The Strait Times of Singapore on October 7 quoted the findings of a new survey as saying that 80 percent of firms regard the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) as a good business opportunity and believe it will accelerate growth in their industries.

However, the same percentage of respondents said they are bracing themselves for tougher competition when the AEC comes into force in late 2015.

The report from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) includes a survey of more than 230 business leaders and senior government officials, both within and outside the region, who were polled on their views about ASEAN.

While 70 percent of the poll's respondents said they believe more intense competition will encourage ASEAN companies to internationalise, 81 percent said they expect SMEs to lose out.

The AEC, expected to be officially set up in late 2015, sets a target of creating a single market in the region, with minimum barriers for trade and investment activities.-VNA