Emerging Asia S.W.O.T. Report

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1 Emerging Asia S.W.O.T. Report August 2011 Economic dynamics 10 Systemic risks External political risks China India Indonesia 0Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Infrastructure Ease of doing business Social instability risks Domestic political risks Comparing risks and opportunities in: China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam POLITICAL & ECONOMIC RISK CONSULTANCY LTD.

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3 Contents I. SUMMARY... 1 II. ASSESSMENT OF BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT... 3 A. ECONOMIC DYNAMICS Growth prospects data Market size prospects data Wealth Inflation Public debt Balance of payments Foreign debt Foreign direct investment inflow dynamism Export dynamism Import dynamism B. HUMAN AND PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT Physical infrastructure/utilities for domestic market International infrastructure links (airports, communications, etc.) Pollution Technical labor pool depth Depth of higher education English speaking / comprehension proficiency of labor force Health facilities Natural disaster disruption potential C. EASE OF DOING BUSINESS D. DOMESTIC POLITICAL RISKS The risk of a change of government and key leaders in coming two years The risk of a disruptive political transition Quality of the government s policies Ineffectiveness of the government in implementing its policies E. SOCIAL INSTABILITY RISKS Labor activism Social activism / unrest Terrorism and personal security risks Extent that regionalism is a problem F. EXTERNAL POLITICAL RISKS Direct military threats Vulnerability to social instability in other countries Vulnerability to policy changes by governments in other countries G. SYSTEMIC RISKS Extent that corruption is a problem Nationalism and other cultural risks Institutional weaknesses... 63

4 4. Intellectual property rights risks III. S.W.O.T. REVIEW A. CHINA B. INDIA C. INDONESIA D. MALAYSIA E. PHILIPPINES F. THAILAND G. VIETNAM APPENDIX 1: FORMULA FOR CALCULATING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT INDEX APPENDIX 2: ALL GRADES USED TO ASSESS THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT APPENDIX 3. ABOUT POLITICAL & ECONOMIC RISK CONSULTANCY, LTD

5 I. SUMMARY Overall Business Environment Scores Economic dynamics Ease of doing business Social instability risks Systemic risks Infrastructure Domestic political risks External political risks China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Grades are scaled from zero to 10, with zero being the best possible and 10 the worst. 1. China has the best overall score of the emerging Asian economies covered by this report, while Indonesia has the worst overall score. However, as the SWOT review in Section III indicates, each country has its own strengths and weaknesses and there are plenty of opportunities in the higher risk countries just as there are numerous threats that investors need to be careful of in the lower risk countries. In fact, while global investors are likely to grow increasingly nervous about China risks in the coming year, they are likely to grow more comfortable with Indonesian risks due to the reliability of the domestic consumer market and the relatively predictable political environment. 2. China stands alone as having the most interesting economic prospects of the seven emerging markets covered by this report, while the Philippines and Vietnam will have to work the hardest to attract foreign investor attention. 3. India is the most difficult country in which to do business, followed by Indonesia and the Philippines, while Thailand and Malaysia are to two countries where it is easiest for foreign investors to do business. However, Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 1

6 domestic political risks are highest in Thailand and Malaysia too, while India s democratic system might be messy but it is also stable. 4. Companies that consider intellectual property risks and other threats posed by China to be unacceptably high are likely to focus more on Malaysia and Thailand, both of which have better reputations for being more straight forward in their approach to foreign investment and trade than the other emerging economies covered in this report. They also offer relatively good human and physical infrastructure support. 5. Social instability risks are highest in India and Indonesia. They are lowest in Vietnam and China, although social instability has been increasing in both these countries lately. 6. External political risks are highest for India due mainly to security threats posed by Pakistan, while China is in second spot in terms of external risks, as it is encountering more friction with many of its neighbors, it is more exposed to instability in developing countries elsewhere due to its growing foreign investments in oil and other commodities, and trading relations with the US and the EU are increasingly problematic. 7. All of the countries covered by this report have some major systemic problems, ranging from corruption to financial sector inadequacies, and other institutional weaknesses. This is one of the main reasons why they are still emerging market economies and have not yet reached developed status. Although systemic deficiencies are some of the biggest problems foreign investors and traders will face in doing business with these countries in the near term, in the medium term some of the biggest opportunities in all the countries covered here will involve providing solutions to the systemic problems namely, environment, human resource, and physical infrastructure deficiencies. Industry-wise, this implies some of the biggest growth opportunities will be in education, health care, environmental clean-up, and the provision of infrastructure that can help countries and major cities overcome gridlock and other bottlenecks that interfere with the movement of people and goods. 8. Corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency will remain prominent problems in all of emerging Asia, but they are not insurmountable obstacles to economic development. The bigger threat to development comes from entrenched local groups (in both the public and state-owned sectors) who fear competition and favor the status quo. Such groups have the capability to block necessary reforms from taking place. Corruption in India and Malaysia, although not worst in absolute terms than in many of the other countries covered by this report, has the potential to be most destabilizing socially and politically in the coming year. Popular backlashes against the problem of graft are building in both these countries. Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 2

