18-Dec-18, HSBC

Spanning countries as diverse as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, Southeast Asia is not an easy, one-size-fits-all market to tap. Anyone doing business here has to be prepared to deal with a diverse range of languages, cultures and levels of economic development; different political, regulatory and financial systems; and varying degrees of internet and mobile use.

Southeast Asias rising wealth (c) HSBC

Image: HSBC

And yet the region is rapidly coming into its own as an economic powerhouse and as a key market for anything from cars and cosmetics to computers. The number of middle-class households in ASEAN is expected to top 120 million by 2025, roughly double the number in 2010.

However, there are tens of millions of people across the region who still have no bank accounts. As influence rises, the demand for services such as savings plans, health or life insurance products and international banking (for those who increasingly travel, study or work abroad) still has lots of room to grow. 

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