It’s been almost two years since COVID-19 struck our world. We all realize how extreme it has affected us, no matter where you are. Streets were empty, hospitals were full, the economy was shutting down. Nowadays, things are on the upper side. Many countries are adjusting to a new normal life so well, they almost go back to the old normal. Which is very ideal.
Inarguably, vaccines are one of the factors that changes everything. While vaccination is quite progressive in the western side of the world. Asia is still trying to catch up. Especially in the CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam) countries. So, let’s take a closer look at each of them on the distribution of vaccines and how it will affect their economical perspective domestically and internationally.
Data as of August 2021
Cambodia stated that 58% of the whole population are vaccinated (47% Fully Vaccinated). The government plans to vaccinate almost 200,000 doses daily. Now the number of daily infected patients is decreasing systematically from the peak of 1,000 at the beginning of July. Together with the progression of vaccination, Cambodia’s economy is predicted to recover later this year with its exportation market on the rise due to the almost normal situation of its main importer: the United States of America.
A Cambodian woman receives vaccine
Image credit: Bangkok Post
Importation plays such an important role in Cambodia because it values more than 50 percent of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Since the country has been well known to attract FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), which fuels the growth of export-oriented industries such as garment and footwear products that sustain the life of Cambodians before the pandemic.
With that prosperity ahead in the future. It seems like Cambodia is ready to attract many more investors from around the world once again, to gather funds for the above industrial opportunity that is going upward after going through the COVID-19 crisis. So, it’s quite interesting to see how Cambodia’s economy will turn out by the end of this year.
While in Laos, they stated that 16% of the whole population are vaccinated (14% Fully Vaccinated). The government plans to vaccinate 20,000 doses daily. The recent highest peak of infected patients’ number was 200 at the beginning of July.
In contrast to Cambodia, Laos’s economy is not based on exportation as it values only 20-30 percent of the GDP. There are not many productive factories to produce products that are suitable to export. While the exportation percentage of the factory goods is low, the importation percentage is significantly high.
Health worker receives the vaccine
Image credit: WHO
So many things in Laotian households are from neighboring countries, especially Thailand. From the ketchup in the kitchen to the mass products in the department store in Vientiane. Being on lockdown makes those products scarce, which means the price in the market will increase that it goes against the daily income of the citizen.
With that problem, Laotian begins to adapt to it with e-commerce. They order a lot of products from online platforms such as Lazada and Shopee that are based in Thailand to the provinces next to the border. Then there will be transportation agencies that transfer those products across the country. And that makes e-commerce to be in the minds of investors because it allows the imported products to enter Laos once again and reduces the market price domestically.
Next is Myanmar, it stated that 8% of the whole population are vaccinated (3.3% Fully Vaccinated). The government plans to vaccinate 5,000 doses daily. Yet there is a new outbreak recently in July across the country which resulted in almost 6,000 new infected patients.
Apart from the pandemic crisis, Myanmar is going through a political crisis also. The coup led by Min Aung Hlaing was started in February to overthrow the democratic political party led by Aung San Suu Kyi. This resulted in a downward plunging trajectory in the economy. Civilians stopped working to protest on the street, the internet from cellular data was shut down, and businesses were frozen.
Protesters in Yangon
Image credit: Aljazeera
Even though it seems hopeless for investors to get in touch with Myanmar right now. But the webinar or web-based seminar hosted by Nikkei Asia on March 19th showed that there’s always a silver lining. The military rule strengthens the bonds between Myanmar and China. The investment in products or services that aren’t related to China would gain more interest from Myanmar citizens because they will likely boycott those. Also, essential retail product businesses such as rice, oil, canned food, etc. are still in need.
The last one in the CLMV group is Vietnam. It stated that 16% of the whole population are vaccinated (1.9% Fully Vaccinated). The government plans to vaccinate 30,000 doses daily. Hence it is affected in the highest number of new infected patients at the estimate of 6,000 in July due to lack of vaccines administration.
Due to the effects of COVID-19, Exportation which is the main resource of Vietnam, was struggling in the beginning. But since it has many contracted buyers from countries in different parts of the world. The situation seems to get better as time goes by. And together with the well-established policy that supported the affected industries right away with the low-interest loan, and also helped the citizens by reducing taxes and subsidizing those with low income. These policies keep the economic system flowing in its rhythm with less intervention from the crisis.
Commuters in Hanoi
Image credit: South China Morning Post
Since this crisis started in China, it shook the country’s credibility as an efficient hub for investment. So many investors are looking out for a new base of their businesses. And Vietnam is one of the countries that will probably fill in the gap. Since there’s a bright future ahead of Vietnam’s investment opportunities if it can speed up the vaccination process.
From this information, it indicates that Cambodia has the highest number in the vaccinated population, while Vietnam still hasn’t reached 2% of full vaccination. Yet the two countries seem to have the potential for the economic system to grow because of its previous advantages as exportation was their main resource of GDP, and the partner countries such as the European Union and the United States of America are starting to go back to normal.
Yet, in Laos. There is a new potential for investors in the e-commerce industry since social distancing policy makes online distribution common. So, there are places for investment in this new department. And while it seems like Myanmar is suffering from the political situation. There’s a place for a business in retailing that can still survive.
Investment and Business opportunities
If your business can help solve these problems, then there are opportunities for you.
- It’s hard to find food and people cannot go out as much. So people will buy and stock more dried food.
- People are more concerned about their health, both mental and physical, for example, they may search for more healthy food, herbs, and ways to exercise.
- People work at home and stay at home more. So they still need home appliances and furniture.
- Internet connection, mobile internet, and mobile phone are fundamental both for work and entertainment.
- People are very stressed, so they need online content and entertainment.
- People will be losing jobs, so they will search for jobs and ways to improve their skills online.
- People are losing jobs and losing their loved ones. If you want to get into the hearts of people in time of need then you can do CSR projects to help people during Covid-19.
Let Happio Help!
Not only the COVID-19 or political situation that you need to be aware of before investing and doing marketing in each country, but there are also different customer behaviors, insights, trends. etc. We can help you with those.
Our local CLMV team can provide you insights, create marketing strategies, find the right local influencers, and so on. Feel free to contact us anytime!
In the end, these investment opportunities don’t just represent the CLMV countries, but it also shows that the whole world is adjusting to this crisis and hopefully will continue to move forward and go back to the way things were very soon. Let’s hope for the best and stay safe!
Written by Nopkamon Tanayakorn