Founded in 1967, ASEAN today encompasses Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam—economies at vastly different stages of development but all sharing immense growth potential. ASEAN is a major global hub of manufacturing and trade, as well as one of the fastest-growing consumer markets in the world. As the region seeks to deepen its ties and capture an even greater share of global trade, its economic profile is rising—and it is crucial for those outside the region to understand its complexities and contradictions.
If ASEAN were a single country, it would already be the seventh-largest economy in the world, with a combined GDP of $2.4tr in 2013. It is projected to rank as the fourth-largest economy by 2050.