Global information provider Nielsen encouraged suppliers and exporters to also tap “middleweight” regions and cities in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations besides mega-cities. In the “Rethinking ASEAN: Dispelling 8 Myths About Consumer Markets” report, Nielsen said middleweights – regions with populations of 500,000 to 5 million – were showing the fastest rate of consumer demand growth in the ASEAN. The report said that while mega-cities (those with over 5 million inhabitants) such as Manila, Bangkok, and Jakarta are important consumer markets, they do not dominate consumer demand. Seven of the product categories studied- including chocolates, cigarettes, and noodles- are expected to grow fastest in middleweight regions. Nielsen attributed the rise of middleweight markets to cross-border trade and logistics, the presence of economic clusters such as business process outsourcing centers, and a growing consumer base from urbanization.
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