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The New FDI Frontier: Southeast Asia’s Emerging Space Role

Opportunities for businesses and FDI in ASEAN’s space endeavors, by Marco Forster, Dezan Shira & Associates

In terms of venturing into space, ASEAN countries have been actively forging partnerships with established global space agencies, which is a testament to the region’s burgeoning capabilities in space technology.

Indonesia’s space agency, LAPAN, has collaborated with agencies like CNES (France), JAXA (Japan), DLR (Germany), and NASA (USA), significantly focusing on satellite development and space exploration initiatives. Similarly, Vietnam’s VNSC, through alliances with JAXA and the European Space Agency, has launched satellites like VNREDSat-1 and VNREDSat-2, emphasizing environmental monitoring and natural resource management.

Singapore has seen its companies like Astroscale, partner with international counterparts such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan, working on innovative space technologies like satellite servicing robots. Meanwhile, Malaysia’s MYSA has engaged in collaborations with NASA and JAXA, underscoring its commitment to environment-focused satellite technology.

These partnerships not only bolster ASEAN’s space capabilities but also pave the way for future ambitious projects. However, challenges like funding constraints, technical expertise, and infrastructure needs persist. Despite these hurdles, the opportunities for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the region are substantial.

ASEAN’s strategic location, commitment to sustainable development, and growing tech-savvy population present attractive prospects for international investors and collaborations. Regional cooperation can address funding and expertise gaps, and partnerships with foreign entities can provide essential resources and know-how. Investing in local education and training will further support the growth of a skilled workforce, essential for the sustained development of ASEAN’s space sector.


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