Facilitating greater business flows between ASEAN and the UK

We’re collaborating with United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) to facilitate greater cross-border business flows between ASEAN and the United Kingdom.

United Overseas Bank

The alliance brings together the complementary strengths such as local market knowledge and regional presence of both banks in helping companies from our respective markets expand overseas.

Together we aim to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) expand from the UK into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region and vice versa over the next two years. The SMEs will be able to access both UOB and our financial products and services, as well as benefit from our respective industry insights and business connections, which are relevant and essential for successful market entry.

Sam Cheong, Head of Group Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Advisory, UOB, said:

Our collaboration with Santander UK enables UK firms seeking new production or sales markets to navigate the complexities of doing business in one of the world’s most diverse regions. With rising incomes and the increasing consumption power of ASEAN’s young, plentiful and skilled workforce, the potential to build a sustainable business in ASEAN is huge. Together with Santander UK, we will focus on engaging businesses – from manufacturers to wholesalers and retailers – to help them seize the opportunities in the region.

John Carroll, Head of Products and International Business, Santander UK, said:

We know from experience firms that export and trade internationally tend to be more confident and will benefit from additional opportunities. Through our strategic alliance with UOB, we will engage more SMEs in the UK, helping them to understand the diverse economies and cultures of the region. This will help them to take advantage of the growing number of opportunities that exist.

Such business opportunities will continue to arise from ASEAN’s economic potential. UOB estimates that the combined gross domestic product of the ASEAN countries will expand from the current US$2.5 trillion to US$6.4 trillion by 2030, making it the fourth largest economy in the world.

Combining the strengths of UOB and Santander UK

In 2011, UOB established its FDI Advisory Unit which works closely with government agencies, trade and industry associations and professional service providers to promote regional connectivity. The Unit serves as a one-stop shop dedicated to providing companies with comprehensive business advisory and solutions and to helping them access business opportunities across Asia, especially ASEAN. UOB has nine FDI Centres located in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Since the Unit was set up in 2011 to the end of 2017, it has provided its advisory services to more than 1,600 companies from around the world, facilitating close to S$90 billion in business flows.

Santander organises regular trade missions for UK firms to link them up with buyers and to help them network with key stakeholders, enabling them to make connections that will unlock global export and trade opportunities. We’re uniquely placed to support businesses’ aspirations for growth and expansion with tools such as our Trade Portal, Trade Club and Sector and International desk directors. We have a strong international presence thanks to our extensive global network in 10 major markets, more than 12,000 branches worldwide and a network of international alliance partners.

As part of the collaboration, UOB and Santander UK will also facilitate more trade and investment from companies across ASEAN into the UK. These efforts include helping Singapore companies with their expansion plans in the UK, one of their top business and investment destinations. Data from Santander UK shows that Singapore was one of the major contributors to UK’s FDI inflows in 2016.

One company already taking advantage of this collaboration is Naiise, a design retailer founded in Singapore in 2013. 

Dennis Tay, founder of Naiise said:

Through the financial solutions and advisory services provided by UOB and Santander UK, we are confident that we will grow from strength to strength as we increase our sales and customer engagement channels in the UK, one of our key growth markets outside Singapore.

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Find out more about how we could help your business prosper internationally on our International hub.

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