The Rise of Remote Education in Southeast Asia Against COVID-19

Schools are off, yet education must go on!

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many governments have had to impose a complete closure of all educational institutions and turn to home-based learning. The transformation from traditional classrooms to online education has become an inevitable part of the comprehensive precautionary measures all around the world. Southeast Asia, which is so far home to over a million COVID-19 cases, was no exception. Students of Southeast Asian countries found themselves, overnight, with no option but remote education through the available online tools.

But, are Southeast Asia’s countries ready for this radical change? Many students don’t have stable access to the internet; some others do not even have any adequate electronic devices, let alone the required technical skills.

The shift toward e-learning represented a major challenge in the face of Southeast Asian authorities, especially with those already struggling educational systems. In fact, the pandemic virus forced a sudden shift neither governments nor tutors and students were prepared for.

The provision of sufficient education, however, remains a high priority for every Southeast Asian government, even with today’s exceptional circumstances and “untact” world. Read on to learn more about the hindering hurdles that Southeast Asian countries encounter as well as the strategic plans they adopt to overcome these challenges on both basic and higher education levels.

Impeding barriers

The unforeseen move to virtual learning due to COVID-19 touched upon real problems in the Southeast Asian states’ communication systems. Now that students are no longer offered physical communication with their teachers, the governmental educational authorities are obligated to provide accessible alternatives to contain the crisis and avoid further implications. During this journey, governments should get over the following hurdling road bumps.

  1. Absence of eligible digital infrastructure

By May 2020, only four Southeast Asian countries recorded an internet penetration rate of more than 80%, namely: Brunei, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. People in rural areas lack stable internet access and thus, adequate online educational resources. The so-called digital divide remains a pressing challenge facing both students and educators in several Southeast Asian countries.

Even worse, some people do not have advanced digital devices, This was clearly evidenced by the increasing demand over computers and laptops across e-commerce sites and online shopping platforms amid COVID-19 crisis. Malaysian e-commerce company iPrice Group reported that computer equipment and gadgets like webcams and keyboards witnessed higher demand all across the region as of April 2020, according to The ASEAN Post.

  1. Lack of technical skills 

One other significant problem is the lack of required experience and skills of online education systems for tutors and students alike. Unlike the developed countries, some educational institutions in Southeast Asia have never enacted online educational systems before the pandemic. This necessitates a thorough training to raise the learning process participants’ awareness of the new innovative approaches.

  1. Unfair wealth distribution

Above all else, the gaps between financial classes in Southeast Asian countries result in an inequality in the delivery of professional remote education. A huge percentage of Southeast Asian citizens are living in grinding poverty. Despite other promising figures, a report by the Asean-China-UNDP in 2017 showed that the Philippines and Indonesia accounts for 90% of the 36 million ASEAN residents who live below the international poverty line. Another report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in the same year found that around 65 million people of the region’s residents live without electricity.

Progressive reactions

Having said that, Southeast Asia is still considered one of the world’s fastest growing regions in terms of economic development. Governments work by leaps and bounds to enhance their basic infrastructure and public facilities. The field of remote education comes atop their priorities lists; A study by Ken Research expected Asia-Pacific’s online tutoring market to achieve higher growth rate between 2018 and 2025.

Southeast Asian governments, however, still have a long way to go. Potential partnerships with technology service providers is one possible solution to the schooling shutdown problem. The provision of sufficient digital infrastructure and internet connectivity also marks a significant step forward in the fight against COVID-19 negative impacts.

Many of the region’s countries are seen to start adopting advanced learning management systems (LMS), in line with current technology advancements and unprecedented increases in mobile usage and internet penetration numbers. This ranged widely from the deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions all the way to the incorporation of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and learning gamification concepts.

The following are some examples of e-learning applications that made marked success as students stay home:

  1. HarukaEDU – Indonesia: An effective online learning platform that works collaboratively with multiple universities and corporations in Indonesia and provides extensive educational programs as well as free online courses.
  2. XSEED Education -Singapore: An outstanding e-learning software that integrates with over 3000 schools nationwide and runs comprehensive and integrative teaching and learning programs. 
  3. VNPT E-Learning – Vietnam: A smart digital learning solution that boasts innovative learning features and study modules. The platform, that allows the easy conduction of online training, recorded 100,000 hourly visitors in April.

SEAtongue could be of help!

As shown, Southeast Asia looks like a fertile market for online education investments from all around the globe. The rising demand over compelling and efficient e-learning solutions sounds like a golden opportunity for online learning businesses. SEAtongue is an ISO 17100-certified language service provider with an extensive track record of successful e-learning localization projects. With offices in Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, we offer you a wide range of high-quality and cost-effective language solutions at your fingertips. Contact us today and let us bridge your way into a world of lucrative opportunities into the Southeast Asian markets.

Get in touch with us now!

A Read Into Southeast Asian Travel Sector Amid COVID-19 Updates

Public health always comes first! Since the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that COVID-19 outbreak was pandemic in early 2020, multiple countries have immediately taken harsh precautionary measures to prevent widespread infection. As a result, the global economic growth has incurred massive losses on the back of the hard hits across different industries due to the forced lockdowns.

The international travel industry was undoubtedly among the most negatively affected sectors, with governments left with no option but to ban travel to keep people safe. Sectors like aviation and hospitality have seen unprecedented damages all around the globe; and Southeast Asian countries came on top of the list. Between a promising future and lingering worries, the travel authorities in Southeast Asia are now struggling to revive the travel activities that have been a strong economic pillar for a pretty long time.

The status of Southeast Asian Travel amid COVID-19

Southeast Asia is famous for its world-class tourist destinations, and many of the region’s economies are highly dependent on tourism. For these countries, the suspension of travel activities translates into lower foreign inflows, decreased employment rates, and thus, sharp economic slowdown. For that reason, their governments are striving to find a way out to draw back vacationers without exposing public health to any kind of danger.

Now, almost eight months after the WHO announcement, several countries in Southeast Asia have managed to partially contain the crisis and curb the negative impacts of the pandemic virus. Fears of a second spike, however, prevented Southeast Asian states from easing travel restrictions completely.

