East Asia and Pacific

IB Policies Around the World



The leaders of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) acknowledged the strong support for inclusive business by its member states and called for greater emphasis on creating an enabling environment for inclusive business in ASEAN, among others through conducive rules and regulations.

The Chairman’s Statement of the 31st ASEAN Summit on 13 November 2017 in Manila explicitly includes inclusive business as part of the ASEAN Economic Community. The ASEAN Inclusive Business Framework institutionalizes and mainstreams IB into ASEAN’s economy. The ASEAN Inclusive Business Summit, which was held in September 2017 in Manila, and the ASEAN Inclsuive Business Award 2017 already paved the way towards a more inclusive socio-economic society. The objective of the ASEAN Inlcusive Business Framework is to strengthen enabling policy environments for IB in AMS, thereby helping IB companies maximizing opportunities in terms of economic growth and development. Moreover, the frameworks aims to foster regional collaboration encouraging cross country adoption of IB practices, and to connect AEC and ASCC vision along the line of IB practices, economic growth and positive social impact.


Cambodia has some existing inclusive business models and a few inclusive business investments, mainly in agribusiness. The leading commercial bank Acleda bank has broadened its approach from providing microfinance to supporting inclusive business. While there is no government support policy yet for IB, there is potential for IB investments especially in agribusiness, manufacturing, tourism and education.


People’s Republic of China has few IB specific investments although the market potential is huge. IB investments were encouraged earlier, especially for agribusiness, under the “dragonhead approach” and the go west strategy of the government. The government championed the IB agenda as 2016 chair of the G20. In June 2018, ADB, IFC, IADB and WBCSD published a market scoping study on IB in China. The report explains the current state of inclusive business (IB) models from the PRC, drawing from domestic and international company examples and practices. Key characteristics of IBs in terms of sector, size, and business model, and challenges facing these IBs are discussed. It also presents opportunities for IB to build on existing government programs, and proposes actions various stakeholders can take to promote the growth of IB in PRC. 


Indonesia could be a huge market for inclusive business. The country has lots of innovative entrepreneurs. However, while there are some inclusive business investments, large investment opportunities remain especially in agribusiness, tourism, and housing. A number of companies focus more on CSR activities although there is an emerging social enterprise movement. No specific IB focused funds exist, and so far very few banks show interest in supporting IB. There is however, increasing interest from the government (central and local) to support and encourage IB. Discussion is underway to establish an IB/SE task force. The government and business associations (KADIN and APINDO) are interested in getting involved in IB accreditation. The ADB is exploring, with the government, inclusion of IB components in a public sector loan for IB in 2017.


Japan has a social enterprise and CSR focus. Very few IB investments have taken place although companies have expressed an interest in the concept. The 1st IB bond in the world has been established here under the IFC. The government promotes IB through its agencies JIBSC, JETRO and JICA.


There is a strong CSR focus amongst companies. While there is an increasing interest amongst large conglomerates in strategic CSR, there is so far barely any IB investment of large Korean companies in developing Asia. No investors exist and there is no active government promotion so far, however interest is emerging. The Korean government implemented a social problem-solving R&D policy in order to counteract social, economic and environmental problems.


Lao PDR has inclusive business investment opportunities in agribusiness. However, the concept of IB has not been taken up by the government or by investors so far


Malaysia has some social enterprises, and large companies involved in CSR activities. There is no government support policy for IB; however, . IB potential is particularly in agribusiness and technical training.


Myanmar is undergoing substantial reforms where the private sector defines a new and much more active role. IB can play a major role in the private sector contribution to the democratic renewal of the country. Government, some companies – especially in agribusiness, and business associations are interested in IB as a concept. So far, there are however no IB investments, but some social enterprises exist. The Myanmar Business Council is showing increasing interest in inclusive business.


Philippines is unique in Asia with strong government interest in IB accreditation, IB policy alignment, and IB prioritization, as part of the Priority Investment Plan. The country is a rapidly growing market for inclusive business investments, although the number of commercially viable IB models remains small There is a strong social enterprise movement and companies are showing an interest in using their CSR more strategically. A few banks are slowly showing interest in IB as well. The government championed IB as a topic for APEC and is interested in a public sector loan from ADB to promote IB. The Philippines provide a great example of how public-private partnerships can enrich the BoP. The “Water for Poor Communities” programme of the Manila Water Company (MWC), is a partnership programme between local government and communities to extend water supply to BoP communities that had not been served previously. Find out more about the Philippines’ motivation, institutuional coordination mechanisms, priorities and challenges in terms of supporting inclusive business.


Singapore has a strong social enterprise movement but with a focus on the home market. Singaporean companies are increasingly interested in the IB discussion. The city is a hub for IB investment funds, impact investors, and banks with interest in the space (e.g. Credit Suisse, UBS). Initiatives, which offer attractive rates of risk-adjusted returns to investors with a interest of creating economic and social returns, have been A Social enterprise law is in place with the government actively encouraging the establishment of social enterprise and inclusive business.


Thailand has a strong social enterprise movement, supported by an active government policy to encourage social entrepreneurship. A social enterprise law is in place and the government has shown an interest in IB/SE accreditation. Moreover, the National Taskforce on Social Impact Investment (“Thailand Taksforce”), which was launched in 2016, paves the way for the development of an effective social impact investment market by engaging the public and the private sector. Also, some Thailand based impact funds exist. Investments in IB companies, though, remain rare. There seems to be a need for further capacity building and knowledge sharing on IB in Thailand


Viet Nam has seen a few inclusive business investments so far but there is potential for a lot more particularly in agribusiness and seafood industries. A DFID funded challenge fund for inclusive business called the Vietnam Business Challenge Fund exists alongside some other impact investors. There is still limited awareness amongst banks although the government (Ministry of Planning and Investment) is increasingly interested in the discussion. The country offers a potential for a lot more activity.