7 II. ASSESSMENT OF BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT A. ECONOMIC DYNAMICS Ranking Emerging Asian Countries by Economic Dynamics China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Grades are scaled from zero to 10, with one being the best possible and 10 the worst. Below we give grades on a zero to 10 scale assessing various aspects of the countries we surveyed in terms of economic strengths and weaknesses (S-W). A grade of 10 is the worst grade possible, indicating a serious inadequacy or drawback. A grade of zero is the best grade possible, indicating a very positive feature or aspect of the country. Variables and Grades Assessing Economic Dynamics Variables China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam a. Growth prospects b. Market size c. Wealth d. Inflation e. Public debt f. Balance of payments g. Foreign debt h. Foreign investment success i. Export dynamism j. Import dynamism Economic dynamism score Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 3

8 Data and Definitions Used to Calculate Economic Grades 1. Growth prospects data Real GDP Growth Rate (Percent change) Country Average China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Source: International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database, April 2011 China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Grade for growth prospects Definition: The average annual rate of real GDP growth between 2009 and 2015 as estimated by the IMF in its World Economic Outlook Database in April Grading scale: Grade Real GDP growth rate average 0 >10 1 <10 2 < < <7.5 5 < <6 7 < <4.5 9 < <3 Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 4

9 2. Market size prospects data China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam GDP (US$ billion in 2010) 5, , Population (millions in 2010) 1, , Source: International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database, April 2011 China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam GDP -- US$ billion Population Grade for market size Definition: The simple average of two variables: the US dollar size of the GDP, in current terms in 2010, plus the size of the population in In both cases we used hard data published in the IMF in its World Economic Outlook Database, April Grading scale: Grade GDP size in US$ billion in 2010 Population in millions in >5000 > <5000 <1,000 2 <3999 <500 3 <3000 <250 4 <2000 <200 5 <1000 <100 6 <500 <75 7 <250 <60 8 <200 <50 9 <150 < Size of GDP GDP in US$ billion China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam 10 <100 <30 Size of Population Population in 2010, millions China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 5

10 3. Wealth Per capita GDP (US$ thousand in 2010) China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Source: International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database, April 2011 China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Grade for wealth Definition: The US dollar size of the GDP in 2010 divided by the size of the population for that same year. Grading scale: Grade Per capita GDP (thousands of US$) 0 > < < < < < < < < < < Wealth Per capita GDP in US$ thousands, China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam 4. Inflation Country Average China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Source: International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database, April 2011, except for Vietnam. We used our own forecasts for 2011 and 2012 for Vietnam. Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 6

11 China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Grade for inflation Definition: The average annual rate of consumer price inflation for the previous year, the current year and the forecast rate for the coming year. Grading scale: Grade Consumer price inflation 0 <1 1 <2 2 <3 3 <4 4 <5 5 <6 6 <8 7 <10 8 <15 9 <20 10 > Inflation Annual average consumer price inflation between 2010 and China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam 5. Public debt Public debt as a percentage of GDP in 2010 China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam 17.5% 55.9% 26.4% 53.1% 56.5% 42.3% 56.7% Source: CIA World Factbook China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Grade for public debt Definition: The US dollar size of the public debt in 2010 divided by the size of the GDP for that same year. Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 7