Alternatively, some countries began to permit domestic travel and lift some restrictions over travels with neighbouring countries. Others began to allow foreigners to enter for business purposes, yet with strict regulations, including 14-day quarantines, travel insurances, and medical certificates.

The lingering worries over COVID-19 seem justified in respect of the number of active COVID-19 cases and deaths in the region.  The COVID-19 mortality rate, for instance, increased in many Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia, Philippines, and Myanmar.

Let’s get a closer look at the latest updates on five of the region’s countries and read into how they regularly react to this prolonged crisis.

  1. Thailand

The impact of the pandemic on a country where tourism last year contributed around one-fifth of the gross domestic product (GDP) was massive and far-reaching. The Bank of Thailand forecasts GDP to shrink by an annual rate of 7.8% in 2020, recording the sharpest decline in the country’s history.

Thailand’s government still adopts tight travel restrictions and allows certain non-Thai passengers into the country under certain conditions, including long-stay tourist visas. The Thai authorities recently announced  the issuance of 1,200 limited editions of long-stay visas that can be extended up to 9 months.

The permitted passengers, however, should commit to a self-funded 14-day quarantine upon arrival in one of 22 luxury hotels in Bangkok where stay costs 100 to 200 USD per night! They also have to book all of their 90-day accommodation in advance and hold a travel insurance that covers COVID-19.

  1. Indonesia

Bali beaches are now empty! By the time this piece was written, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia surpassed 415,000, making it the world’s 19th most infected spot. Although Indonesian domestic airlines resumed operations, international travel is still suspended with most of the world’s countries. The country’s authorities only permit travels with countries like South Korea, China, Japan, Singapore, and the UAE for essential business and diplomatic purposes. Additionally, a foreign passenger needs to have a health certificate to be allowed to enter the country.

Previous plans to open the popular Bali island, where tourism makes up around 80% of the overall economy, to international tourists have been soon backed off due to the reincrease in the number of COVID-19 cases. 

  1. Singapore

All short-term visitors are still banned from entering Singapore. The Southeast Asian island country, which is home to more than 50,000 infected cases so far, continues to disallow leisure and tourism travels. Some tracks were reopened for Chinese, South Korean, Japanese, and Malaysian business travellers. Even those need to fill out a form and wait to get an official permission, as per which they have to complete a 14-day quarantine upon arrival at a state-owned hotel at a cost of around 2000 USD.

  1. Vietnam

No foreign tourists are allowed into Vietnam yet. Only selected international flights are permitted with Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Domestic flights are also permitted, in an attempt to make up for the losses resulting from international travel bans. The country’s coastal city Danang, for instance, has been promoted as a domestic tourism destination over the past few months.

  1. Malaysia

With over 40,000 COVID-19 cases, Malaysia applies strict lockdown measures to curb the losses. The government runs the so-called conditional movement control order (CMCO) across the whole country, except for three states, namely: Perlis, Pahang and Kelantan. Schools are closed until 20th of January 2021, and internal travels from CMCO areas are not permitted. 

On the international travel level, Malaysia is only open to certain types of travellers, including Malaysian nationals, permanent residents, as well as work pass and MM2H permit holders. While tourism travels are completely prohibited, business travellers from neighbouring countries are allowed to enter under certain conditions, such as the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) with Singapore.

Every cloud has a silver lining!

Despite the gloomy scenery, a positive future prospects loom on the horizon. Some new trends are emerging in the Southeast Asian travel sector, which digs for alternative plans to recover and regain its strength by the beginning of 2021. These are three of them:

  1. Domestic and regional tourism

As easing international travel bans is now not in the cards, Southeast Asian governments look forward to domestic tourism as a potential source of income. In this regard, many promotional campaigns are conducted to encourage locals to explore different parts of their own countries. Not only that, allowing regional movements and inviting neighbouring countries’ travellers to visit the country sounds like a successful approach to partially compensate for the foreign currency tourism.

  1. Travel bubble

Alternatively known as corona corridors, travel bubble is a new term that refers to the creation of a travel network between the countries with the least number of COVID-19 cases. This looks like a good idea to reduce economic losses and guarantee a higher level of health and safety.

  1. Digital solutions

The need to come up with creative contactless solutions across all travel-related industries suggests a possible advancement in the digitization and automation solutions. From the airlines and hotel chains all the way to historical sights and leisure hubs, keeping social distancing and hygiene standards necessitates the use of advanced technologies, which will likely be the case for the upcoming years.

If you are a Southeast Asia-based travel business that targets the citizens of your neighbouring countries, you must be in need of professional translation services in Asian languages. Seems like you have come to the right place; SeaTongue is your idea language partner in the Southeast Asian markets. We have got a team of experienced linguists and specialized subject matter experts who have been providing all types of translation since 2009. With offices in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and many other Asian countries, Sea Tongue is always at your reach.

Contact us now and request your free quotation!

Why Are Manufacturing Translation Services Vital for the Industrial Growth of Asia?

As we all probably know, economies typically comprise 3 major sectors. First, agriculture and mining, the raw material sector. Second, the manufacturing sector. Finally, the services sector. Most countries of Asia have achieved sustainable economic growth over the past decades through these three sectors ─ combined.

Asia has witnessed a remarkable development of the manufacturing sector since the end of World War II. Japan was the first Asian country to witness large scale industrialization. After the war, Japan has emerged as a global manufacturing giant, and the country is still an economic superpower. 

It usually takes industrial economies more than 400 years to achieve a tenfold increase in per capita income. Yet, the newly industrializing Asian economies of Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and  Taiwan have achieved this in less than fifty years, and the same performance has been achieved by such countries as Indonesia, Thailand and  Malaysia. 

Across these Asian tigers, the production structure has changed from concentrating resources in agriculture to the production of more sophisticated industrial products and services. They succeeded in having a great deal of high tech and managerial know-how transferred to their manufacturing facilities through licenses and international partnerships.

