ASEAN's fast growth a major reason for increased presence in the region
THE recent launch of General Electric International Inc (GE) in Brunei demonstrated the company's continuing commitment to expanding operations and growing with the ASEAN region.
As the eighth country office to be set up in ASEAN and with plans to open up in Myanmar by the end of the year, the American giant is expanding its footprint in the regional bloc which is home to some of the world's fastest growing and resource-rich emerging markets.
"GE has had a long standing presence in this region, and a successful track record in co-creating with local partners to facilitate the development of the most advantageous solutions to the region's challenges," said Stuart Dean, the chief executive officer of GE ASEAN during the launch of the company's office in Brunei two days ago.
Dean said that although the company's headquarters is based in the US, GE is a global company with operations in more than 100 countries around the world, and with more than half of its employees and revenues are from outside the US.
"And as you can imagine as we look at opportunities over the next 10 to 20 years, we're only going to become more global because of the fast growing emerging markets like ASEAN, that are going to grow faster than the more developed markets," the CEO added.
ASEAN, he said, is in a great position to grow as it is open to foreign investment.
Dean also praised the increasing integration of ASEAN through its concept of an ASEAN Economic Community as opposed to the European Union's vision of political and social community.
"That concept makes a lot of sense for this region which has been so good at trading with the rest of the world and being open to ideas from everywhere. We have a big, integrated ASEAN market that will get more economies of scale which allow it to continue to compete effectively with China and India," he added.
He said that GE is in a unique position to be able to capitalise on that strength as it would enable the company to use ASEAN as a base from which it can export to the rest of the world.
"In fact, we do about 3 billion dollars of revenues in the ASEAN region, but we export about 3 billion dollars from ASEAN to outside ASEAN, so we have balanced trade in and out of ASEAN which I think is a great example of a win-win that we like to create everywhere," he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of GE's presence in Brunei, the CEO said that the Sultanate has a unique role to play as it is one of the region's wealthiest economies, particularly in the energy sector.
The recent opening of the office represents a strategic move by GE recognising Brunei's burgeoning energy growth, where the oil and gas sector contributes to about half of the economy and over 90 per cent export earnings.
"Brunei is at the heart of ASEAN's energy sector so it has that strength that it can leverage to do more. The country is also at the heart of this kind of East Asian growth triangle in this region, so I think there are great opportunities for Brunei," he said.
The company currently has long-term service projects with Brunei Shell Petroleum and Brunei LNG Sdn Bhd, and is a key energy partner in Brunei where GE technology is used for the country's power generation installed base.
The CEO also highlighted the strong existing Brunei-US ties, as the two are working hard to move forward through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. Set to be completed later this year, the 21st century trade pact will link US, Brunei and other TPP partner countries.
"TPP will be a huge advantage in Brunei as it helps put the country on the map for a lot of American investors. The trade pact will put its various members into the 'premiere league' of the global trading countries around the world," he said.The Brunei Times
Thursday, July 5, 2012
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