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Companies from the southwest take aim at the growth markets in the ASEAN region

Trip to Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia organised by Baden-Württemberg International (bw-i) for a delegation headed by Minister of Finance and Economics Dr. Nils Schmid.

From 26 April to 3 May, a delegation consisting of 41 representatives from Baden-Württemberg companies, universities, and associations as well as from the area of politics visited several emergent ASEAN states, namely Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Deputy Minister President and Minister of Finance and Economics Dr. Nils Schmid MdL also went along on the trip to provide political support and encouragement. During their travels, Dr. Schmid underlined the significance of the region for the local economy: “ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which is made up of ten countries, is currently the fastest growing economic region in the world. For companies from Baden-Württemberg, there are good opportunities here”.

bw-i organised a comprehensive schedule of events for the participating companies from the automotive and mechanical engineering industries. In the framework of briefings, they obtained insights into the economic development of the three ASEAN nations and were also given the contact details of numerous companies in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. What’s more, bw-i arranged for an exchange of experience with Baden-Württemberg companies in the region. “In southeast Asia, there is interesting potential for economic development for our companies in view of the planned ASEAN free trade agreement of 2015”, said Jürgen Oswald, Managing Director of bw-i. 

In the ASEAN nations, there are already 482 representatives, 173 branch offices and 62 production facilities of southwest-German companies, including large corporations such as Daimler and Bosch as well as medium-sized enterprises such as Häfele and Kärcher. In 2013, Thailand was the biggest purchaser of products from Baden-Württemberg, buying items to the value of 728 million euros. It was followed closely by Malaysia with 666 million euros and Indonesia with 409 million.

In the last decade, Thailand has become an important location for industry and has now grown to become the ninth largest car maker in the world. Altogether, there are 17 manufacturers and more than 2,000 parts suppliers in the market. Together, they produce 2.5 million cars per year. To what extent the currently difficult political situation in Thailand will have an impact on economic development remains to be seen. In Indonesia with its around 250 million inhabitants, the automotive and mechanical engineering industries are experiencing a boom at the moment. The market for these sectors is growing by over six per cent a year and is creating a rising demand for investment in equipment and machinery. With annual growth rates of around five per cent, Malaysia is already the most important trading partner in the ASEAN area for Baden-Württemberg, after the commercial hub of Singapore.

In the light of this dynamic economic development in the three countries, bw-i organised a Baden-Württemberg forum in Bangkok as well as in Jakarta on the topic of “Customised Automotive and Production Engineering from Baden-Württemberg”. In each of these forums, the German entrepreneurs had the opportunity to present their company to a carefully selected public. In Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), companies from Thailand or Malaysia and from southwest Germany, as well as high-ranking representatives of diverse associations gathered together at a round table meeting to exchange ideas and information. In the context of the contact making sessions organised in Bangkok and Jakarta in collaboration with the chambers of commerce abroad, the participants were able to establish initial contacts with potential business partners.

The schedule of events was rounded off by tours of various companies in the region. For example, when the delegation was in Bangkok, it visited a factory of the Thai car-parts supplier Summit Auto Body Industry (SAB) and the Mercedes-Benz Training Centre. There, the car maker offers its trainees a dual system of academic education and professional training based on the German model. In Kuala Lumpur, the program included a visit to the Malaysian car manufacturer Proton Holdings Berhad. In Jakarta, the delegation from Baden-Württemberg obtained insights into the production methods of Mercedes-Benz Indonesia.  

For information on the strengths of Baden-Württemberg as a location for industry and commerce and as the top innovation region in Europe, please visit our website at: www.bw-invest.de

For further information on the delegation, please have a look here. 



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