Therefore, thanks to the industrial and manufacturing boom, such countries as Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, and other Asian countries have succeeded in achieving sustainable growth, and increasing economic efficiency.

Yet, success always comes with more demands and more requirements if it is to be maintained. One of the essential requirements in this domain is manufacturing translation services. Well, who requires them?

Who Needs Manufacturing Translation Services?

Wherever your manufacturing business is located across Asia or anywhere on our planet. Be it situated in an industrial superpower like Japan, or anywhere across the APAC countries, you’ll always play it by the same rules.

You can’t ignore that Manufacturing is a global effort by nature.  To convert raw materials into manufactured products is a multi-stage process that covers many territories ─ and languages. Raw materials usually exist in one or more countries, spare parts can be sourced in other countries, while assembly may take place in other countries.

So, how will you coordinate all communication down the road? How will you maintain your success against the raging cut-throat competition? More frankly, how will you go global by expanding into foreign markets?

Here comes the essential strategic role of manufacturing translation services. This type of translation is the only way for you to communicate globally throughout the industrial manufacturing process.  Without it, manufacturers, in Asia or elsewhere, won’t reach, appeal to, or thrive in markets all over the world.

Documents That Require Manufacturing Translation Services  

It goes without saying that a translation services provider is the important partner who helps manufacturers to break the language barrier, get the message across, and make communication easier. They usually translate a broad range of documents, including, but not limited to: Technical information, User manuals, Operating instructions, Product descriptions, Datasheets, Legal documentation, Training materials, Installation, operator and maintenance manuals, HR manuals, Service manuals, Policy manuals, CAD drawings, Packaging, Work processes, Service agreements, Regulatory documentation, Patents, Business contracts, Technical E-learning modules, Marketing materials ( websites and product catalogs).

However, over and above the need for professional translation, the manufacturing industry in Asia has a number of challenges to face. What are they?

Manufacturing Industry Challenges

In spite of the booming manufacturing industry over the past decades, the manufacturing sector continues to face challenges right now and in the years ahead. So, let’s dive in to identify the main challenges and figure out how businesses can deal with them.

First: Skilled Workers                        

Lack of skilled labor is one of the major challenges faced by manufacturing businesses, small and large. It’s a tough industry where older workers are currently retiring while young people are not yet fully prepared.

Many manufacturing businesses are trying to solve the problem by developing training programs to teach young workers all the skills they need.  Big manufacturers partner with technical schools to financially support trade programs and offer internships that lead to full-time employment.

Still, Manufacturing companies have to use further creative methods to attract millennials and recruit them online, particularly via social media platforms. Find them where they’re at today!  

Second: Global Competition

To be able to work and succeed against the manufacturing industry’s cut-throat competitive background, manufacturing businesses have to rely on the two pillars of advanced technologies and talent.  

Manufacturers have to shift to a new model of higher value, high-tech products and processes – aiming to develop products that are smart, connected and capable of generating product-as-a-service revenue.

Third: Project Management

To take their products to multiple markets, manufacturing businesses are required to avoid missing deadlines, or they might risk losing out on millions of dollars in revenue.

The only solution here is to effectively make use of the new highly advanced project service automation software that includes universal resource scheduling. With this, manufacturers will easily and swiftly adjust their production and distribution schedules.

Fourth: Online Information Security

How to work in a cyberspace teeming with ransomware, banking trojans and crypto-miners? The answer is simple.

Manufacturing businesses have to shift from relying on the outmoded security systems of the past to using more sophisticated ways of securing their networks. The traditional firewall approach is no longer sufficient to deter hackers!

Fifth: Attracting Qualified Leads

We have a piece of advice to the type of manufacturers who believe that it’s enough to simply create a website and hope it gains traction. Forget it! The amount of competition across the Asian Market, and worldwide, is huge. Trade shows, trade ads, and phone calls aren’t working like they used to in the good old days!

Believe it or not. If you wish to attract traffic to your online properties and sales points, you need to make a concentrated effort on all fronts. You’re in the digital age. So, remember to play by the new rules. You have to leverage inbound marketing and SEO by creating compelling, informative content that provides solutions to prospective customers’ problems. Also, you need to keep being present and shining online through relevant blogs, case studies, ebooks, infographics, and other informative resources. In short, you need to build your online authority.

Why SEAtongue?

Since 2009, top-notch manufacturing giants both in Asia and worldwide have been relying on SEAtongue to provide them with technically accurate and linguistically fluent translations that help them take their products to both regional and international markets. 

Over the past 12 years, our top-quality translation services have been helping these leading manufacturing businesses to communicate clearly with every and each target market across the globe.

We always achieve this thanks to our unmatched team of translators whom we choose based on their linguistic abilities along with their knowledge of the specific content being translated. Further, all our translators have access to the latest translation memories, dictionaries, and terminologies, which guarantee that our final translated content is both accurate and consistent across all projects.

To safeguard the confidentiality of your projects, all our translators and project managers sign nondisclosure agreements.

Last but not least, we’ve earned over the past decade a worldwide reputation for delivering manufacturing translation services at the most competitive prices and with the fastest turnaround times.

Contact us today for more information or get a free quote.

COVID 19 is Transforming Business in Asia ─ Here’s How and Why

For anyone in China, India, Singapore, or elsewhere in Asia, it’s beyond anybody’s worst nightmares! 

For more than 6 months, the coronavirus pandemic has been wreaking havoc across the economies of Asia-Pacific. We’ve got scenes that look like what happens in science fiction movies, with only one difference. We’re watching them without eating our usual finger-licking movie theatre popcorn!

So, what happened on our planet’s largest and most populous continent? How is the pandemic currently reshaping Asia’s borders and business?

In reply, most observers believe that the current crisis is different in nature and scope from the financial crisis of 2008-2009. The impact of COVID 19 on Asia’s economy is something that actually everyone is in some way affected. The virus outbreak is taking its toll on governments, businesses, and households alike.

What Happened to Business in Asia?

