The Economist Corporate Network launched its 2017 Asia Business Outlook Survey, “Navigating Asia’s risks and rewards” this week, in which over 200 Asia-based executives shared their expectations for the year ahead. As the overall economy impacts all businesses, including ecommerce, here are the most important highlights you should know:

1. Southeast Asia ranks first for revenue growth expectations in 2017

In Southeast Asia, overwhelming majority or 80.2% of executives this year predict revenues to increase. The mood is slightly more optimistic in the region compared to 2016 when 77.8% of executives were looking forward to higher revenues. Only 0.8% of respondents expect a revenue decline.

Source: The Economist Corporate Network


2. Yet, fewer executives than a year ago expect double-digit sales growth

As many as one in five executives in Southeast Asia are expecting their sales growth to exceed 10%. This is down from 31.9% of executives who expected bullish sales in 2016.

3. Most companies in Southeast Asia expect to make a profit

90% of executives who participated in The Economist Corporate Network’s survey said they expected to have a profit. This is slightly more than in 2016. Fewer also expect to have losses.

4. Conditions for basing regional operations have deteriorated in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta

Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta along with Hong Kong, Beijing and Deli all registered 20% or more respondents indicating that conditions for basing regional operations have deteriorated. 

The political and policy uncertainty worries executives operating in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. While the infamous traffic due to lack of proper transport infrastructure is the main issue of worry for companies operating in Jakarta.

5. Attracting and keeping talent is tough in Southeast Asia

While professionals in Southeast Asia understand that talent is scarce, The Economist Corporate Network’s report shows a glimpse at how big turnover rates are. Half of the executives surveyed reported their company’s annual staff turnover to be between 6 to 15%.


You can download the full report from The Economist Corporate Network’s website or on our website’s reports section.

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