Indochina Market Info

Indochina Map


The countries of mainland Southeast Asia have received cultural influence from both India and China in varying degrees. Some cultures, such as those of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Malaysia are influenced mainly by India with less influence from China. Others, such as Vietnam, are heavily influenced by Chinese culture with only minor cultural influences from India.

Indochina, the Indochinese Peninsula and also known as Mainland Southeast Asia, refers to the continental portion of Southeast Asia lying East of India and roughly south or southwest of China. The historical name "Indochina" has its origins in the French, Indochine, and combination of "India" and "China".

There are different definitions of Indochina, ranging from the traditional definition of French Indochine (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia) to a region being part of South East Asia (SEA) and being part of the Indochinese Peninsular.

We focus on Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, which although being different, the markets do share consumer, socio demographic, business and consumer characteristics.



At a glance

• Politics: Military rule 1962-2011 gives way to an army-led transition to representative government.
• Economy: Myanmar is one of Asia's poorest countries. Its economy is under-developed and has in the past received criticism regarding corruption.
• International: Myanmar is rapidly emerging from its international isolation. China is its main ally.

Myanmar growth is accelerating very fast as it also opens up to the world. There have been many changes and these have been reported worldwide. This has further accelerated growth leading to even stronger forecasts, predicting the coming years will show even faster progress. There are still challenges for the country to resolve to reach its goals. This will further develop the economy and with that, a higher standard of living and consumer demand.

Myanmar will continue the integration with the international economic and business community.

In 2015 Myanmar responded very positively, facing the huge challenge of the AEC (ASEAN Economic Community open market economy). BUT Myanmar is in a unique position to learn from other countries and thus shorten the time to increase the development of the economy and standard of living. With the country’s exceptional geographic position between India and China and a member of ASEA, but late in its development, there is huge business potential. Myanmar also represents opportunities for gateways to all the countries on its borders.

Population 51,486,253[2] (25th)
- Density 76/km2 (125th) 196.8/sq mi

GDP (PPP) 2014 estimate
- Total $244.331 billion[3]
- Per capita $4,751[3]

Kingdom of Cambodia

Kingdom of Cambodia

At a glance

• Capital: Phnom Penh
• Population 14.5 million (UN, 2012)
• Currency Riel
• Area 181,035 sq km (69,898 sq miles)
• Major language Khmer
• Major religion Buddhism
• Life expectancy 62 years (men), 65 years (women) (UN)
• UN, World Bank

The economy is dominated by garment-making although tourism is expanding. Cambodia is planning to tap into offshore oil and gas reserves and attract overseas investment to replace aid.

Cambodia continues to enjoy robust growth, albeit at a slightly slower pace than other countries in the region. Real growth in 2014 was estimated to have reached 7.1 percent. The garment sector, together with construction and services, continues to propel growth. However, the future projections for economic expansion show forecasts at about 6.9% as the country confronts stronger competition in garment exports, continued weak agriculture sector growth and softer growth in the tourism sector. (Source - World Bank)


At a glance

• Politics: Politics: Vietnam is a one-party Communist state. It was unified in 1975 after three decades of war.
• Economy: The county is becoming a major manufacturing centre and is the second biggest supplier of clothes to the US.
• International: Long running territorial dispute with China over parts of South China Sea, known to have rich reserves of oil and excellent areas for fishing.
• GDP (current US$) $186.2 billion 2014
• Population, total 90.73 million 2014

New market forces and private enterprise starting arriving from the late 1980s. A Stock Exchange opened in 2000. A visit to Vietnam by US President Bill Clinton in November 2000 was presented as the culmination of American efforts to normalise relations with the former enemy of 1994.

Foreign investment has grown and the USA is now Vietnam's main trading partner. In the cities, the consumer market is fuelled by the appetite of young, middle class consumers seeking electronic and luxury goods. Following 12 years of negotiations the country joined the World Trade Organization in January 2007.

But the disparity in wealth between urban and rural Vietnam is wide and some Communist Party leaders voice their concerns that too much economic liberalisation will weaken their power base.


The government in Laos has implemented gradual economic and business reforms since 2005 that has to some extent liberalised its domestic markets. In 2011, it opened its Stock Market in Vientiane as part of a tentative move towards capitalism.

Economic growth since the 1990s has significantly reduced poverty levels, but Laos still relies heavily on foreign aid and investment, especially from Japan, China and Vietnam.

However, Lao PDR, a lower-middle income economy with a GNI per capita of $1,600 in 2014, is one of the fastest growing economies in the East Asia and Pacific region. GDP growth averaged 7 percent over the last decade. There is increasing use of the country’s natural resources – mostly water, minerals and forests – that contribute to one third of output growth. Construction and services also expanded as resources spread to the rest of the economy, also growing regional integration that boosted tourism and attracted foreign investment.

Profiles Of All Countries Above Ref : BBC News

About the founder

The principal, Mikael Knudsen, has 35 years of International business experience working in developing countries, including 20 years in Indochina markets with International companies.

He has lived and worked in Vietnam and Myanmar since 1994. He graduated with a Masters Degree from CBS and a MBA from SFSU.

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