Before the crisis, Asian economies used to rely on their openness to thrive. For example, Singapore and Hong Kong were regarded as financial and business hubs. Taiwan, Bangladesh, and Vietnam were considered cornerstones of global supply chains. Thailand was always described as an international tourist center. And, I don’t know. Things have dramatically changed.

After the attack of COVID 19, Asian stars are now finding themselves in a situation whereby they have to isolate themselves fast and comprehensively. With the pandemic still rampant, most of Asia’s population is in lockdown. Many businesses and all schools are closed. Sports events, and even the Tokyo Olympic Games, have been postponed.

Singapore, which was declared in March 2020 as the “freest economy” in the world, had to close its borders a week afterward. The Southeast Asian country then had to shut the rail and roadways that link it to Malaysia and ban nonresidents from transiting through Changi Airport. Finally, Singapore Airlines reduced its routes by 96%. 

Hong Kong followed suit, shut its land border with mainland China and also barred nonresidents from entering. Japan, and many other countries, have suspended visa waivers and imposed quarantines on most arrivals.

Consequently, these turbulent changes have had a terrible impact on the supply chains across Asia. Companies had to cope with shipments being held indefinitely at ports due to the delay of documentation, or because customs agents were on lockdown. So, instead of relying on the “just-in-time” supply chains, which have become the norm over the past ten years, these firms had to concentrate their supply chains to as few locations and vendors as possible, and build up much bigger inventories.

And also, on the level of jobs!  It goes without saying that the temporary downfall in supply chains should have a direct negative impact on jobs. Twenty-five million people are in danger of losing their jobs due to the spread of the pandemic, according to The International Labor Organization.

The crunch will also fiercely hit an estimated number of over 33 million migrant workers across Asia and the Pacific. It looks like a new unholy exodus, with tens of thousands of immigrant workers from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos fleeing from Thailand. Further, many economies across Asia will be affected by the slowdown in the huge financial remittances which these workers used to send to their countries. Take the Philippines as a single example. The country used to receive about USD 34 billion each year from remittances.

When all is said and done, we need to see the effect of this nightmare on some of the important economic sectors in Asia and the Pacific. It’s important to understand the full picture. Let’s dive in. 

E-commerce

There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has reduced consumer confidence, decreased the numbers of physical shoppers, and disrupted retail supply chains. Yet, on the other end of the spectrum, another sector didn’t miss the opportunity ─ E-commerce.

It’s clear that the majority of consumers across Asia now prefer online shopping and social media shopping over physical shops. According to Statista, revenue in the Asian eCommerce market amounts to USD 1,316,622m in 2020, with the average revenue per user currently amounting to USD 617.24.

So, what is the most important takeaway in this sector? Definitely, it’s becoming mandatory for brands and retailers to establish a good online presence and continuously use social media to offer their promotions in the current challenging climate.

Manufacturing

As COVID 19 reduced the pace of economic activity all over the world, the factory production activity has dramatically shrunk across most of the APAC region.

Japan and South Korea witnessed sharp falls in exports, while manufacturing gauges also plummeted in the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.   

Analysts believe that the situation in South Korea is likely to get worse as the country’s production engine will be relying on parts from the USA and Europe.

In China, the slowing global demand due to COVID 19 pandemic hit the country’s manufacturing sector in April, according to recent data released by official and private sources.

IT and Software

In the IT and software arena, the pandemic has caused serious damage to tech companies’ factories, delivery operations and new product launches. Given the technology sector’s heavy concentration of manufacturing bases and customers in China and neighboring countries, the COVID 19 has disrupted operations and upended 2020 plans for many companies.

As for growth prospects, the coronavirus situation is expected to cut the growth rate of the region’s IT industry to only 1.2% in 2020. 

On the other hand, the virus outbreak has intensified the need for businesses to bolster remote working capabilities and digital collaboration infrastructure.  As a result, technology suppliers are witnessing a surge in demand for conferencing products as well as personal and group collaboration solutions – such as video-conferencing, audio-conferencing solutions, enterprise-grade headsets and portable speakers.

The Translation Industry

When it comes to the translation industry, there are great expectations for both the present and the near future. In the medical sector, for example, demand is rising for medical translators in hospitals and medical institutions due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Moreover, since people are staying more and more at home watching movies, this is definitely giving a remarkable boost to the subtitling and the game translation industries.

Even though translation services for the travel and hospitality sectors have been obviously hit due to the quarantine, yet healthcare, pharma and medical translation services are still witnessing reasonable demand as they are meeting the requirements of translating healthcare and medical content.

Why SEAtongue?

As a leading language service provider in Asia, SEAtongue has smartly responded to the coronavirus outbreak with a work-from-home business model, which has contributed to the regional and global effort aiming to curb the spread of the infection.

Moreover, the fast and smart response has made it possible for SEAtongue to guarantee the company’s business continuity and keep delivering a high-quality business translation service that helps enterprises to expand their products and services into more and more Asian and global markets.  

For your translation requirements, contact us today to discuss how we can give a hand or request a free quote

63rd Malaysia’s National Day | Malaysia Prihatin

Independence Day (Merdeka Day) is the official national day of Malaysia. It commemorates the Malayan Declaration of Independence on 31 August 1957, to mark the day Malaysia is free from British colonial administration. 

This year’s Independence Day is the 63rd anniversary. ‘Malaysia Prihatin ‘ (Malaysia Cares) has been chosen as the theme for this year’s Independence Day. The theme was chosen in recognition of the caring, determined and patient nature of Malaysians in facing trials and tribulations presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. ‘Malaysia’ carried the meaning that every Malaysian is together with the government, while the government caring nature in prioritizing the welfare of the people is shown through its ‘Prihatin’.

Facing a pandemic is not easy, it needs unity. We are united to push our differences aside and do the right thing regardless of the races. Unity is the thing that put us together despite the things that are happening now. That is what ‘Malaysia Prihatin’ is based on.

