3 May, 2018
In 2018, for the third year running, World Bank’s Doing Business report named Brunei Darussalam the most improved economy in the world in terms of ease of doing business. Overall the Sultanate was ranked 11th in Asia Pacific, ahead of both China and India.
Many current opportunities in Brunei for foreign investors relate to efforts to diversify Brunei’s economy away from natural resources (oil & gas primarily) to other sectors. There is a particular emphasis on developing Brunei as a regional transport and tourism hub as evidenced by efforts to develop a major special economic zone near the capital. This reflects Brunei’s important geopolitical position with respect to the South China Sea. To date, the strongest foreign investment interest has been from Chinese investors which is a shift from past historic ties Brunei has had with the UK and Europe.
Based on our extensive experience in the country, these are the three key considerations for investors contemplating entering the market:
- engage with relevant Government officials very early – make sure you have good local advice to identify the correct contacts
- pick a sector that is a high government priority and take a collaborative approach that respects local norms
- build relationships with a long term view rather than quick returns
For more information and to download our full guide to The Belt and Road Initiative, click here.
Neilia Tan, Partner, Eversheds Sutherland