12 Grading scale: Grade Public debt to GDP ratio 0 <10 1 <15 2 <20 3 <25 4 <30 5 <35 6 <40 7 <50 8 <100 9 < > % 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Public Debt Public debt as a percentage of GDP in % 53.1% 56.5% 56.7% 42.3% 26.4% 17.5% China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam 6. Balance of payments Current Account BoP as a Percentage of GDP (Percentage) Country Average China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Source: International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database, April 2011 China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Grade for balance of payments Definition: The current account balance of payments measured in US dollars divided by the Gross Domestic Product in current US dollar terms. Estimates for 2009 and 2010 and forecasts for 2011 and 2012 are provided by the IMF in its World Economic Outlook Database in April Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 8

13 Grading scale: Grade Current account BoP/GDP 0 >15 1 > > >4-6 4 >2-4 5 >0-2 6 > > > < Balance of Payments % Current account-to-gdp average for China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam 7. Foreign debt China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam External debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product in % 15.42% 27.75% 30.51% 31.67% 25.87% 32.30% Source: CIA World Factbook China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Grade for foreign debt Definition: The US dollar size of the external debt in 2010 divided by the size of the Gross Domestic Product for that same year. Grading scale: Grade External debt as a % of GDP 0 <5% 1 <10% 2 <15% 3 <20% 4 <25% 5 <30% 6 <35% 7 <40% 8 <50% 9 <100% % Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 9

14 8. Foreign direct investment inflow dynamism Stock of FDI (US$ billion through December 2010) China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Per capita FDI through 2010 (US$) Source: CIA World Factbook. China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Stock of FDI Per capita FDI Grade for foreign investment dynamism Definition: The simple average of two variables: the US dollar size of total stock of foreign direct investment inflow through December 2010 plus the per capita size of stock of FDI inflow for that same period. Our logic for combining these two variables is that the absolute size of the FDI inflow is an indication of the focus of interest on the part of foreign investors while the per capita FDI size is an indication of both the openness and wealth of the country to foreign investment. We chose the stock of foreign investment rather than FDI inflow for a single year because the longer term is a better indication of the consistency of government policies and investor interest. Grading scale: Grade Stock of FDI inflow (US$ billion through Dec. 2010) Per capita stock of FDI through Dec (US$) 0 >500 > <500 < <400 < <300 < <200 < <100 < <75 <750 7 <50 <500 8 <40 <400 9 <30 < <20 <200 Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 10

15 Foreign Direct Investment Per Capita FDI Stock of FDI through 2010, US$ billion 3,000 2,500 Per capita stock of FDI through Dec. 2010, US$ 2, China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam 2,000 1,500 1, , China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam 9. Export dynamism Merchandise exports (US$ bil. in 2010) China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Per capita exports in 2010 (US$) Average annual growth rate of exports between 2001 and % 17.4% 10.7% 8.6% 4.1% 11.7% 18.0% Sources: Asian Development Bank, Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific. Figures for 2010 are national estimates. China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Grade for merchandise exports in Grade for per capita exports in Grade for average annual growth rate of exports between 2001 and Average Definition: The simple average of three variables: the US dollar size of merchandise exports in 2010, the per capita size of exports for that same year, and the average annual growth of merchandise exports for the decade from 2001 through Grading scale: Grade Exports (US$ billion in 2010) Per capita exports in 2010 (US$) Average annual growth rate of exports between 2001 and >2000 >5000 >30 1 <2000 <5000 <30 2 <1500 <4000 <20 3 <1000 <3000 <18 4 <500 <2000 <16 5 <250 <1500 <14 6 <200 <1000 <12 Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 11

16 7 <150 <750 <10 8 <100 <500 <8 9 <75 <300 <6 10 <50 <200 <4 Total Merchandise Exports 1,800 1,600 1,400 1,200 1, Merchandise exports in 2010 in US dollar billion China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Per Capita Exports in ,000 7,000 6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0 Per capita exports in 2010 in US dollars China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 12

17 Export Growth Dynamism 25% 20% Average annual export growth between 2001 and % 17.4% 18.0% 15% 10% 10.7% 8.6% 11.7% 5% 4.1% 0% China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam 10. Import dynamism Merchandise imports (US$ bil. in 2010) China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Per capita imports in 2010 (US$) Average annual growth rate of imports between 2001 and % 8.4% 4.2% 12.0% 20.0% 18.0% 20.4% Sources: Asian Development Bank, Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific. Figures for 2010 are national estimates. Grade for merchandise imports size in 2010 China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Grade for per capita imports in Grade for average annual growth rate of imports between 2001 and Average Definition: The simple average of three variables: the US dollar size of merchandise imports in 2010, the per capita size of imports for that same year, and the average annual growth of merchandise imports for the decade from 2001 through Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 13

