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Growing engagement for associations in the Asia Pacific region


Discover how MCI is helping associations operate in the Asia Pacific region, adapt and tap into new growth opportunities.  


MCI is driving growth for associations in the Asia Pacific region by helping them to achieve their full potential. Understanding the unique cultural aspects of the region and embracing technology are key drivers of success in this diverse and dynamic part of the world. 

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Marcel Ewals, Director: Association Solutions (APAC), MCI Singapore shares his insights:

"We have been so excited to partner with MCI Asia Pacific. We really appreciate working with people from the area who can bring understanding and help us on the back end with our operations."  WATCH: Full video testimonial below from Jennifer Bruggeman, International Operations Manager, Society of Actuaries (SOA) (0'37)

The Asia Pacific region in numbers

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The GDP of various subregions reflects the significant economic potential of the region, making it an attractive market for associations from all sectors.   

North Asia 

  • South Korea: US$1.18 trillion 
  • Japan: US$4.5 trillion 

South-East Asia 

  • Total: US$3.66 trillion 


  • Total: US$1.3 trillion 


Market-specific points of interest 

Understanding the unique cultural aspects of doing business in Asia Pacific is essential for associations looking to thrive in this region: 


  • Business culture: Asian business culture places a strong emphasis on personal relationships, mutual respect, trust, and recognizing the decision-making authority of key stakeholders. Building these relationships is pivotal to success. 
  • Family influence: In Asia, the concept of family extends across generations. Approximately 35% of all families have their parents living in the same household, and there's a social responsibility to care for parents and family members. These familial ties can significantly impact individual decisions, including professional choices. 

Emerging trends


The COVID-19 pandemic left an indelible mark on the world, and Asia Pacific was no exception. As the region recovered, several noteworthy trends emerged:

  • The great resignation: A global phenomenon, the "Great Resignation," where employees sought new opportunities, also took place in Asia. This trend led to a re-evaluation of work-life balance and career priorities. 
  • Work from home: Many companies in the region continue to embrace remote work, even with the easing of pandemic restrictions. The idea of working from home has, at least partially, become an accepted norm. 
  • Online learning: The pandemic accelerated the adoption of online learning platforms in Asia. Educational institutions and professionals began to appreciate the benefits of virtual education. 
  • Social media dominance: Asians have become the largest global users of social media platforms, making digital engagement a crucial aspect of association strategies. Many Asian countries have their own platforms, aside from the global ones. 

Success stories


Case #1: A global professional organisation in the insurance and financial field 

  • Challenge: Encouraging a culture of sharing that was counterintuitive to local habits. In Vietnam, members tend to see other members as competitors and not as potential mentors. 
  • Our solution: MCI proposed a campaign that would enhance the “willingness to share ideas” between members.  
  • Strategy: We compared membership to a family, emphasising the support and opportunities the association offers. Relatable storytelling was used to help members envision themselves as mentors or mentees. 
  • Outcome: Since 2014, the association has experienced consistent growth in Vietnam, thanks to explosion of the market and our tailored approach. Addressing local concerns increases the engagement among the members and reduces the barriers of competition. 
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Case #2: The International Federation of Landscape Architects (APR) Awards Series 

  • Challenge: The Association had launched an award program in 2018 but it lacked traction.  
  • Our solution: The MCI Team launched a branding campaign  
  • Strategy: We highlighted the value of the awards and automated the submission process to a user-friendly interface.  
  • Outcome: A 300% growth in the first year, and an 850% increase from 2018 to 2023. The awards have become a sought-after recognition in the market. 
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Case #3: Asia Pacific Glaucoma Society (APGS) 

  • Challenge: The association needed to enhance interaction, learning and engagement amongst members. 
  • Our solution: More than 35 hours of educational content were produced in 2023, with 15+ masterclasses and courses available online. 
  • Strategy: Targeting the 11,000 valid email subscribers with an in intuitive and easy to use app. 
  • Outcome: 25% of users (2,845) now have a login account to interact with APGS. There are 500+ qualified participants per online activity. The app had a soft launch and will be further promoted whenever engagement opportunities arise. 
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To discuss growth opportunities in the Asia Pacific region, contact Marcel Ewals,​ Director Association Solutions​ APAC, based in MCI Singapore. 


* Associations’ drivers of global growth series    

Achieving clear and successful global growth for associations demands a strategic approach that encompasses several key attributes. MCI’s global strategy for associations is deliberate, proactive and informed by local insights, with a commitment to prioritising growth.   

This is the first in our Drivers of Global Growth Series​, which is based on the learnings shared in our Global Growth Workshop. Each article focuses on a different region.


Learn more about:  

Driving key opportunities through training and certification for associations in India 

Expanding horizons: Leveraging education opportunities for revenue growth in Latin America

Building relationships and driving growth for associations in the Middle East

Marcel Ewals - Director, Association Solutions Asia Pacific, MCI Singapore