Asia-Pacific Infrastructure 2021: Strong foundations in a changing world

Although the world has been in the grip of a pandemic, our survey shows that the Asia-Pacific infrastructure market is set for considerable growth in the next few years with technology and ESG considerations at the heart of that expansion

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Foreword

While some projects have been delayed, the sector has proven itself remarkably resilient. As has occurred with previous crises, there is now a growing expectation that infrastructure financing volumes will increase above and beyond historical values as the effects of the pandemic subside. And private investment is vital, considering the region’s infrastructure needs— demanding US$1.7 trillion annually in financing, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

With this in mind, White & Case, in association with Inframation, set out to investigate the prospects for infrastructure investment across the APAC region. This new survey builds on our 2019 report Cutting Through the Noise.

The research reveals that, Black Swan events aside, investors remain extremely bullish over the long-term fundamentals of the Asia-Pacific infrastructure sector, with four clear trends emerging:

New frontiers
Investors see APAC as a land of opportunity. More than half of respondents cited ‘wealth of opportunity’ as the greatest benefit to investing in the region.

Growth plans
Despite concerns regarding aspects such as construction and delivery risk and political scrutiny, the outlook from respondents is overwhelmingly positive—78 per cent of firms intend to grow their teams in the region in 2021.

Social surges
Mirroring the findings from our previous report, roads are once again seen as the key infrastructure sector destination. The most eye-catching trend is the significantly increased focus on social infrastructure, with 58 per cent of firms intending to invest.

Responsibility reigns
An increasing need for sustainable infrastructure management caused 60 per cent of respondents to cite environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations as ‘very important’ when looking at their investment in the region.

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