18 Grading scale: Grade Imports (US$ billion in 2010) Per capita imports in 2010 (US$) Average annual growth rate of imports between 2001 and >2000 >5000 >30 1 <2000 <5000 <30 2 <1500 <4000 <20 3 <1000 <3000 <18 4 <500 <2000 <16 5 <250 <1500 <14 6 <200 <1000 <12 7 <150 <750 <10 8 <100 <500 <8 9 <75 <300 <6 10 <50 <200 <4 Total Merchandise Imports 1,600 1,400 1,200 1, Merchandise imports in 2010 in US dollar billion China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 14

19 Per Capita Imports in ,000 6,000 Per capita imports in 2010 in US dollars ,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1, China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Import Growth Dynamism 25% 20% Average annual import growth between 2001 and % 21.3% 19.3% 18.0% 15% 10% 5% 9.4% 5.8% 12.3% 0% China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 15

20 B. HUMAN AND PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT Overall Scores for Human and Physical Infrastructure Support China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam Grades are scaled from zero to 10, with zero being the best possible and 10 the worst. We got the grades for this section by interviewing expatriate managers in the countries. We asked each manager to use his/her subjective opinion to grade the specific infrastructure / backdrop feature on a one to 10 scale, with one being the best grade possible and 10 the worst. We limited the survey audience to expatriates because they have foreign reference points against which to benchmark local conditions, whereas many local managers lack such reference points. The survey audience consisted of at least 100 people in each of the countries surveyed. Respondents provided scores only for the country in which they are residing and working, not for other countries in the region. Following the table of grades is a brief explanation explaining the specific infrastructure and backdrop conditions. These are the views of PERC s senior analysts shaped by their personal experiences and the comments of the survey respondents. Variables and Grades Assessing Human and Physical Infrastructure Support Variables China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam a. Physical infrastructure/utilities for domestic market b. International infrastructure links (ports, airports, communications, Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 16

21 etc.) c. Pollution d. Technical labor pool depth e. Depth of higher education f. English speaking / comprehension proficiency g. Health facilities h. Natural disaster disruption potential Infrastructure and backdrop score Grades range from zero to 10, with zero being the best possible and 10 the worst. Explanation for Human and Physical Infrastructure Support Grades 1. Physical infrastructure/utilities for domestic market Country Grade Rationale China 5.00 China is a big country and there are still parts, particularly inland, where the infrastructure is inadequate. If we were rating only the major coastal cities, China s score would be much better, but these more developed regions still have trouble interfacing with inland regions, where the quality of infrastructure is worse. The government has been aggressively investing in roads, rail facilities, power, domestic communications and other facilities and conditions today are much, much better than they were just a decade ago. The biggest problem in the near term will relate to traffic on roads and rail facilities. They are increasingly clogged due to heavy freight usage (particularly moving coal). Safety issues are also a concern. India India has not invested nearly as much in its domestic infrastructure as China has. Consequently, it is much more difficult moving goods around the country. Power blackouts are a serious problem. Water is in short supply in many areas. The poor quality of India s physical infrastructure is one of the country s biggest problems. Indonesia 8.00 One of President Susilo s biggest failures to date has been his inability to stimulate investment in physical infrastructure despite his labeling this a top priority. Two big signposts to watch in the immediate future are new investments in the power sector and the success or failure of a mass transit railway project in Jakarta. Malaysia 4.00 Malaysia has relatively good infrastructure. There are some periodic problems with power and water, but overall conditions are quite good and the infrastructure for moving goods around the country is adequate. Philippines 9.00 The Philippines has not invested nearly as much as it should in maintaining existing physical infrastructure and building new infrastructure. It is difficult moving goods around the country and companies need to invest in back-up Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 17

