Back in 2010, property expert Dato’ Sri Gavin Tee predicted a 12-year cycle (The Greater South East Asia or Greater SEA) starting from 2010 thru 2022 that would see ASEAN experiencing mega changes in terms of policy and key developments, and rising as a hot investment destination.
“In 2010, most ASEAN countries except for Singapore and Malaysia, don’t allow sale of property to foreigners. In the past 12 years however, most ASEAN countries have changed their policies and started allowing this albeit with conditions,” Tee told Asian Property Review in an exclusive interview.
Fast forward 12 years later, most analysts are of the view that despite a decline in foreign direct investment (FDI) due to the pandemic, down to US$137 billion in 2020 from its highest-ever inflow of US$182 billion in 2019 (when it was the largest recipient of FDI in the developing world), ASEAN remains one of the world’s top investment destinations.
Development Outlook (ADO) report, the total combined GDP of 10 ASEAN countries in 2019 was valued at US$3.2 trillion – making ASEAN the fifth-largest economy in the world, well on track to becoming the fourth largest by 2030.
With a total population of about 700 million people, out of which 61% are under the age of 35 – on top of a successful pandemic response, the outlook for ASEAN remains very promising, the report concludes.
Another analyst is of the opinion that ASEAN’s combined GDP is projected to triple to US$10 trillion by 2030.
2030 Target GDP & GDP per capita
This ties in with Tee’s earlier prediction – that by 2022, a tipping point would be reached in which the balance of power and wealth would shift from the West to the East. “The signs are all there for an inevitable shift. In the past 3 years, due to changes brought about by the pandemic, and geopolitical and economic rivalry, the world has witnessed a far-reaching shift in the mentality of Asians,” Tee who is the Founder of Fangdao Property Club notes.
“No longer do Asians view western culture and all it represents as superior. The colonial mindset that reveres western superiority is a thing of the past. With technological advances that sometimes surpass those of the West like 5G technology, there is a strong collective sense of pride that the West and East are now much more on an equal footing.
“At the same time, there is a real transfer of wealth from the West to the East. As an economic bloc, ASEAN is fast catching up and by 2030 would become the fourth biggest economy in the world.
“On the other hand, Europe and the US are facing slow economic growth and losing their competitive edge on the global stage. This is why I predict 2023 would be the start of the ASEAN Miracle Cycle that would last for the next 12 years. Some of the fastest growth would come from Indonesia and Vietnam while collectively, ASEAN might even overtake China’s rate of growth and hence become an economic powerhouse,” Tee anticipates, adding, “It will become the fourth world superpower.”
Tee, who is also the Founder and President of Swhengtee International continues: “With almost 700 mil population, ASEAN will become a major spending power. It is home to one of the most diverse and natural resource-rich landscapes in the world, offering the world a top tourism destination – tropical climate, good infrastructure, friendly peoples, beautiful islands and mountains.
“In the past, the Bahamas, Southern Europe and Florida were the playground of the rich. But now ASEAN is gaining an international reputation as the best tropical tourism destination in the world. This would attract more world class developments including resorts, hotels and tourism projects. The influx of tourists would also spill over to the property sector as some visitors take up longer term residence for work or retirement. Expatriates from top tourism brands would also come to share their expertise,” Tee reasons.
“Further, with the region heading for more political maturity amid an increasingly educated population, the resulting stability would pave the way for ASEAN to step into a more active role in the world stage. Already, some ASEAN leaders are wielding some influence on the world’s political stage.
This coincides with the superpowers’ jostling for influence in Southeast Asia. By contributing to development in Southeast Asia, they hope to gain political and economic mileage. This is one of the drivers for the ASEAN miracle, Tee points out.
The international property speaker also notes that Indonesia will become the most powerful nation in ASEAN not just because it is the largest economy in ASEAN or due to its large population, but also because of its political maturity and friendly policies.
The other three ‘dragons’ – Tee terms the fast-moving developing economies as the ‘Four Dragons’ – are Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.
“Among the four, Malaysia is one of the best because comparatively, it has the best infrastructure, legal framework, educational system and has a very globalized and enterprising population. It also has good international relations especially with China, the West and the Middle East. When investments come into the region, Malaysia can offer the best choice provided the government comes out with friendly policies to attract foreign investment. So far, the government has indicated it is determined to do so,” Tee shares.