Usually, we will celebrate this historic day from the beginning of August. The month of August is also known as the National Month. Various programs and national competitions were held to inspire the spirit of patriotism and love for the country, such as national speech competition, Merdeka poetry contest, National storytelling competition and photography competition. There are also neighbourhood decorating competitions. We will hang and decorate our homes and vehicles with flags. We can also see flags and decorations all over the country. Almost every place and every building will be decorated by Malaysia’s flag.

Most of Malaysian will gather at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 31st. Dataran Merdeka has been a popular venue for the annual Merdeka Parade. We can watch the parade of decorated cars, Royal inspection, flags raising, Rukun Negara recitation and cultural and patriotic performances.

Merdeka Day is declared as a public holiday, and this year it falls on a Monday. So, it will be a three-day holiday (weekend +Monday) for most of us. Some of us will use this long holiday to spend some quality time with family and their loved one by planning activities like picnics, family gatherings and any family-related activities. However, due to some restrictions related to Covid-19, some people prefer to just stay at home and watch the Merdeka celebration on TV.

Malaysia: A Land of Business Opportunities in the 21st Century

If you are looking for business opportunities in Asia, Malaysia comes up as an inviting and welcoming business environment. The Malaysian emerging market boasts a myriad of business opportunities and appealing investment options. The launch of e-commerce platform DFTZ in November 2017, for instance, marked the epitome of positive business sentiment and fueled the tech-based business growth in the Southeast Asian country.

Both conventional and online businesses have followed suit and thrived in the market ever since. This piece catches a glimpse into the abundant business opportunities in Malaysia across a host of different sectors with diverse investment choices.

Flourishing business sectors in Malaysia

Malaysia’s newly industrialized market has seen massive progress in the recent period and is currently deemed one of Asia’s top-performing investment spots. The country’s economy ranks among the top 20 worldwide in terms of competitiveness, and is one of the top 10 countries where conditions are convenient to do business. It’s no wonder, then, that so many investors are heading toward the Malaysian market as it is growing as a remarkable investment hub.

Top investment industries in Malaysia

Many industries are witnessing considerable leaps in Malaysia, and thus offer excellent opportunities for local and foreign investments alike. These include:

  • Electric vehicles and energy-efficient transport options
  •  Social media branding companies
  • Home sharing and ride-sharing services
  • Food and beverage delivery provision
  • The automotive industry including second-hand car sales
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Finance and banking
  • Information communications technology (ICT)

Malaysia’s top 10 startups

In fact, you can get inspired by the numerous success stories that took place in the Malaysian market. Here are some of the country’s most promising startups that have been launched over the past couple of years:

  1. Carsome

Founded by Teoh Jium Ee and Eric Cheng, this automotive selling platform acts as a broker for used vehicles. Allowing for transparent pricing without any hidden charges, Carsome offers free valuations, while handling all the paperwork within a matter of 5 days.

  1. Iflix

This video on demand (VOD) service is available across Africa and Asia, with an app that is available across 25 countries and in 14 different languages. The platform gives access to thousands of movies and TV shows. You can watch these videos on your phone, laptop, tablet, or TV.

  1. BloomThis

This online retailer of designed gifts and flowers has managed to become extremely popular thanks to its weekly subscription service. The platform offers outstanding luxurious designs along with free delivery.

  1. PurelyB

This portal is aimed at women empowerment and promotes healthy lifestyle videos, food recipes and articles, as well as diets and health programs that include meal delivery.

  1. Supahands

Powered by cutting-edge technologies, Supahands offers the opportunity to outsource repetitive data management, machine learning, and moderation of content for businesses. The tech-based business also provides multiple project management tools and auto-routing.

  1. HostelHunting

Similar to the Airbnb business model, this platform allows students to find and reserve their accommodation online. The hosting platform covers over 1000 tenant communities all over Malaysia.

  1. Wobb

This recruitment platform is dedicated to young professionals who look for job opportunities. Wobb highlights the work culture of different companies and allows job seekers to see how well they would fit within a potential employer’s way of operation before submitting an application.

  1. Kaodim

Matching service seekers and qualified providers of skills, Kaodim offers an array of services that range from cleaning and fitness coaching to plumbing and pest control.

  1. Jirnexu

Standing out as an outbreaking fintech solution for financial institutions, this online service provider helps companies expand their reach and scale up their success. The platform allows the selection of particular financial products as well as applying for them online.

  1. iPrice

This price comparison platform gathers information about pricing and product availability from a number of e-commerce sites and clothing e-tailers. The online shopping platform creates a favorable shopping experience for southeast Asian shoppers.

As you can see, the emerging Malaysian business sphere features a wealth of investment opportunities and marks a lucrative choice for anyone who looks forward to launching a new business. You might become the next success story; adequate market research and thorough feasibility study are all it takes to run a successful company in such an alluring market.

Need for translation

Once you are ready to tap into the new emerging market of Malaysia, you will encounter one last communication barrier; language is the missing point! To get over this barrier and complete your journey to success, all you need to do is to partner with a native and reliable translation vendor to help you extend your footprint into the huge market of Malaysia.  

SEAtongue makes the world of Malaysia more accessible via their world-class translation and localization services. 

Whether it’s a document in preparation for a business meeting or slideshow, or a report that needs to be highly accurate, SEAtongue has the potential to secure you those much-needed business deals in this wonderful country. Get in touch now and have your company turning into a native-like successful business within the Malaysian market.

Contact us now and get your free quotation!

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Is a Strategic Regional Bloc

In a globalized world, countries on the regional level tend to come together to boost their common interests. Regional countries tend to create what is called an economic or trade bloc ─ which is an intergovernmental agreement, often under the umbrella of a regional intergovernmental organization, where barriers to trade are either reduced or removed among the member states.

From the European Union (EU) to European Free Trade Area (EFTA), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), MERCOSUR (the customs union between Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela), and Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), it seems to be a trend!

And, most importantly, there’s also the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).  

What is ASEAN?

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising 10 member states: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam. ASEAN has an observer status in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ─ an inter-governmental group comprising 21 member economies in the Pacific Rim.

History of ASEAN

From 1967 to 2020,  ASEAN has witnessed a number of historical milestones.

