Southeast Asia’s booming digital economy and why it matters

For decades, Southeast Asia has been among the fastest growing economies in the world and a major magnet of foreign investment. The region is on course to become the world’s largest single market by 2030, propelled by a number of factors such as dynamic economic activity, favorable demographics, openness to international trade, relatively stable and pro-business government policies, bustling entrepreneurial activity, and a recently rising trend that should not go overlooked – a surging digital economy. It is this latter development that Access Asia Group is keenly following due to its immense impact on overall economic, social and even political […]

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Thailand on the Rebound

The Omicron variants – and whatever else Covid-19 may deign to throw at us in the year ahead – notwithstanding, Thailand now appears ready to turn things around, both in terms of tourism and in terms of getting the economy back on track in general.

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Vietnam Update Oct 4: Ho Chi Minh City’s first weekend under the new normal

After months of some form of a lockdown, Vietnam’s largest city and epicenter of the country’s fourth Covid wave, Ho Chi Minh City, enjoyed its first weekend under relaxed restrictions. A sense of normalcy is returning, yet Vietnam’s Covid-19 battle is far from over. The following is Access Asia’s latest update on the situation in Vietnam in collaboration with Vietnam Weekly, a subscription-based publication covering current affairs in Vietnam. On Friday afternoon, Ho Chi Minh City’s overarching new pandemic rules got an official name: Directive 18. This codified the sweeping loosening of restrictions and the impact this weekend was as […]

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Vietnam Update: Lockdown lifted in Ho Chi Minh City

After months of some form of a lockdown, Vietnam’s largest city and epicenter of the country’s fourth Covid wave, Ho Chi Minh City, has lifted its “shelter-in-place” order and is allowing many businesses to resume operations. Finally, it seems that a sense of normalcy is returning, yet the city’s battle against Covid-19 is far from over. The following is Access Asia’s latest update on the situation in Vietnam in collaboration with Vietnam Weekly, a subscription-based publication covering current affairs in Vietnam. Starting today (Oct 1), businesses in Ho Chi Minh City except for bars, spas, karaoke and massage parlors, beauty […]

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Vietnam Update Sept 27: End of lockdown in sight

After weeks of reporting mostly negative developments about the Covid-19 pandemic in Vietnam, this week’s update is finally positive. Several key health indicators here have improved recently, while there has been a lot of official discussion of a ‘new normal’ beginning October 1 (Ho Chi Minh City’s strict “shelter-in-place” lockdown expires on September 30). The seven-day rolling national average of Covid cases has fallen to 9,938 – the lowest that number has been in about five weeks – and health officials said that Ho Chi Minh City has passed its peak. Large-scale testing in at-risk areas over the weekend returned a positivity […]

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Vietnam Update: August 30

As we end the month of August, Vietnam has now gone four months of an uphill battle against its fourth wave of Covid cases, a battle that due to strict containment measures has shuttered the economy, disrupted supply chains and of course uprooted people’s livelihoods. Unfortunately, the light at the end of the tunnel is still not appearing as covid cases continue to rise. Yet, we are hopeful that we are either at or very near the peak and that numbers will begin a steady downturn, restrictions steadily eased, and a sense of normalcy can return. One thing is certain […]

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Vietnam Update August 27: Vaccine diplomacy with another health twist

As Vietnam continues to battle major Covid-19 outbreaks throughout the country, in which strict containment measures have shuttered economy activity, supply chains and of course people’s livelihoods, an interesting form of vaccine diplomacy occurred earlier this week with another health-related twist – Havana Syndrome. On Tuesday, there was a three hour delay in the flight departure of US Vice President Kamala Harris flying from Singapore to Hanoi due to a report of a “recent possible anomalous health incident” in Hanoi. The incident is being investigated by the US as possible cases of Havana Syndrome, the term used for a rash […]

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Vietnam Update: August 23

Vietnam’s Covid-19 situation has worsened over the past week, while events over the weekend in Ho Chi Minh City – the current epicentre of Vietnam’s fourth wave – were somewhat chaotic due to a lack of clarity on the next phase of the city’s response to containing the outbreak. City residents scrambled to buy supplies in anticipation of a city-wide blockade and a strict stay at home policy, likely creating a number of super-spreading incidents.  We expect the worst has yet to come for HCMC and that the number of cases and fatalities will continue to spike in the coming […]

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Vietnam: COVID-19 comes for the economy

Vietnam is battling major Covid-19 outbreaks throughout the country as the Delta variant unleashes its havoc on a country that up until a few months ago had been mostly spared from the pandemic. Strict containment measures, mostly in the form of hard lock downs, have taken a major toll on the livelihoods of millions as economic activity shutters.  In this update, which is in  in collaboration with Vietnam Weekly, we are going to take a closer look at the economic impact of the current outbreak (Vietnam’s fourth wave which began in late April). COVID-19 comes for the economy In late April, Vietnam […]

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Vietnam Update: Lockdowns extended as limited headway is made in Covid-19 fight

As Vietnam continues to  battle major Covid-19 outbreaks throughout the country, strict lock-downs have been extended, with Ho Chi Minh City extending its current lock-down for at least one more month. Unfortunately, despite strict containment measures and a rapid vaccination roll-out program, the country is making limited headway against the Delta variant in this fourth wave of Covid cases in Vietnam.  Here is Access Asia’s Monday update on the situation in collaboration with Vietnam Weekly, a subscription-based publication covering current affairs in Vietnam. Data update Last Thursday night, this outbreak’s COVID-19 case total was 242,552, with 152,561 active infections. Those figures […]

