Southeast Asia: Doing Business in Paradise?

By Piturro, Marlene C. | Management Review, July 1988 | Go to article overview

Southeast Asia: Doing Business in Paradise?


Piturro, Marlene C., Management Review


Imagine awakening in a tropical paradise. You're near a river that, even at 7:00 a.m., is filled with the sights and sounds of an open-air market conducted from boats. You have your choice of an American, Continental, or Asian breakfast, brought by courteous and enthusiastic servers. The perfume of orchids fills the air.

Is this a dream? No, it's a description of what I and other business travelers have experienced in countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei. Courtesy, an eagerness to please, entrepreneurial spirit, high literacy rates, and skilled craftsmanship all contribute to a business climate highly attractive to United States corporations.

ASEAN countries are good business partners. Unlike many Third World countries that have amassed large foreign debts, ASEAN members have excellent credit ratings and are extremely prudent about not borrowing more than they can repay (except for the Philippines). They can borrow at cheaper rates from commercial banks than from the World Bank.

Consider these little-known facts about the ASEAN nations:

* Brunei has the world's highest per capita annual income-more than $20,000.

* Gross national product (GNP) growth rates for ASEAN nations averaged nearly 5 percent in 1987, as opposed to the U.S. rate of 1.7 percent.

* ASEAN exports soared an average of 35.7 percent from 1986 to 1987.

* Imports rose an average of 33.8 percent over the same period.

Tables I and II (page 32) give a fuller account of basic indicators.

MOVE TOWARD GLOBALIZATION

Nations and corporations both are moving toward global interdependence. In 1987, there were 19 international mergers of companies worth $1 billion or more, part of the nearly $100-billion total in international mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures.

But the old way of doing business-sending the most technically competent manager overseas to do things "our way"-doesn't work anymore. Too many major errors have resulted from a failure to "think globally." Improperly selected expatriate managers, lags in production schedules, poorly coordinated plant designs, products that weren't designed to be easily modified for overseas markets are just a few of the many mistakes. Today's managers and future CEOs must become global strategists: people who feel at home anywhere in the world, know how to penetrate language and cultural barriers, can design easily modified products for targeted markets, and can develop workable trading agreements with overseas partners.

Many top U.S. executives are broadening their view of markets and competition worldwide and see the effort to penetrate lucrative Southeast Asian domestic markets as important.

WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT ASEAN NATIONS?

According to Marcia Brewster, a United Nations economic affairs officer, The ASEAN nations are a wonderful place to do business. The people have a strong work ethic, are genuinely eager to please, and love life." Brewster should know. She lived and worked in Southeast Asia, mainly Thailand, for 11 years. While at the Central Bank of Thailand, she did a regional study of exports, noting that the area was moving toward manufacturing and processing for both domestic and regional markets.

She comments on her experience in Thailand: "It was fun. The Thais are very proud of their culture and heritage. They have no chip on their shoulder and no resentment of Americans or Europeans, because they've always been free-they were never a colony. They're proud of their king, Rama IX, who's the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history."

Brewster was impressed by their strong work ethic: "The Southeast Asian countries received a large influx of Chinese people, forced out of their country by economic hardship, during the 19th century. Inculcated in the Chinese is a tremendous work ethic, based on their 5,000-year-old history and culture. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Southeast Asia: Doing Business in Paradise?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.