4 Fascinating Facts About ASEAN's Role in the Global Economy

4 Fascinating Facts About ASEAN's Role in the Global Economy
ASEAN Countries | Photo by Nuwat Chanthachanthuek | Canva

ASEAN is an economic and geopolitical organization established to ensure and advance the interests of Southeast Asian countries. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded in Bangkok, Thailand on August 8, 1967. Citing from the Official ASEAN Website (, the five founding countries were represented by their diplomatic actors who jointly signed the ASEAN Declaration: 

  1. Tun Abdul Razak (Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia)
  2. Adam Malik (Foreign Minister of Indonesia)
  3. Sinnathamby Rajaratnam (Foreign Minister of Singapore)
  4. Narciso Ramos (Foreign Minister of the Philippines)
  5. Thanat Khoman (Foreign Minister of Thailand).

This organization comprises 10 countries: Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Generally, readers may already be familiar with what ASEAN is and its historical journey from its formation to the present. However, there are several facts that readers may not know about ASEAN. What are these facts?

Citing from asean, here are some unique facts worth knowing:

  • Third Largest Population
    ASEAN, consisting of 10 countries with a total population of 663.9 million (2021), ranks as the third largest population in the world. This figure represents 8.4% of the world's population. This is largely due to Indonesia's membership in ASEAN, as it is the most populous ASEAN country.

  • Total Area of ASEAN
    Along with ASEAN's large population of 663.9 million, it also has a vast area. ASEAN covers an area of 4.5 million square kilometers or about 3% of the world's land area. When adding the sea and water areas owned by ASEAN member countries, the total area exceeds the land area by three times. Additionally, ASEAN has a unique and advantageous geographical position, flanked by the Indian and Pacific Oceans, bordering China (north) and Papua New Guinea (east), as well as Australia (south).

  • Third Largest GDP
    ASEAN's total GDP in 2021 reached $3.3 trillion, placing ASEAN as the fifth largest in global GDP and the third largest in Asia.

  • Promising Investment Sectors
    Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the ASEAN region (2021) shows promising potential and results, particularly in sectors such as Finance and Insurance (32.0%), Manufacturing (25.8%), Wholesale and Retail Trade, as well as motor vehicle components (13.5%), Real Estate (4.6%), and Communication and Information (4.2%). These figures position ASEAN as a region with highly promising investment opportunities.

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