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John R. Lichtefeld


John Lichtefeld is a Principal at The Asia Group, where he provides strategic advice and regulatory analysis for clients operating or considering expansion in emerging frontier markets in Southeast Asia. In this capacity, he is responsible for developing and supporting implementation of sophisticated investment and government relations strategies to help clients navigate evolving geopolitical dynamics and leverage broader regional and sectoral trends.

John has extensive experience operating in Southeast Asia, and has lived and traveled throughout the region. This experience informs his approach to and understanding of the unique dynamics and investment challenges in regional markets, and provides him with a nuanced perspective on the political economy and evolution of foreign investment in Southeast Asia. Over the past decade he has supported projects across the automotive, business process outsourcing, e-commerce, manufacturing, media, non-profit, power & energy, technology, telecommunications, and tourism & hospitality sectors.

Since joining The Asia Group in 2015, John has led efforts across multiple sectors and disciplines. He has provided in-depth analysis of proposed regulatory changes in Vietnam, political risk assessments on proposed inward investments into Myanmar, and supported strategic planning exercises for investments in Malaysia and Thailand. In the U.S. context, he has helped clients assess the shifting landscape of U.S. trade policy and led trade analysis exercises, illuminating trade patterns and pinpointing potential areas of vulnerability in regional supply chains. Most recently, John has been integral to The Asia Group’s expansion and opening of an office in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he will be posted frequently throughout 2020 to help advance client equities throughout Mekong Southeast Asia.

Before joining The Asia Group, John acted as a Foreign Legal Consultant with Singaporean law firm Kelvin Chia’s Yangon office, working alongside other regional consultants and local attorneys. While with the firm, he directly interfaced with clients to provide advice and guidance on Myanmar’s fast-evolving legal and regulatory regimes, and helped successfully guide investments and negotiate contracts. He was later seconded to Myanmar’s largest telecommunications provider, KSGM, where he served as in-house counsel during the implementation of Myanmar’s telecommunications law. While in Yangon, John also traveled frequently to Bangkok to serve as an independent consultant to a USAID-backed development project focused on preparing the region’s small-scale agricultural sectors for new challenges stemming from economic development and climate change.

John has a Master of Arts in Security Policy Studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University, a J.D. from Georgetown Law, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. He is a Nonresident Fellow with the Stimson Center’s Southeast Asia program and Fellow with the Climate and Security Advisory Group’s Climate Security Fellowship Program. When he is not reading or writing about Southeast Asia, John is an avid cyclist, aspiring amateur chef, and occasional disc jockey.