Deciphering Dominant Trends: Chinese Companies’ Expansion Journey into Southeast Asia

8月 28, 2023

In the evolution from “export trade” to “international brand establishment,” early Chinese companies venturing overseas predominantly relied on cost-effectiveness. However, an escalating number of Chinese enterprises are now propelling their transition from “creating bestsellers” to “extending brand influence.” Research from pertinent institutions reveals that among the top 25 countries/regions with concentrated Chinese brands, Southeast Asia claims four: Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia.

The prevailing sectors for China’s expansion into Southeast Asia encompass electronics, gaming and software, retail manufacturing, food and beverages, cosmetics, and automobiles.

Chinese Companies’ Expansion Journey into Southeast Asia – New Energy

Recent data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers underscores the historical pinnacle reached in our country’s automobile exports during the initial seven months of 2023. With car exports reaching 2.53 million units from January to July, marking a remarkable 67.9% year-on-year increase. Notably, exports of new energy vehicles surged by over 1.5 times.

This chart presents the monthly export volume and growth rate of new energy vehicles.

In 2020, Great Wall Motors acquired the Thai factory from General Motors. This strategic move was followed by a substantial 4.673 billion yuan investment in its reconstruction. These actions collectively position Thailand as a pivotal hub for normalized operations. This influence extends across markets including Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Brunei, the Philippines, and Cambodia. Notably, NIO’s groundbreaking announcement about the Thailand Smart Ecological Factory and XPeng’s entry into the Thai market further solidify Southeast Asia’s undeniable impact on China’s new energy vehicle exports. This impact is particularly significant within the electric vehicle domain.

These findings collectively highlight Southeast Asia’s emergence as the primary market for China’s new energy vehicle exports. This prominence is particularly pronounced in the electric vehicle sector. Notably, Thailand and the Philippines have evolved into key export destinations for China. The Philippines, in particular, experienced remarkable growth, witnessing a remarkable year-on-year increase of 471% in 2022.

Chinese Companies’ Expansion Journey into Southeast Asia – E-commerce

As saturation grips China and Western e-commerce domains, Southeast Asia emerges as the world’s fastest-growing, most auspicious blue ocean market. This influx includes industry giants, with TikTok blazing a trail. Its presence in six Southeast Asian countries – Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore – underscores Southeast Asia as a pivotal compass point for future development.

This chart presents the Southeast Asia Retail Ecommerce Sales from 2020 to 2025 and the projection made in 2020 for sales from 2021 to 2025

Per Bain’s survey, 78% of preferred shopping in Southeast Asia occurs through social media, while 91% is on e-commerce platforms. Social e-commerce platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and TikTokShop are experiencing expedited growth, poised to capture 60%-80% of the Southeast Asian e-commerce market.

 

Chinese Companies’ Expansion Journey into Southeast Asia – Gaming

The two ring charts show the 2021 Q1 Southeast Asian mobile gaming download volume and in-App purchase revenue

Southeast Asia now stands as the second-largest hub for China’s burgeoning gaming expansion, constituting a significant 26%. In H1 2023, total revenue from in-game purchases for Thai mobile games soared to $262.7 million, establishing it as Southeast Asia’s highest-earning mobile gaming market.

Southeast Asia’s market ecosystem is intricate. However, its geographical proximity, cultural alignment, and converging user preferences firmly establish it as China’s favored gaming export market. SensorTower’s findings highlight that audiences in Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines prefer immersive gameplay experiences. Meanwhile, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia focus on enhancing gameplay through in-game purchases. These trends affirm Southeast Asia’s unwavering importance in China’s gaming exports.

 

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