03/05/2019 – News / Business / Cambodia / Asia / InvestAsia

New index ranks Cambodia as Asia’s most attractive investment destination


Cambodia is the most attractive destination for investment in Asia, according to extensive research conducted by asset management and consultancy firm InvestAsian.

The InvestAsian Index ranks 14 countries throughout East and South East Asia every year based on a range of factors – including economic growth, openness to foreign investment, the variety of options available to investors, along with ease of banking and doing business.  


For a third year, Cambodia has held on to its spot at the top of the InvestAsian Index after the country has seen a rare combination of rapid GDP growth (exceeding seven per cent annually), an openness to foreign property ownership and simple long-term visa laws.  


High-rankers: Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam 


Following closely behind in second place is The Philippines – thanks to a mix of its educated, low-cost, English-speaking workforce, strong demographic trends towards sustainable growth and easy long-term visas. Like Cambodia, The Philippines has held on to its position from last year. 


This year, Malaysia came third in the index – reclaiming its position from China. Contributing factors include the fact that Malaysia is the region’s only market where foreigners can fully own freehold land. Furthermore, Malaysia’s investor residence visa programme boasts a multi-decade history and allows foreign property buyers to easily live there long-term.


Vietnam rose by one spot this year to take fourth place on the list. Besides Cambodia and Laos, it is the only country in Asia that achieved a GDP increase above seven per cent last year. “Doing business in Vietnam isn’t easy,” InvestAsian remarked in a statement, “and staying there long-term is a hassle. Yet a wide variety of stocks listed across two sizable exchanges, combined with Vietnam’s sheer economic growth, makes it one of Asia’s best places to invest.”


Chinese slowdown


China’s rapidly decelerating GDP growth led towards a two-rank fall to fifth on the 2019 InvestAsian Index – the steepest decline of anywhere on the list. Asia’s biggest economy remains among the region’s hardest places to invest as a foreigner. Yet despite China’s economic slowdown, its growth remains strong enough to let it finish within the top five places to invest in Asia.


Brunei at the bottom


According to the research, the worst country in which to invest is Brunei. Ranked at the bottom of the InvestAsian Index since 2016, Brunei has been in recession for six out of the past 10 years. Foreigners cannot legally own real estate in Brunei, nor does a stock market exist in the country. Starting a business is therefore the only way you can invest in this oil-rich sultanate. Yet that is far from without obstacles – and often not considered worth the effort, given “Brunei’s perpetually weak economy”, notes InvestAsian.


Japan is the second worst thanks to its visa laws and inevitable population decline, and Thailand comes in at third from the bottom.


To view the index in full, visit: www.investasian.com

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