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AseanAffairs Magazine July - August 2010
CONTENT • BEYOND ASEAN 
• ASEAN BAZAAR • ASEAN TALK
ASEAN AVIATION • INSIDE OUT
• ASEAN MONEY • OPINION
• ASEAN TRAVELLER • INDIA IN SPOTLIGHT

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What are the key factors an Indian company should take into account before deciding on making an investment in Asean?
Ajit Venkataraman:
It is critical for Indian companies to understand the people of the region and their culture. Although, the countries in the region share a long history, fundamentally, the nature of people is very different. Without understanding this, it will be very difficult to operate.

Companies should have a long term view for the region. This is one of the fundamental ways to win the confidence of the people.

Most of the Indian brands are unknown in the region. Brand building takes time and investment and should not be ignored.

O.P. Modi:

Political and economic structure, banking and finance, foreign investment incentives and restrictions, free trade agreements, taxes, labour environment, government policy and transfer pricing

What do think are the pros and cons of doing business in Asean considering the members’ different levels of development?

Ajit Venkataraman:
The different levels of development in various countries is an opportunity. The more advanced countries offer us an opportunity to accelerate our learning and the less advanced countries offer us an opportunity to improve the quality of life in those countries faster.

O.P. Modi: Pros:
a) Benefits from increased exports and imports, b) Wider access to more markets. Cons: a) more countries must reach agreement in each subsequent round of negotiations b) prolonged decision making/ agreements.

Assuming that you have decided to open a business in Asean, where would you set up your headquarters, why?

Ajit Venkataraman:
We are currently evaluating our options.

O.P. Modi:
Singapore. First and foremost, there are no language barriers. It has traditionally had a dynamic economy, with strong service and manufacturing sectors, and one of the highest per capita gross domestic products (GDP) in the world. Its airport, port and road systems are among the best in the world. Singapore’s economy has always depended on international trade and on the sale of services.

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