Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is on its way to be a formidable region in the coming days, especially with its ambitious ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) implementation. Following are a few things that might transpire in the wake of such developments.

  1. ASEAN’s obsession with MEGA-everything!

ASEAN countries will give high priority to the development of Mega Cities, Mega Regions, Mega Corridors, and Smart & Sustainable Cities. As a result, many cities like Singapore, Yangon, and Hanoi will emerge as new mega cities, a substantial addition to Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Ho Chi Minh, and Bangkok, already known as mega cities. This will mean that urbanization in ASEAN countries will increase up to 53.3 percent by 2025.

  1. Scaling GDP

Emerging mega cities will imminently increase ASEAN’s GDP. Such a boom in economy and the subsequent urbanization will enable the residents to increase their economic output. The result is that these few mega cities alone will contribute towards 40 percent of the total ASEAN GDP.

  1. Indonesia, an exemplar

Indonesia is the largest ASEAN nation, by geography and population. And with the emerging mega cities and others, it will demonstrate the most changes. 60.3 percent of Indonesians will live in urban areas by 2025. That’s approximately 172 million Indonesians. Having more than half of the people living in cities and mega cities indicates that development is serious and far-reaching. Indonesia alone will have 26.9 percent contribution to the total ASEAN GDP in 2025.

  1. Competitive second-tier cities…

Second tier cities like Samut Prakan in Thailand, Batam in Indonesia, and Vientiane in Vietnam will be closely following the development of mega cities. Despite the appeal of the resources and facilities in the mega cities and emerging mega cities, the second-tier cities will show the fastest growth.

  1. … And their rise!

Samut Prakan will have almost double the citizens in 2025, around 2.9 million, from 1.8 million in the present, making it one of the three cities (the two other being Batam and Vientiane) to watch out for as their CAGR from 2015 to 2025 will be between 4.6 and 4.9 percent. Despite the lure of the mega cities, such a population pull will evidently result in its exponential growth.

  1. Singapore, an attraction of its own

Singapore will have its own charm to enchant the inhabitants with. Smart mobility, smart heath care, smart buildings, and smart governance are just a few elements, albeit very important, of ASEAN Smart Cities which will be incorporated eventually. As a result, in Singapore, 70 percent of traffic will be public transport. It will have cloud computing models used in most health care organizations. 80 percent of the buildings will meet ‘Green Mark Certified’ energy efficient standards by the end of 2030, a deeply appealing to the growing environment-conscious citizens.

  1. Singapore, a green-living haven

Singapore is planning to generate 90 to 95 percent of electricity from natural gas. Furthermore, 50 percent of the households will have smart home solutions. The Singaporeans will even try to recycle 65 percent of waste, hence doing their part for the green living. Their life will definitely be cleaner as 100 percent of the Singaporeans will have access to sanitation.

  1. Health, a digital story

Singapore, building on its plans to be a truly Smart City, is working for Integrated Health Information system across the country. This system is the marriage of “data, use of machine learning, and robotics” which aims to give the best of health services to the patients efficiently. Its use of cloud computing will be a class apart.

  1. Traffic, finally under-control?

Philippine’s Manila is hell-bent on curbing the traffic, period. Metro Manila Dream Plan became official in 2014 and is estimated to be completed by 2030. It intends on using integrated latest surveillance center, traffic light regulators and high definition traffic control cameras for 85 key intersections. Moreover, use of smart phone will divert the traffic from highly-congested area, hence saving time and easing patience. Addition of real time data availability will further control other traffic related incidents.


Sachi Mulmi is a researcher with Frost & Sullivan. She can be reached at sachi.mulmi@frost.com


Sapan Agarwal drives content and marketing for Frost & Sullivan. Sapan is based out of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and can be reached at sapan.agarwal@frost.com | +603 6204 5830