22 systems to make up for public infrastructure deficiencies. Thailand 3.00 Until the recent political turmoil, Thailand had been doing a good job of improving its physical infrastructure. The political turmoil has slowed new infrastructure investment and is diverting resources away from what should be priority areas to political powerful areas like the military, which could mean bigger problems further down, but the quality of the country s current domestic infrastructure is still good relative to most of the other emerging countries covered here. Vietnam 9.00 Vietnam has not invested nearly enough in physical infrastructure. There are deficiencies and delays in the development of interprovincial roads, bridges, intra-city public transportation and power projects. The transport infrastructure system in Vietnam had fallen far behind economic growth and is an impediment to those who want to expand their businesses in the nation. Rail service is shoddy, four-lane highways are an exception rather than a rule, and airports are only just beginning to be modernized. 2. International infrastructure links (airports, communications, etc.) Country Grade Rationale China 3.00 China would score the best of all emerging countries rated here if our grade were confined to the quality of international infrastructure links in major coastal cities and national development zones like Pudong and Tianjin, but infrastructure in second- and third-tier cities is not as developed, which is one of the main reasons why the major coastal cities have such a big advantage over more inland cities, where it is more difficult to get goods into and out of the country. India 9.00 Civil aviation and ports are crying out for modernization. India would deserve a 10 were it not for the country s international telecommunications links, which are good enough to have enabled the country to become the world s premier backroom processing center. International airports and the quality of international air services are improving as the government allows the private sector to play a larger role. Indonesia 8.00 Indonesia has a few ports and airports such as near Jakarta and in Batam that are not bad by international standards, but efficiency even at these ports of entry is poor. The physical quality of ports and airports in many other parts of the sprawling archipelago is very poor. Malaysia 4.00 Malaysia s ports and airport links, as well as its international communications links, are quite good. If anything, they are under-utilized relative to their capacity. Philippines 8.00 The Philippines ports and airports are notoriously bad. In addition to poor maintenance and physical standards, bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption are other problems. As in India, telecommunications infrastructure is better than the infrastructure required to ship goods into and out of the country, so the Philippines has been able to develop backroom processing industries. Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 18

23 Thailand 3.00 Thailand has invested quite heavily in its ports and airport infrastructure. Statistics indicate that Laem Chabang port can compete with ports in the region relatively well in areas of freight carrying rates and docking times. Malaysia actually has better sea ports than Thailand, but we gave Thailand a better grade overall mainly because its international airport has many more direct international flights to more parts of the world. Vietnam 9.00 Most of Vietnam s ports are relatively small with obsolete facilities and poor support services. For now, Vietnam is a feeder country in the context of global trade, relying on transshipment in one of Asia s larger ports to get its goods to the rest of the world. On the import side, it relies overwhelmingly on Asia, with eight of every 10 boxes coming into Vietnam provided by its Asian neighbors. 3. Pollution Country Grade Rationale China 9.00 China has a big problem with air and water pollution. Some cities are worse than others, but the quality of the environment nationwide has suffered as a result of rapid industrialization. Official statistics understate the actual magnitude of the problem, but the poor quality of air and water are some of the biggest complaints that expatriates working in the country have. India 9.00 Industrial pollution, soil erosion, deforestation, poor water quality, and land degradation are all worsening problems. The government is also constrained financially from mounting an effective program to pay for the clean-up. Indonesia 7.00 The problem of pollution in Indonesia is largely regional. Some parts of the country, like Bali, are pristine, but others like Jakarta are suffering from air, water, and other types of pollution that are as bad as in any major city in Asia. Unfortunately, the quality of the physical environment is worst in the most populated areas. Poor waste management, traffic and weak regulation of industrial waste are all contributing factors. Water is not potable. Only bottled water should be consumed. Sewage and drainage systems are incomplete. In rural areas, the burning of rainforests, illegal mining and other abuses are contributed to environmental degradation. Malaysia 5.00 The Green movement is fairly strong in Malaysia, and parts of the country market themselves on the basis of their eco-tourism potential. Part of Malaysia s problem with air pollution is imported from Indonesia due to the forest fires that sometime burn there. The country also has its own problems dealing with industry and vehicular emissions, as well as waste management, but it generally does a better job of managing these environmental issues than other emerging Asian economies. Philippines 6.00 Water pollution is probably a bigger problem than air pollution in the Philippines. The discharge of domestic and industrial wastewater and agricultural runoff has caused extensive pollution of the receiving water-bodies. The government is unable to back up its strong environmental rhetoric and regulations with action. Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd. Page 19

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