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Yunus Thie

European countries and America are both traditional markets for Asian countries as the producers. Many of them are members of ASEAN. While these ASEAN companies are busy with their target markets in Europe and America, they neglect the market nearby. Mr.Hermawan Kartajaya is not only providing the present needs about marketing, but is also very sharp in directing towards the future, beyond the prospective of marketing.

There are many multinational companies established their production facilities in Asian countries ( China and India ), and in ASEAN is even earlier. Their consideration is not only merely because of a cheap labor, but the potential market ASEAN countries have.

Indonesia is considered one of the earlier countries that MNC penetrated due to it's cheap labor. But it was 20 years ago. Now Vietnam is considered most favourable country for investment after PRC for Japanese and Korean companies as per their survey done recently. I believe the same thing is also considered by Taiwanese companies which is the biggest investors in Vietnam in term of number of companies ( 1607 companies as per May 22,2007 - quoted from Vietnam Investment Review June 18,2007 issue ). This figure does not count those investors with Taiwanese origin that invest through their overseas investing company.There was only less than 1,300 Taiwanese conpanies invested in Vietnam 2 years ago.

These MNC are not only looking for the cheaper production cost, but also aiming for the potential market of Vietnam with more than 80 million people. From the cost structure point of view, ASEAN countries should be able to operate more competitive than European and American MNC, provided they can operate efficiently. This is also the main issue for most of ASEAN companies.

Malaysia and Thailand are more agressive in developing their market to ASEAN countries, especially Vietnam. Cambodia, Laos and then Myanmar would be the next. Compare to Malaysia and Thailand, Indonesia is much less agressive, if we do not want to say it passive.

Mr.Hermawan Kartajaya's book "Think ASEAN!"should be considered as the awakening tool to Indonesian business society to look at this market while local market itself is not growing after the crisis 10 years ago.

Indonesia is one of the ASEAN founder, now we look forward to having Indonesia as one of the market leader for the region it established.

Yunus Thie

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