Doing business across borders in Asia Pacific 2019-2020

Asia Pacific Business Leaders Survey

Produced by PwC for the last ten years, the survey reveals insights and views on growth, trade, technology and talent from 1,014 business leaders across Asia Pacific.


View our survey results for:

Scouting the path of least resistance to global trade friction

China is facing different world dynamics than just a year ago. The business community was disrupted not only by the degree and scope of impact from global trade complexity, but also by the velocity at which new developments were unfolding.

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Pathways to sustainable growth

Shifts in the global landscape are continuously shaping the world we live in. Businesses may view these changes, including rapid urbanisation, climate change and resource scarcity, technological breakthroughs, and changes in global economic power as their biggest challenges, and for some, their biggest opportunities. One of the latest developments felt more keenly in Malaysia has been the US-China trade friction. The opportunities that the friction presents is reflected in the Malaysia report findings.

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New world. Big challenges, bigger opportunities

Singapore business leaders are optimistic yet keeping watchful eyes on future growth prospects amid uncertainties, challenges and risks of the new digital world. They are prioritising investments and re-calibrating strategies for the next two years. As they embrace new technologies, Singapore business leaders feel the need for additional regulations to enhance public trust.

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Asia Pacific Business Leaders Survey – Mexico Report

While uncertainty over the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade pact weighs on confidence, business leaders continue to invest in the North American region, and are also looking to increase investment in Asian markets.

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Key findings from the Asia Pacific Business Leaders Survey

Barriers rising across many areas

44% of Asia Pacific business leaders say a reduction in tariffs would have the most positive influence on business across borders in Asia Pacific.

Shake up for increasing cross-border investment

Within Asia Pacific, Vietnam, Australia and Singapore are countries most respondents believe will have a net increase in cross-border investment over the next 12 months.

Automation and AI are advancing

Investment in automation and artificial intelligence (AI) is rising in the region, with over a third (37%) of Asia Pacific business leaders surveyed considering advanced automation and AI as a strategic C-suite priority.

Employees' roles are changing with automation

Automation is, we assess, continuing to create more jobs rather than eliminating them. Over a third of Asia Pacific business leaders surveyed say automation is creating new jobs, with automation leading a quarter of companies to redefine employee roles.

Prioritising automation and upskilling

In the next two years, 85% of survey respondents will increase budgets to expand automation into new areas of their businesses; while 86% will accelerate digital skills development.

Increase in regulation to enhance public trust

Over 70% of surveyed business leaders agree that additional regulation is needed to enhance public trust in cyber security, AI and data privacy.

Contact us

Emily Church

Director, Integrated content, PwC US

Tel: +1 (646) 471 1535

Mike Davies

Director, Global Corporate Affairs and Communications, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 7803 974136

Anna Lai

Director, Marketing & Communications, PwC Hong Kong

Tel: +852 2289 8719

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