Southeast Asia is rising as a global leader with a fast-growing economy and enormous potential.
First established in 1967 with five countries, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN is currently made up of 10 Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
It represents one of the world's largest economic blocs with a total population of over 652-million as of 2018.
The total trade volume reached over 2.8 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018, while the combined GDP amounted to more than 2.9 trillion dollars, which is around 3 percent of total global GDP.
"ASEAN is the third-largest single economic bloc in Asia following China and India. We call it a single bloc because the 10 countries have been integrating their economies. In fact, the 10 ASEAN countries share a free trade zone."
ASEAN possesses rich natural resources, including oil and natural gas, and young labor markets with about 60 percent of the population aged below 35.
With its annual economic growth expected to reach 5 percent on average, experts say the region has a diverse economy based on the economic conditions of each country.
"Based on the economic capacity of each country in the bloc, their key industries differ from 4th industrial revolution technologies to labor-intensive industries. For example, Singapore and Malaysia have strong 5G, IT infrastructure, and cutting-edge finance technology, while Vietnam has a competitive labor market."
Based on its vibrant economy and large consumer markets, ASEAN is expecting more cooperation within and outside the bloc for economic prosperity.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.