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Vietnam Update: 13 August

Vietnam is continuing to battle major Covid-19 outbreaks throughout the country and unfortunately this past week has not seen any major breakthrough in curbing the situation. The good news, however, is that the vaccination drive is pushing ahead at full speed and the situation in Ho Chi Minh City, the epicentre, appears to be stabilizing. The following is Access Asia Group’s latest update on the Covid-19 situation in collaboration with Vietnam Weekly, a subscription-based publication covering current affairs in Vietnam. The latest data At the start of the week, 206,439 cases had been detected in this outbreak. That figure is now 242,552, 152,561 […]

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Vietnam Update: August 9

Vietnam is battling major Covid-19 outbreaks throughout the country as the Delta variant unleashes its havoc on a country that up until a few months ago  had been mostly spared from the pandemic. Here is Access Asia’s Monday update in collaboration with Vietnam Weekly, a subscription-based publication covering current affairs in Vietnam. The latest data Last Thursday night, this outbreak had accounted for 185,004 cases of community transmission, a figure that is now 206,439 (135,462 of which are active). In a concerning development yesterday set a new single-day case record, 9,684. Vietnam had gone over a week without breaking any records. […]

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Vietnam Weekly Update: August 6

Vietnam is continuing to battle major Covid-19 outbreaks as the Delta variant takes its course over a country that up until April had been mostly spared from the pandemic. The good news is that data over the last few days indicates cases may have plateaued (granted it may be too early to draw any conclusions). Certainly, aggressive containment measures and  a major vaccination mobilization campaign are working, yet the battle will be a drawn out one as strict containment measures cannot be in place indefinitely without major economic and social repercussions. The following is Access Asia Group’s latest update on the […]

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Vietnam Update: July 30

Vietnam is continuing to see a major surge in Covid-19 cases after tremendous success in containing the virus for three waves from January 2020 to April 2021. Now, the the highly contagious Delta variant is spreading aggressively throughout the country, with the epicentre being the country’s economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City. The following is Access Asia Group’s latest update on the Covid-19 situation in collaboration with Vietnam Weekly, a subscription-based publication covering current affairs in Vietnam. Data update Through the course of this week, this outbreak has grown in size from 94,666 community infections to 124,584, bringing the national pandemic total […]

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Vietnam Covid-19 Update: July 28

Vietnam is continuing to see a major surge in Covid-19 cases after remarkable success in containing the virus up until the last few months. As the highly contagious Delta variant spreads throughout the country, a major short-coming has been the country’s slow vaccine roll-out program. Ironically this is mostly a result of Vietnam’s initial success in containing the virus in that the country was slow to place and prioritize vaccine orders as the situation was well under control until only recently. The following is Access Asia Group’s latest update on the situation in collaboration with Vietnam Weekly, one of the few […]

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Vietnam Weekly Update: July 26

After remarkable success in containing the Covid-19 pandemic from January 2020 to April 2021, the situation has turned in Vietnam as the Delta variant surges throughout many parts of the country. The worst hit is the country’s economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City, which will make the overall economic impact of this fourth wave significant. Strict lock-downs are significantly disrupting businesses and supply chains, while the socio-economic security of millions are at a risk level not seen for decades in Vietnam. Yet, the government’s containment policy is clear, strong and decisive (unlike many other countries, particularly in the West): Protecting public health […]

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Vietnam’s LNG-to-Power Transition

On December 14, the United States and Japan issued a joint statement in support of Vietnam’s energy transition through LNG utilization. The statement made it clear that liquified natural gas (LNG) was key to ensuring Vietnam’s energy security, while reducing air pollution and assisting in transitioning to a low-carbon future.

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In the valley of gold

Val-d’Or, a sub-arctic town in North Quebec,is isolated from the global economic crisis: its economy is booming; fueled by rich gold deposits from the massive Canadian Malartic mine – and gold prices are surging, having reached over $1800, up from about $1300 last year.

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Access Asia Group Welcomes George McLeod as Managing Partner

SINGAPORE: Access Asia Group (“AAG”) is pleased to welcome George McLeod as a new Managing Partner. George will be based in between Thailand and Canada and will drive AAG’s continued expansion as a leading investigations provider. He brings over 20 years’ experience to AAG that includes serving as PwC’s regional head of Corporate Intelligence. He also served as a financial journalist and a United Nations spokesman. “We are thrilled to bring George on board. Access Asia Group is a fast-growing firm in the investigative due diligence sector; positioned in a region leading the world in growth, innovation and opportunity. George […]

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Taiwan: Risk Update

Taiwan’s advantages as a place to do business are manifold: it’s strategically located within easy reach of China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia. It has a massive industrial base – Taiwan is the world’s fourth largest electronics producer – with significant research and development (R&D) supported by public spending. It also has a highly educated and skilled workforce.

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Cambodia: Risk Update

By most measurements, the Cambodian economy is healthy. The Asian Development Bank forecasts economic growth of 7% in 2019 and 6.8% for 2020, while the World Bank considers economic growth to be “better than expected” because of increasing exports, growing internal demand, and consistency in foreign investment. But structural problems persist. Cambodia is repeatedly ranked as one of the worst countries in Southeast Asia for corruption. Money laundering remains rife, especially in the gaming and property sectors. The global money-laundering watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FAFT) put Cambodia on its list of countries “highly vulnerable to money laundering” in February. Meanwhile, almost all international financial institutions recommend faster diversification away from low-cost, low-skilled manufacturing, and for Cambodia to carve a niche in high-skilled assembly before others nations in Southeast Asia, namely Thailand and Vietnam, dominate certain industries.

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