Spotlight on business opportunities in Asean at BT Leaders' Forum

Asean has experienced impressive growth in recent years, but is still facing hurdles to realising its full potential.

The Business Times Leaders' Forum - back for its third run this year - brings together thought leaders from the public and private sectors to discuss prospects and challenges in the region.

The forum, which will be held on May 21 at the Shangri-La Hotel, will offer insights on opportunities in Asean that can help businesses counter the rising tide of protectionism worldwide.

"Asean's prospects are bright - investment interest in the region in the coming years will be high, on the back of rising infrastructure spending on regional transport connectivity and the growth of the digital economy," said Business Times editor Wong Wei Kong.

"But companies keen on growing in the region still face hurdles - for example, Asean economies have yet to become meaningfully integrated, which means investors often encounter regulatory and trade barriers.

"Many companies also struggle to hire the right talent when expanding abroad," he noted, adding that the forum seeks to address some of these issues.


  • WHEN: May 21

  • WHERE: Shangri-La Hotel


    • Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing

    • Mr Liew Mun Leong, chairman of Changi Airport Group and Surbana Jurong Private Limited

    • Lazada Singapore chief executive Alexis Lanternier • Singapore Business Federation chief Ho Meng Kit

    • Mr Tan Soon Kim, assistant chief executive of Enterprise Singapore

  • For more details and to register, go to

Mr Chan Chun Sing, who assumed his new portfolio as Minister for Trade and Industry on Tuesday after three years in the labour movement, will deliver the keynote address at the forum.

He is one of the fourth-generation leaders regarded as front runners to be the next prime minister.

The event will also feature Mr Liew Mun Leong, chairman of Changi Airport Group and Surbana Jurong Private Limited.

He will talk about prospects for improving infrastructure and connectivity in the region.

Mr Chan and Mr Liew will also join a panel discussion about what companies have to do to win in Asean.

The panel includes three other speakers - Lazada Singapore chief executive officer Alexis Lanternier; Singapore Business Federation chief executive officer Ho Meng Kit; and Mr Tan Soon Kim, assistant chief executive officer of Enterprise Singapore, the government agency spearheading enterprise development.

The forum will also feature findings from a survey that polled business leaders on their Asean operations as well as their views on prospects and challenges in the region.

Survey results and insights will be presented by Mr Edward Lee, Standard Chartered Bank's chief economist for Asean and South Asia.

Ms Judy Hsu, StanChart's chief executive officer for Singapore and Asean markets, said it is an "opportune time" for businesses to explore regional growth plans.

"Based on our experiences, businesses interested in regional expansion often find it difficult to understand local regulations and practices as well as identify relevant and trustworthy local partners," she noted.

"We hope that insights from industry leaders at the forum will give Singapore companies a clearer picture of the opportunities, and what it takes to overcome the challenges and successfully capture the region's huge potential."

Correction note: This story has been edited for clarity. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 03, 2018, with the headline 'Spotlight on business opportunities in Asean at BT Leaders' Forum'. Subscribe