Posted on by Chad F.

Southeast Asia is often hailed as the “next big thing”, and rightfully so. The region is blessed with rich natural resources and a strategic geographic location, making it a very attractive location for multinational companies to locate their manufacturing plants. Certain countries that were former colonies of English-speaking nations also retain high populations of English speakers, making them attractive destinations for business.

In terms of economic development, Singapore is the country that is spearheading Southeast Asia’s growth but many developing countries are also working hard to push Southeast Asia ahead of the other regions. Let’s find out about the top 5 emerging economies in Southeast Asia:



Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s rising stars, having experienced record economic growth in the past two decades. With a large population both domestically and abroad, Vietnam is one of the markets in Southeast Asia to watch. Although devastated by years of civil war and the Vietnam War in the 1970s, Vietnam has more than recovered. The country has been steadily improving its infrastructure, and has a flourishing tourism industry. The Vietnamese diaspora is prominent in both France and the United States, a fact that has helped to increase Vietnam’s reputation worldwide.


Laos is a relative newcomer to the Southeast Asian economy. The landlocked country is rich in natural resources, especially metals that are prized by many other countries. Laos also sells energy generated from its numerous rivers to its neighboring countries. While the economy of Laos is still predominantly agricultural, its waterways and ample metal resources put it in a good position for potential growth in these directions.


Most of the world knows Cambodia for the famous Angkor Wat, a temple of exceeding beauty that is the pride of this Southeast Asian nation. Ravaged by warfare and genocide for decades, the country is at long last experiencing some peace. Its textile industry is promising, helping also to anchor the country’s strengths in low-cost garment production. The government is also actively engaged in promoting tourism, which makes up a significant proportion of Cambodia’s GDP. Cambodia has a wealth of tourist attractions, including the famed Angkor Wat in addition to numerous sites of natural and cultural beauty.


Traditionally known as a popular location for call centers, the Philippines have a huge talent pool of fluent English speakers, unlike many of its neighboring countries. The archipelago is gaining popularity as an offshore administrative hub for many multinational companies, attracted by the low costs yet high quality of its workforce and infrastructure. Additionally, the beautiful white sand coastlines that the Philippines have in abundance make it a prime beach holiday destination for tourists in Southeast Asia.


After years of military rule, the formerly closed country is beginning to open up to the world. Myanmar’s strengths lie in its English-speaking workforce, and the cheap cost of labor. Unlike neighboring Cambodia, it generally has a reputation for being safe. Myanmar’s tourism industry is also taking off, and the country has been slowly but steadily opening up to foreign tourism. Once the wealthiest country in Southeast Asia, Myanmar is gradually regaining its former glory. The construction of the Dawei Deep Seaport resumed in March 2015, and when completed, the area will be the largest economic zone in Southeast Asia.

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