Gateway to Asia Pacific:

A guide to doing business in Asia

Asia Pacific is an economic region that cannot be ignored by businesses with an international outlook. By all measurements, the Asian market is already huge and growing in wealth, size and complexity at an astonishing rate.

Figures from the OECD show that the population of Asia and the Pacific region reached 4.3 billion people in 2014, equivalent to 60 per cent of the world’s total. The region also hosts two of the most populous countries in the world; China (1.4 billion) and India (1.25 billion). Even with a modest growth rate of 0.9 per cent, this meant that the region added 40 million people to its population between 2013 and 2014.

Figures from the Asian Development Bank show that the Asia Pacific region generated two-fifths of global GDP in 2015, much of that in megacities with populations of more than 10 million, of which Asia has 17 out of a global total of 28.

Tokyo (37.8 million), Delhi (24.9 million) and Shanghai (23 million) are the three most populous cities in the world – all Asian.

Investors are already aware of the incredible potential of the Asian economies and much direct investment has already taken place in the region. Figures from the World Bank show that the Asia Pacific region received USD450 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2016, more than 26 per cent of the global total.

This figure is only set to increase given the demographic make-up of many Asian countries, particularly those in Southern Asia. The Philippines, for example, has a population of more than 100 million with an average age of 23.5 years.

The potential is there, but investing blindly is never a great idea. In each jurisdiction, there are regulatory and cultural barriers that must be overcome before considering any kind of transaction. Research and due diligence must be undertaken into specific markets or potential local partners, ensuring fund are invested wisely.

If the process is approached correctly there are huge opportunities for bold investors with vision and perseverance, and plenty of help available from trade bodies and other incentivised bodies.

With all this in mind, IR Global brought together nine of its members from various Asian jurisdictions to share their wealth of expertise on doing business in their respective countries.

The following feature includes contributions from professionals in China, India, Taiwan, Philippines, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Japan and New Zealand.