Super Cities №8 — ASEAN, fifty years young

Brendan Hart

One Big Thing

ASEAN turns 50.

The half-century-old organisation is thriving, with its 10 member countries stronger than ever as they strengthen trade ties and create growth opportunities.


Almost fifty years ago, five developing countries — Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand — formed an economic, political, and social partnership. This partnership is called the Association of Southeast Asian Nations — ASEAN — and has since expanded to ten member countries. In the process, ASEAN has fundamentally reshaped the region.

ASEAN countries have:

  • 625 million people
  • GDP of USD 2.5 trillion
  • 60% of the population is under 35 years old
  • The fourth largest trading partnership with the United States
  • Received $306 billion in American investment

The ASEAN partnership still faces challenges. China is a major rising power. Extremism in the region is an emerging threat. North Korea is developing nuclear weapons.

But ASEAN shows that, through cooperation and leadership, genuine economic and political progress is possible in a relatively short period. The same is true of companies and people, and that’s why we love our work so much.

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