25 May 2023

7 min read

Strong appetite for APAC investment among UK firms, S-RM investor report finds

Asia Investment
25 May 2023 – London

84% of UK firms surveyed plan to increase investment in APAC over the next five years and 78% agree that APAC is the locus for long-term future global growth

  • APAC is more important to over half (51%) of UK firms’ investment and expansion strategies now than before the pandemic – but still less so than for US businesses (60%)

  • The findings come from S-RM’s Asia Investment Survey, which polled business decision makers around the globe to gauge investor attitudes (in both large corporates and private investment firms)

New data from the 2023 Asia Investment Survey from leading global intelligence consultancy S-RM has found that 84% of UK firms surveyed plan to increase their investment in the APAC region over the next five years. The UK figure was broadly in line with figures for other markets, with 89% of global respondents agreeing that the amount their company invests in APAC will increase as a percentage of their total global investment, including a quarter (25%) who expect it to increase a lot.

S-RM’s report also looked at the impact of Covid-19 on investor attitudes. 51% of UK firms surveyed say that APAC is more important now to their company’s overall global investment or expansion strategy than before the pandemic. This is slightly below the figures for the US (60%), and German or French (57%) firms surveyed.



When asked about where in the APAC region this investment would be focused over the next five years, over a quarter (27%) of global businesses polled list Southeast Asia – including Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia – largely due to these countries’ domestic policies to introduce incentives or subsidies in a sector of interest, which was the reason selected by 45% of respondents.


But for UK firms in particular, South Asia – including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh – is the most important investment region identified, with more than a third of UK businesses choosing to invest or expand into these markets (34%) in the future. This region has seen high levels of investment in recent years, and 42% of UK leaders surveyed point to multinationals and other investors increasing their market presence as being the primary driver behind their own investments in the region.


For those UK firms looking further east for investment opportunities, China and Hong Kong were top targets due to evidence of strong local economic growth (42%).


Martin Devenish MBE, Board Director and Head of Corporate Intelligence at S-RM, comments:

Despite the clear disruption facing businesses in the UK and around the world, it seems that the overall attitude towards investment in the APAC region remains incredibly positive. A majority of businesses in every market polled identified the region as a major growth area, defying worries about the long-term impact of Covid and rising geopolitical tensions."

While businesses continue to grapple with these major macro-risk considerations, investment in APAC countries looks set to remain an increasingly important part of their future planning. For now, though, there is no clear consensus on one specific destination for that investment and business leaders seem to have split their interest relatively evenly across the major regions. The next few years could be a crucial time for UK, US, and European organisations as they decide where to place their bets.”


Where does your company currently see the greatest investment/expansion opportunity over the next five years?

APAC region

% UK respondents

% global respondents

South Asia1 



Southeast Asia 



China and Hong Kong



Australia & New Zealand



Japan & South Korea



1 India, Pakistan, Bangladesh
2 Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia


Investor concerns

The report also highlights some concerns about investing in the APAC region. 78% of global investors polled say that aging demographics would put off investors in some sectors in APAC, while 72% say that corporate governance standards could be a barrier to investment.


Kath Lau, Associate Director at S-RM, added:

While the overall sentiment of the business leaders we polled is extremely positive about APAC investment, some organisations clearly do have concerns about specific markets, particularly around governance requirements."


Further detail on the full report can be accessed on the S-RM website, here: www.s-rminform.com/asia-investment-survey



For the Asia Investment Survey  2023 S-RM worked with Opinium to poll business decision makers around the globe to gauge investor attitudes. To create the findings S-RM polled over 400 individuals, in both large corporates and private investment firms who have responsibility for making investment decisions about the APAC region. The polling was carried out in March 2023.

Further detail on the full report can be accessed on the S-RM website, here: www.s-rminform.com/asia-investment-survey

For further information, please contact:

Tom Stewart-Walvin
+44 (0)7855 689 302

About S-RM

S-RM is a global intelligence and cyber security consultancy with expertise in insurance, cyber security and cyber response. Headquartered in London, S-RM works across nine international offices and advises companies ranging from blue-chip corporates, to large financial institutions, and beyond.


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