How to Expand your Business: Expanding your business in South East Asia 101

The way businesses work has changed for good. Worldwide, national economies have been badly bruised and corporations, big and small, have been forced to adapt by new workforce management strategies, such as remote working. Due to high uncertainty and risk posed by global political and legislative forces, many organisations are seeking solutions to help reduce their costs while uncovering new market potential. New business potential, young and highly educated talent, as well as market size and maturity are just some of the reason organisations are eyeing South East Asia. With the largest number of emerging economies, the region is expected to grow around twice as fast as advanced economies on average.

With over 600 million people speaking multiple languages and dialects across a multitude of cultures, the ASEAN region – comprising 10 countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines –  is a complex, challenging and infinitely promising place to do business.

Fortunately to date, the region has recorded significantly lower COVID transmission and fatality rates per capita than other parts of the world, for example Europe and the USA, and this bodes well for a speedy economic rebound. With multiple vaccines now imminent, the region looks set to resume its pre-pandemic growth trajectory that positions it to become the fourth largest global economy by 2050.

That future looks even more rosey because in addition to its growth potential the region is seen as business-friendly, with low corporate tax rates, a strong work ethic and sensible employment laws, good I.P. protection and sophisticated communications and banking networks. If you are in business and looking to grow, then South East Asia is a great place to be.

However, setting up a new entity in any of the SEA countries could be an expensive and lengthy endeavour that might not be fruitful. Organisations needed local knowledge, access to local networks and the local talent market. They will also want to avoid unnecessary expenses, delays, and logistical hassles. For example, it can be difficult for HR professionals to get their heads around complex legal and local regulations regarding taxes, super, salaries and employee benefits that may be in force – especially in a region like South East Asia where neighbouring countries can be quite different in a multitude of ways.

For smaller companies, a DIY solution may entail risk, cost and time factors that are overwhelming, especially if you intend a toe-in-the-water strategy of starting small and growing your business there over time.

That is why smart companies looking to expand should consider CXC’s GEO (Global Employment Outsourcing) and EoR (Employer of Record) services. With more than 30 years of experience and a strong regional presence, CXC has helped identify the perfect solution for organisations looking to expand.

The GEO structure utilizes ‘employers of record’ (EOR) in each country of employment, which are already already set up and ready to onboard and payroll new employees.  This streamlines the hiring process and ensures that employers are in compliance in the host country, where the GEO partner relies on their local partners and experts.

Peter Oreb, CXC’s Global CEO, recognises the massive potential of this region: “The EoR structure we have in place has a proven track record of supporting organisations wishing to expand into South East Asia. It makes it easier for them to streamline their set up and operations there, with minimal risk, great cost efficiencies and a speedy route to market. EoR is key to unlocking a whole new growth chapter for their business.”

In addition to payroll and onboarding, and extensive local knowledge, a GEO/EoR structure such as the one offered by CXC also provides for comprehensive support services for:

  • Tax administration
  • Ensuring all employment contracts meet local standards
  • Foreign exchange and in-country money movement
  • Insurance, local laws, and regulations
  • Arranging work permits and visas for expat employees

And while there is a single GEO structure, there can be many EoRs employing locally in multiple host countries. Moreover, CXC can even support your new market entry needs by providing business premises to house local, foreign/expat and remote workers.

To decide which model best suits your precise needs, contact CXC today ( or call +65 6536 0334) to ensure you make the right decision. Click here to see our regional offices.