  • ASEAN replaced the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA), which had been formed in 1961 by 3 countries: Thailand, The Philippines, and the Federation of Malaya (now part of Malaysia).
  • In 1967, the ASEAN came into existence with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration. On day one, ASEAN consisted of 5 member states: Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
  • In the 1970s, the region saw the end of the Vietnam war, which naturally changed the balance of power in Southeast Asia and thus granted a new cohesion to ASEAN. The organization, consequently, became strong enough to take a unified position towards the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in 1979. Equally important, ASEAN held a summit meeting in Indonesia in 1976, which ended with a Treaty of Amity and Cooperation and a Declaration of Concord among the member states.
  • The 1990s, however, saw the end of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the USA, resulting in ASEAN rising as a leading player on the regional economic and political levels. Politically, ASEAN adopted a declaration to resolve disputes in the South China Sea and established the ASEAN Regional Forum. A 1995 agreement created a nuclear-free zone in Southeast Asia.
  • At the economic level, the member states created the ASEAN Free Trade Area in 1992 to cut intraregional tariffs and reduce restrictions on foreign investment. As a result, ASEAN total merchandise trade rose from $790 billion in 2000 to $2,574 billion in 2017.  
  • In 2007, the 10 member states signed the ASEAN Charter ─ announcing the organization’s commitment to democratic values, human rights and international diplomacy.
  • In 1997, the establishment of the ASEAN Plus Three forum (which included China, South Korea and Japan) gave new momentum to the organization.
  • In 2015, the region witnessed the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which envisages ASEAN as a single market with free flow of goods, services, investments and skilled labor, in addition to freer movement of capital across the region.

ASEAN Goals & Objectives

What about the strategic management model that evaluates the performance of any organization by defining its objectives ─ management by objectives? Why not judge ASEAN by ASEAN’s objectives? So, what are the goals and objectives of ASEAN?

  • Politically, the organization has been aiming, from day one, to achieve and keep peace and stability in the region. Therefore, the member states have signed a treaty whereby they expressed their commitment not to develop nuclear weapons, with the majority of members adopting a counter-terrorism pact – which means their common obligation to share intelligence and ease the process of extraditing terror suspects.
  • Economically, ASEAN aimed at the very outset to create a common market along the lines of the European Union. Their efforts resulted in the establishment, in 2015, of The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which is focused on and working towards the free movement of goods and services, investment and capital, as well as skilled labor.

To attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and promote growth among the region, AEC will also                      work on creating common standards in agriculture, financial services, intellectual property rights, and consumer protection.

ASEAN also aims to achieve social progress and cultural development in the region along with establishing collaboration among the member states through training and research facilities in the educational, professional, technical, and administrative spheres

The Economic Importance of ASEAN

To understand how important ASEAN is from an economic standpoint, let’s hypothetically regard it as a nation and see what it looks like on the world map.

  • Economically, if ASEAN was a nation, it would be the seventh-largest economy across the globe, with a combined GDP of $2.6 trillion in 2014.
  • Demographically, there are over 622 million people living in ASEAN, more than the European Union or North America. With respect to human resources, ASEAN has the third-largest labor force across the globe.

More Facts About ASEAN

Significantly, the entire Southeast Asian region is currently China’s third-largest trading partner, with an annual bilateral trade of USD 443.6 billion.

As for the South China Sea territorial dispute, ASEAN has discussed drawing up a code of conduct to be signed with China governing disputes in the South China Sea, and the future will definitely witness a settlement of this issue in a win-win-situation manner.

Last but not least, everything seems to be boding well for the 10 member states of ASEAN. To realize their full potential, the 10 countries are endeavoring to face the challenges of injecting large investments in infrastructure and human capital development. At the same time, they are focusing on job creation and achieving prosperity for their peoples,

Final note: By 2050 ASEAN is expected to rank as the fourth-largest economy in the world!

Medical Translation Services Are as Important As COVID-19 Drugs and Vaccines ─ Here’s Why

It happened in the past and is similarly happening in the present. Pandemics wreak havoc across nations, people and communities ─ spreading disease and obviously showing that communication is one of the most important weapons to fight the calamity.

Do We Have Lessons from History?

Absolutely. In 1918, the world tragically was hard hit by the Spanish Influenza pandemic, which infected around 500 million people, one-third of the global population and took the lives of about 50 million people, 2% of the population of the planet at that time.

In 1918 and afterward, the real lessons were clear to all.  The catastrophe taught the lessons of unity and communication. Governments all over the globe learned the hard way that they had to deal with global pandemics with a new approach, and from this wisdom emerged quite new policies and new institutions, including the World Health Organization (WHO). It was clear that from then on, organizations like WHO and others would be carrying out the new global task of analyzing, researching and sharing all the data related to any pandemic with scientists, researchers and medical executives all over the world.

Everyone at that time back in 1918 and afterward came to the conclusion that it was all about data and the importance of distributing this data swiftly among all the parties concerned ─ to medical institutions, hospitals, research units and universities across the globe.

Everyone, as a result, realized that to achieve this, all relevant information should be translated with precision, accuracy and speed. So, everybody came to understand the strategic role of medical translation services.

The Role of Medical Translation Services

Dr. Wioleta Karwacka, a medical expert at the University of Gdansk, has said it outright putting everyone face to face with our responsibilities in these hard times. According to her, the role of professional medical translators is now vital to “facilitate communication and provide translated versions of medical documents (regulatory documents, scientific papers, patient forms)”. And she’s absolutely right.  

According to other medical professionals who are now combatting the pandemic and helping the infected people all over the planet, the need for medical translation services is becoming more and more dire, urgent and desperate. So, what does this mean?

It simply highlights the vital importance of translating and localizing the true COVID 19 news stories and updates. Let’s admit that there’s a flood of fake news circulating online about coronavirus – from false health tips to sheer lies about government plans. It’s, therefore, the duty of global health institutions, news agencies, media outlets as well as trustworthy social media influencers and celebrities to make sure that the fake news is ignored and the true news is communicated across countries and cultures.

