Also, other major Asian economies have contributed to what some analysts believe will become the 'Asian Century'. The region is about to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) treaty which is the largest free trade agreement in the world comprising 3.5 billion people and a combined GDP of $22.6 trillion.
At the center lies Southeast Asia which is going through a rapid process of modernization and industrialization. The region is quickly becoming a manufacturing hub due to the low costs of labor and external factors such as the U.S.-China trade war. Two underlying factors of economic expansion are pushing energy consumption: a growing population and higher levels of welfare.