SINGAPORE, Maybank Kim Eng Group sees a lot of opportunities to facilitate investment flows into ASEAN from China.

Chief Executive Officer, John Chong said ASEAN accounted for the largest Chinese merger and acquisition (M&A) activities at US$41.5 billion (RM160.82 billion), which is also in line with the country's commitment to the One Belt, One Road Initiative.

"The size of investments is huge compared with other regions globally. Obviously, China's focus is on ASEAN and there is a lot of connectivity within it.

"Maybank is in all 10 countries in the regional grouping and we have the right platform to support any investment that China or any other global investors have in in the region," he told reporters on the sidelines of Invest ASEAN Singapore 2018 here today.

Maybank Singapore Chief Executive Officer, Dr John Lee and Maybank Kim Eng Securities Pte Ltd Chief Executive Officer, Harmeet Bedi were also present.

Between 2006 and 2016, China's outbound investments into ASEAN rose at a compound annual growth rate of 45 per cent to US$71.6 billion (RM277.45 billion) from US$1.8 billion (RM6.98 billion), making it the third largest foreign direct investment contributor to the region.

Chong said the tech sector was also increasingly attracting more Chinese M&A investments in recent years, reflecting the rapid offshore expansion of China's emerging tech titans.

"The majority of ASEAN's tech deals in THE recent past are still at the seed stage. While e-commerce is growing rapidly in the region, the penetration rate remains relatively low at between two and five per cent compared with established markets like China, South Korea and the United States.

"E-commerce transactions are likely to grow exponentially in ASEAN, driven by innovations in e-payments and tech platforms," he added.

Chong said ASEAN governments had embarked on strengthening their logistics to ride on the e-commerce wave.

"I think every country must have a clear strategy and policy on how to build the ecosystem that surrounds the entire growth, including the talent pool. It's not just about the infrastructure," he added.

Chong sees minimal impact from a potential trade war between China and the US on ASEAN, as member countries are not large metal exporters to the two world's biggest economies.

"We are not a large steel and aluminium exporter to the US. Countries that do, include Mexico, Canada, South Korea and China.

"The impact will be more so on them than us. I don't think there is much of an impact on ASEAN as such, he said.

On the brewing trade war, Chong said so far, there was only posturing.

However, he pointed out that if tensions escalated to a trade war, there could be an impact on the global market as China and the US contributed 42 per cent of the world's gross domestic product and 25 per cent of trade.

Source: NAM News Network