On a related level, medical translation services should be top on the list of the elements of any coordinated global response to the current COVID 19 pandemic. Let’s admit it. Medical professionals, virus researchers and scientists across the planet will be able to conduct worthwhile studies on finding therapies and vaccines for the coronavirus only when all the relevant research, analyses and other documentation has been accurately translated and circulated on a global scale. Knowledge ─ and sharing knowledge is power, isn’t it?

In other words, and in a blunter way, when we become capable of translating and distributing medical research, medical analyses and medical data swiftly and precisely among the global research community, we’ll then, and only then! be able to respond to this global pandemic smartly, professionally and with success.

Significantly, it’s not the healthcare sphere only! What about the pandemic’s subsequent social impact?  What about the consequent economic disruption? The odds are both effects will be mitigated through a quick and precise translation and distribution of the factual information ─ that would help companies with their business continuity efforts and also help people with their efforts to work and live in accordance with the new models of life and work (social distancing and working remotely).  

How to Select Your Vendor of Medical Localization Services?

All said, it’s important now to know that when it comes to the areas of people’s health, people’s daily lives, business, and the overall economy, the challenges posed by the current pandemic will be overpowered, among other things, by the partnership of medical institutions, the media, and governments with professional providers of medical translation services.

Why SEAtongue?

It all starts with the human factor of the equation. At SEAtongue, medical translation projects are conducted only by expert mother-tongue linguists who have many years of relevant expertise in the deepest recesses of the medical translation sphere. Experience matters!

Not only professional translators. We also boast superior management of our client’s translation project from A to Z ─ with our team liaising, following up, coordinating, and discussing your requirements with you, day by day, to come up finally with a Zero-error medical translation. No tolerance for mistakes!

Importantly, we are proud to be the …. Partner of choice for top-notch clients in the medical, pharma, biotech and healthcare industries in Asia and globally.

These global brands rely on our medical translation services for the translation of a wide diversity of content, including healthcare leaflets, regulatory compliance documents, experimental data, medical notice information, pharma research, reports and training manuals, patent consent forms, applications, information leaflets, records and reported outcomes, as well as medical journals, medical news, medical research findings and updates along with many more.

For an easy way to get your business’ medical translated fast and accurately, contact us today for a free quote.

Must-knows Before Launching Your Business in Singapore

If you’re looking for the right place to launch or expand your overseas company, Singapore is your perfect choice. The Southeast Asian City-state stands out with an ideal business environment for entrepreneurs of all kinds, thanks to its investor-friendly climate along with the incentives that make operating a business in Singapore much easier than elsewhere.

When establishing a Singapore offshore company, your business can take advantage of the country’s comprehensive Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA) as well as the Investment Guarantee Agreements (IGAs) and free trade agreements. Importantly, since Singapore strictly enforces tough intellectual property laws, your innovations and business ideas will be effectively protected.

Your guide to register a company in Singapore

The government in Singapore has taken a number of proactive steps to position the country as an attractive destination for overseas high-tech businesses. The EntrePass Visa Scheme is just one official step that allows business owners to raise their start-up capital from the source of their choice and also apply for permanent residency after 2 years only. Furthermore, foreign investors aren’t taxed when starting their business in Singapore on dividends and capital gain.

Even personal income taxes are low, starting out at 0% and maxing out at just 22%.  Moreover, startups are very lucky in Singapore! To bolster the country’s reputation as one of the most business-friendly nations worldwide, the Singaporean government always helps startups as well as small and medium enterprises with abundant grants and incentives to support them at the early stages of operating their business in the country.  The government’s generous grants and incentives help these companies to improve their workforce, boost their capabilities, and remain strong in the country’s competitive environment. 

When it comes to how to register your company in Singapore, it is important to note that the whole process can be carried out online. Although it is a smooth and relatively convenient process, a number of legal documents are required. They include:

·         Shareholders’ particulars

·         Company secretary’s particulars

·         A company constitution

·         Directors’ particulars

·         Description of the business activities

Translation is required!

Although the process of launching a company in Singapore isn’t an especially onerous task, it can be tricky for foreign investors who have a language barrier to overcome. All legal paperwork, for instance, must be flawless and eligible for the registration submission process, and therefore obtaining assistance from a native translation company is the best solution. Professional translation companies ensure that all documents are accurately translated to the native language so as to avoid misunderstandings and misrepresentations.

Your Guide To Business Dealings in the ‘Land of Smiles’

If you’re considering doing business in Thailand, you are opening yourself up to a world of exciting opportunities. There are many benefits of doing business in Thailand, however, being aware of the Thailand culture and business marketplace will ensure that everything runs smoothly and that you will have the best possible experience in your business operations.

Thailand – The Basics

Thailand isn’t known as the “land of smiles” for nothing! The population is friendly and welcoming to those who bring their businesses to its exotic shores. Lying between Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, Thailand has a unique cultural mix, with Chinese traditions and Indian influences blending with uniquely Thai elements. The geography of the country is exceptionally diverse, with a mountainous northern region and tropical sandy beaches to the south.

There are four regions of Thailand, each with its own geographic and cultural features. The north is densely forested and mountainous with a culture that takes its influence from Burmese culture. The northeastern region, also called Isan, is primarily Lao-speaking and has a strongly agricultural society. The south of the country is home to tourism thanks to its tropical climate and pristine beaches. Fishing also takes place here. Meanwhile, the center of the country is home to Bangkok, the capital, and is the economic heart of the nation. This region is especially known for its fertile rice fields and it is also the densest populated area of the country.

Overall around 70 million people live in Thailand, with around 2 thirds being from ethnic Thai groups and the rest being Chinese, Vietnamese, Mein, Hmong and Khmer. Buddhism has had a strong influence on the population although Hinduism has also contributed to the local culture, with strong links with India in customs, literature and art. Thai is widely understood and spoken, even among different ethnic groups, and Thai script is also generally used. Despite Thai being the national language, in each ethnic group, home languages are also widely spoken, especially in informal situations.

