APEC CEOs upbeat on trade, investment boost

Updated: 2013-10-05 15:21


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BALI, Indonesia, October 5 (Xinhua) -- Forty two percent of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in Asia Pacific are 'very confident' of revenue growth over the next 12 months and close to 70 percent of them intend to increase their investments in the region, according to a study by think tank PwC, released here on Saturday.

The study, 'Towards resilience and growth: Asia Pacific business in transition', surveyed nearly 500 business leaders on their attitudes toward doing business in the region. It was released at a meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation ( APEC).

The survey found confidence among Asia Pacific-based executives on the rise. Some 42 percent of executives say they are 'very confident' of revenue growth in the coming year, up from 36 percent last year. Longer term, 52 percent say they are confident of growth over the next three to five years, about the same as in 2012.

The findings come just hours ahead of the crucial APEC CEO Summit.

According to the survey, the trend toward urbanization in many Asia Pacific economies, the emergence of the local middle-class and the need for infrastructure development are the main reasons for driving the increase in confidence.

"Executives in the Asia Pacific region are in the midst of a major transformation taking place within the region driven by a gradual but steady rise in income and economic opportunity for millions of people," says Dennis M. Nally, Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International (PWC).

"While overall confidence in growth in Asia Pacific remains undiminished, APEC economies now also face many of the uncertainties of slower growth, previously limited to the more developed markets."

In the survey, executives were also asked to identify their ' dark horse' pick an Asia Pacific economy that could surprise with more business opportunity than is currently expected.

Indonesia was the top pick, followed by Myanmar, China, The Philippines, and Vietnam. Among the most cited attractive qualities were expanding middle classes, ample natural resources, increasing transparency, infrastructure improvement plans and political stability.

The multiple trade discussions among APEC economies is welcomed by about 70 percent of regional CEOs, but 22 percent of the CEOs also see them leading to more uncertainty and administrative costs.

"Investment prospects are looking positive across Asia Pacific.. .However, if governments use the APEC meeting in Bali to effectively tackle CEOs' concerns about regulatory and legal barriers, and to speed up progress on trade negotiations, this could unleash an even greater wave of new investment and help secure CEO confidence in the region," said Nally.

Related: China tops APEC CEOs' picks for investment