Southeast Asia is looking set to be a hive of activity, what with a host of small and midsize Japanese companies planning to move into industrial complexes in the region within the next three years, according to a report.

The Nikkei says that no less than 350 such firms are looking to make their way into the region, and on the automotive front the list is led by Toyota, which is building a second assembly plant in Indonesia it will share with Daihatsu; the latter is also opening a R&D centre there. Suzuki is also another company expanding into the Indonesian market, with a new engine plant set to begin operations next March.

All this has led to a rush to put up industrial complexes with the infrastructure to support the planned influx. Autopart suppliers Futaba Industrial and Shiroki Corporation are among the 60 or so Japanese firms set to open production facilities next spring in the Greenland International Industrial Center in the suburbs of Jakarta.

Its owners are now in the midst to expand the industrial park from the current 400 hectares to 1,300 hectares, aiming to make it the largest in the country, the report states. Elsewhere, Toyota Tsusho has bought 15 hectares at another industrial complex in the suburbs of Jakarta, and about a dozen other Toyota group parts makers are looking at opening up operations there.

Elsewhere, the likes of general intrading concern Itochu Corporation plan to lease production facilities in Indonesia by next year, while Japanese giant Sumitomo Corporation is set to do the same in Vietnam, beginning next May. Amidst all this planned movement, there’s very little mention of Malaysia in it all, so the question must be, where do we stand in the grand scheme of things?