SINGAPORE: Eighty-five per cent of US companies in Southeast Asia plan to expand their business as the region will become more important in the next two years, the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Singapore said on Monday.

“ASEAN continues to grow in importance for businesses in the region,” AmCham Singapore said in a statement, citing a poll of 327 senior executives from US companies in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam between May 18 and June 8.

ASEAN refers to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and also includes Brunei, Myanmar and Laos.

Seventy-three per cent of respondents said ASEAN’s importance to their companies will increase over the next two years, up from 70 per cent in a survey last year, while not a single company said it intended to shrink its regional operations.

Regionally, Indonesia was the most popular destination for US companies, with 72 per cent of respondents reporting their company was planning to expand there.

“Indonesia’s strengths lie in its low-cost business environment. Respondents enjoy low-cost labour as well as low housing and office lease costs,” AmCham Singapore said.

“However, there are also major concerns with corruption, laws and regulations, and infrastructure.”