Shaping the digital future in Asia Pacific: Prospects for growth 2018-19

Annual APEC CEO Survey

A year into rising protectionism, APEC business confidence holds up

As walls go up, companies in Asia Pacific are finding ladders

Companies on the road to a more digitally-integrated world encountered a series of diversions in 2018 shaped largely by a hardening US trade stance toward China with repercussions for foreign investment, supply chains as well as digital business models across the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region.

Against this backdrop, business leaders continue to project confidence in their growth prospects in the Asia Pacific region with a net 51% planning to raise investment levels, mainly at home as well as cross-border in other APEC economies, up from 43% two years ago, according to PwC’s annual survey for the 2018 APEC CEO Summit. However, results also show sentiment is highly sensitive to escalations in trade tensions; so the current mood could change. Companies are in the early stages of adjusting to US-China-Europe trade orientations, with notable spillover effects into data-driven futures as major economies race to put their stamp on the terms for using data.

PwC surveyed 1,189 CEOs and industry leaders from 10 May to 16 July 2018 for the 2018 APEC CEO Survey, with responses from each of the 21 APEC economies. The survey, in its ninth year, serves as a strong indicator of international business sentiment and strategies in the region; on average, respondents are investors in six other APEC economies. A second survey of US executives in companies with at least US$1 billion in yearly revenue was conducted in early October. You can find the full methodology and respondent profiles for the two surveys here.

What is APEC?

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is the premier regional economic forum consisting of 21 member economies. Its primary goal is to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the region. PwC supports this goal by conducting research, sharing insights and facilitating public-private sector dialogues on topics including food security, infrastructure development, international trade and investment and digital workforce of the future. We are proud to be Knowledge Partner to the APEC CEO Summit 2018 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea from 15-17 November.

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