses to explore regional growth plans.

"Based on our experiences, businesses interested in regional expansion often find it difficult to understand local regulations and practices as well as identify relevant and trustworthy local partners.

"We hope that insights from industry leaders at the forum will give Singapore companies a clearer picture of the opportunities; and what it takes to overcome the challenges and successfully capture the region's huge potential," she added.

For more details on the forum and to register, please go to