ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
AFRENCH publication company l’Essentiel des relations internationales is setting its sights on the fast-growing ASEAN region.
The firm, which recently profiled Brunei in its bi-monthly magazine, wants to be a platform for information for French and French-speaking investors with regards to the opportunities for investment in ASEAN.
Here, The Brunei Times reporter Leo Kasim, speaks to Laurent Taieb (pic), director-general of Prestige Communication, on its plans for the region.
Apart from Brunei, is the magazine also aiming for a wider and regional coverage?
Our magazine is very well known in France, Europe and Africa, and bearing in mind the ASEAN zone’s economic dynamics, we wish to reinforce our presence and develop in Southeast Asia which we believe is a fast-growing region.
We have decided to begin with Brunei because of its political stability and economic opportunities and good leadership among other things.
We do have real development strategy in ASEAN and we’ll soon turn the spotlight on other countries in the region.
For now, we are proud of the issue on Brunei because of its rich and comprehensive content. There are interviews with various personalities including with His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam. That is quite rare to see in the French media.
We have collaborated with Bruneian authorities in working to extend the reach of Brunei in Europe and making investors aware of the numerous economic opportunities available. Brunei can indisputably become an economic hub for French companies wishing to develop further in the region.
From your perspective, how are the French companies responding when it comes to investment in Brunei and ASEAN? Are they also hoping to tap into the economic opportunities in the fast-growing ASEAN region?
There are many French companies that are already in the ASEAN because it is a dynamic economic market made up of many countries with a 600 million population.
For our issue on Brunei, we highlighted the investment opportunities because there are French companies that know the region and are still thinking about Brunei’s hydrocarbons supply. The Brunei government has also undertaken an interesting diversification policy which may no doubt attract interest from French companies in other sectors.
Brunei lies in the heart of the ASEAN and cities such as Saigon, Singapore and Bangkok are only within a few hours’ flight. Brunei is also attractive with its tax system for foreign investors and is economically stable making it an ideal location as a hub for companies.
Companies can operate in Brunei in very secure conditions thanks notably to laws with regard to investment protection and overall security.
French companies have strong expertise in many fields such as the food-processing industry, high tech and advanced technologies, luxury and communication, so it is obvious that they can see opportunities to develop both in Brunei and in ASEAN as a whole.
On the other hand, halal certification of food and pharmaceutical products which Brunei has developed can also be exported to France which is a gateway to French-speaking African countries where there is a large Muslim population.
Which ASEAN country is the magazine planning to cover next?
We intend to publish a complete survey on the Philippines shortly. In 2017, it will be the 70th anniversary of France-Philippines relations.
That is why we have decided to highlight this country and present its new vision under the leadership of its new president.
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