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ASEAN – Market beyond China and India

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ASEAN – Market beyond China and India

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed on the 8th of August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand. The founding members consist of 5 countries namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Today, with the inclusion of Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia between 1984 to 1999, ASEAN now has a total of 10 members.

ASEAN was set up to promote economic growth, social progress and cultural development among the Southeast Asian countries.  By working together closely, ASEAN aims to achieve regional peace and stability. With a total population of approximately 650 million and a combined GDP of around $2.8 million, this is a market you won’t want to ignore.

However, this lucrative region is not one that is easy to navigate. Unlike the EU, ASEAN is still struggling to be seen as a unified market. With 10 countries of such diverse cultures, languages and way of life, there is no such thing as a one-size-fit-all solution when it comes to marketing in this region. One thing is for sure though, ASEAN is definitely an emerging market as a region.

Of course, there are many factors to consider when marketing in ASEAN. But since our expertise lies in the linguistic area, our recommendation here would be skewed towards accomplishing multilingual communications in this region.

Is using English enough for you to traverse all markets in ASEAN? The simple and straight forward answer is a resounding “NO”. Although English is still the global business language for now, English is not one that is officially used in all countries in ASEAN. Let’s just look at the official languages of the different countries in ASEAN:

Brunei Darussalam – Bahasa Malay

Cambodia – Khmer

Indonesia – Bahasa Indonesia

Laos – Laotian

Malaysia – Bahasa Malaysia

Myanmar – Burmese

Philippines – Tagalog, English

Singapore – English, Chinese, Malay, Tamil

Thailand – Thai

Vietnam – Vietnamese

From the list above, you will see that there is no such thing as a common language when it comes to marketing in ASEAN. Although most of the countries do offer English as a second or third language in their education system but apart from Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines, most tend to be more mono-linguistic.

In most of the ASEAN countries, it is also mandatory to produce documentation of products in the countries’ official languages in order for the import to be approved. This is only the first hurdle. Once that is done, the marketing of your products and services to your end consumer must also be in their language in order for you to gain acceptance quickly. If you include localisation of your products and services for the local consumer, the task can be rather daunting, not to mention expensive.

Here at Lingua Technologies International, we can help you with your multilingual communication needs when it comes to marketing in ASEAN. Our policy of only using native linguists based in their home countries, gives us an edge over our competitors. With our ISO 17100 certification, a global standard to control the quality of translation and the process of translation, you know that you are in good hands.

Contact us today at inquiry@translationsingapore.com or call us immediately at +65 65760138 for a discussion. It will be a decision that will save you a lot of trouble and costs.

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