Marcus Wallenberg: We can do more in Southeast Asia


The first ever Sweden-Southeast Asia Business Summit contained a number of prominent business representatives, not least Mr Marcus Wallenberg, Chairman of the Board, SEB, SAAB Group & Foundation Asset Management, and who has personal long experience of visiting and doing business in Southeast Asia. Mr Wallenberg is also a Board Member of Temasek Holdings in Singapore since 2008.

Mr Wallenberg’s keynote speech presided the ‘Economic and Political Outlook on Southeast Asia’ session, where he opened with the question: ’Why are we here?’

He said that Sweden’s businesses have been very successful in other regions in the world, and that Sweden is moving away from moving a lot of business onto global stage.

“Here in Asean region demographics are moving in such as way that we know that markets will develop substantially. From Sweden we have not done enough in the Asian region. I have come to that insight. I have been travelling her since the mid 1980s, and Sweden, as nation, is not doing enough. We are not living up tot the potential.”


Looking back he said that many Swedish companies arrived to Southeast Asia after the second world war and that there was been a lot of R&D and substantial investment in production here.

“But I think this is only the start, we have much more potential to increase the capacity out here.”

“I think globalization still has great potential but it is about doing things differently. Going forward I think technological development and movement of science will develop globally in a different way.”

Marcus Wallenberg anticipates focusing on new scientific areas and new science going forward.

“We are now looking into a number of possibilities in the research and development side, within life sciences and forestry, as examples.”

“We come from a country of very strong innovation skills. As a Swede to my fellow Swedes, thinking about this region: I think we are sometimes a bit hesitant to put our weight forward. Products don’t sell by themselves,” he told the government and business representatives.

“Out here we have to be very astute in being strong in the markets, and be very active, and invest in this region in order to success. And we have to have established presence here, with production etc. and we must to have long-term commitment. In my humble opinion Asians want to see that kind of commitment.”

“This summit is an excellent start,” he continued.

“While China previously grabbed all our attention, now with slow growth there we could do even more here for the long term. This is the time!”

About Joakim Persson

Freelance business and lifestyle photojournalist

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