South East Asia

POSTPONING his usual holiday in Cornwall last summer, Prime Minister David Cameron led a trade delegation to South East Asia. Over the four days of his visit, taking in meetings with heads of state and business leaders in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, the PM got some idea of the logistical issues facing UK companies doing business in South East Asia. The region has 3.5 time zones, comprises 11 countries and has a population of 618 million people speaking 13 main languages.

South East Asia

In addition, it is the world’s third-largest consumer market, attracts more inward investment than China, and has impressive annual growth of almost 6%.

According to UK Trade & Investment, there are rich pickings in the region, with a rapidly expanding consumer class demanding everything from washing machines and vacuum cleaners to higher education, healthcare and luxury goods.

The Prime Minister, however, was specifically promoting the UK’s expertise in space technology. In this area, he announced that the UK Space agency is funding a project between Spire UK and Singapore’s Economic Development Board. The aim is to develop a novel project that will allow fishing authorities and coast guards to detect and track illegal fishing, a common problem in developing nations.

Be they in aerospace or washing machines, UK executives thinking of fishing legally in the potentially rich waters of South East Asia face a 13- or 14-hour trip to get there, but the catch could be significant

Asia flights

Getting around
Regional and domestic flights in South East Asia are affordable, convenient and plentiful. Domestic routes in Malaysia, for example, are flown by Berjaya Air and budget operator AirAsia, the latter also offering regional services to Bangkok, Jakarta, Phnom Penh, Hanoi and Brunei. Other international carriers with numerous regional and homegrown routes include Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific and Garuda Indonesia, plus Singapore Airlines and its sister carrier Silk Air. The latter pair together serve the majority of the destinations in our review from the city state on an extensive regional network that includes no less than 71 flights a week to Kuala Lumpur, for example. Low-cost airlines have also blossomed in the region, among them Indonesia’s Citilink, Golden Myanmar Airlines, Singapore’s Jetstar and Tiger Air and Vietjet, of Vietnam.

Destinations requiring onestop Connections from the uk
BRUNEI Royal Brunei flies daily from London Heathrow via Dubai to Bandar Seri Begawan • CAMBODIA Asiana Airlines, China Eastern, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines/Silk Air, Thai Airways and Vietnam Airlines all fly from the UK via their respective hubs to phnom penh. Bangkok Airways also operates from the Thai capital to phnom penh • EAST TIMOR Fly to Singapore and join Air Timor services to Dili • LAOS Fly to capital city Vientiane with Vietnam Airlines via Hanoi or with Thai Airways via Bangkok • MYANMAR one-stop options to Yangon include Air China, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Vietnam Airlines via their respective hubs •

Information correct at time of publication: May 2016