The Thai Culture

Around 95% of people in Thailand are Buddhists, and the values and beliefs of this religion pervade daily life. The Thai population is well-known for its non-confrontational attitude and their excellent self-control. Anger and lying are almost unheard of and public displays of emotion are negatively viewed. Even when feeling upset or frustrated, it’s important to the Thai people to stay friendly and positive, with a smile and a sense of humor.

Older people and those in high social positions are strongly respected, and people in prestigious public roles are revered. The family is also very important, and extended family groups living in a single property is very common. Children tend to maintain close ties with their parents even after growing up and becoming independent. While Thailand’s society is traditionally dominated by men, that doesn’t mean that women aren’t respected. In fact, recent legislation and laws have given women in Thailand increased freedom and this has allowed them to move into a wide range of professions including medicine, business and politics. Equal rights and respect for women is a key element of today’s Thai values and law.

Thailand As A Business Market

Thailand is currently the second biggest market in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), accounting for 17% of the total GDP of ASEAN. The UK is one of Thailand’s leading European investors with a strong presence in industries as diverse as banking and retail.

Some of the biggest British investments in the country include Prudential, Triumph Motorcycles, Standard Chartered, HSBC and Tesco.

It’s easy to see why so many overseas businesses are keen to export to the Thai market. The benefits include:

·         An ever-growing number of middle-class citizens

·         An infrastructure which is well-developed

·         Thailand is in the top 20 percent of countries rated as Easy To Do Business With

·         Thailand is also a useful hub for business opportunities in the Greater Mekong sub-region. This includes south China, Burma, Cambodia and Laos.

·         The Thailand Board of Investment has a number of incentives for overseas businesses

·         Thailand benefits from a comprehensive investment plan for infrastructure

·         The country has many modern industrial estates

·         Half of the population of the world can be accessed from Thailand within just a five-hour flight

Which Goods Are Most Commonly Exported To Thailand?

There are a number of goods which are currently exported to Thailand. The most common include:

·         Steel

·         Iron

·         Automotives

·         Electrical machinery

·         Pharmaceutical and medicinal goods

·         Power generation equipment and machinery

·         Specialized and general industrial machinery

·         Optical and photographic goods

·         Non-metallic mineral manufactures

·         Beverages

Thai Business Etiquette

When doing business in Thailand, there are a number of important elements of business etiquette. Here, we look at some of the vital things you need to know.

Greetings – the wai greeting is traditional in Thailand. You hold your hands raised in a praying position with your head slightly bowed. The higher your raise your hands and the further you bow your head, the more respect you show to the other person.

Business cards – in the west, many people treat business cards casually. However, in Thailand, respect is shown to business cards since they are seen as an extension of whoever offers them. Always hand over your business card using both hands. Hold it with the side in the Thai language upwards and with the characters facing towards the recipient. When receiving a business card, accept it using both hands and take the time to look at it. You should say something positive, whether about the design or the office location.

Communicating with others – it is very important to be courteous and polite without any rudeness, inconsideration or criticism. Be aware that if someone feels awkward talking about a particular topic they may smile or laugh. This is a good sign to change topics. Also, if you’re feeling awkward about a subject, laughing or smiling will encourage a subject change.

Forging strong relationships are very important when doing business in Thailand. You need to work hard to engage your connections and be physically present – Skyping and phone calls are not considered to be sufficient. Building relationships are best done by taking potential business associates out for a meal or drinks to get to know them better. In Thailand, a personal connection must be made before getting down to business. If you’re attending a business dinner or lunch, don’t raise business topics until someone else has mentioned them.

When conducting a business meeting, you should confirm that you will be attending the day before and then show up at the correct time.

Dress code has a key importance in Thailand. Dress in a sophisticated yet conservative manner. If you are male, a tie and dark suit will be ideal, whereas, for women, a dress, skirt and blouse or a trouser suit will be perfect. The only exception is if the meeting is taking place in a casual setting in which case wearing jeans and a blouse or shirt will be fine.

A Guide To Thai Business Gift-Giving

Giving gifts when doing business in Thailand is a key part of the experience. Although it is usually less formal when giving gifts in Thailand than in other parts of southeast Asia, it is still important to follow the correct protocol. It is usually advised to offer a gift that comes from your home country, and gifts which can be shared like snacks, sweets or fruits are an especially good choice since this allows all of the attendees at the meeting to receive some of the gifts. Small items like pens and books are also quite appropriate. When offering and receiving a gift, only use the right hand and perform the wai gesture. Avoid opening the gift in front of the person who has given it.

Top Tips For Doing Business In Thailand

Although English is commonly used in bigger Thai companies, however in the case of small and mid-sized enterprises, having the services of an interpreter is often necessary. There are also some important cultural elements to know when doing business in Thailand to avoid causing any offense. These include:

·         Ensure that you never sit in such a position where you have your feet stretched out towards an image of the Buddha

·         Always take rank, seniority and age very seriously. Ensure that you show due respect to anyone older or in a more senior position to you

·         When addressing someone formally use “Khun” followed by their first name

·         When inviting VIPs and government officials to official events, ensure that you offer them an appropriate gift

·         Never point at anyone with your finger or snap your fingers

·         Avoid pointing your foot at anything or anyone

·         Never sit with your feet on or against a piece of furniture

·         Always have the back of your business card translated into the Thai language

Localizing Your Business In Thailand

If you’re considering doing business in Thailand, it couldn’t be more important to localize all your marketing materials, website and messages to the Thai language and culture. Even products must sometimes be tailored in order to fit in with the Thailand culture. Choosing a provider of localization services that you can depend upon to do the job to the very highest standards and who can ensure that there will be no unintentional mistakes, misunderstandings or even accidental offenses caused by your content or materials is essential.

SEAtongue has over a decade of experience in translating and localizing Thai languages, so you can be completely confident when using our services that even the most subtle nuances in your content and materials will be properly conveyed. When you choose SEAtongue, your business will have the best possible chance of reaching the widest target Thai audience, and you can rest assured that everything you produce will not only be linguistically but also culturally appropriate, giving your company an excellent chance of success in its field.