ICT Update: Vietnam’s MIC Releases Second Draft Circular on Import Licenses for Cyber Information Security Products

ICT Update | March 1st, 2017
Authors: Kim Yaeger, Matt Solomon, Riley Smith and Steve Prawiromaruto
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

April 26-27 – Digital Economy Industry Mission to Indonesia. 

The Council is now registering executives for the inaugural Digital Economy Industry Mission to Indonesia. The delegation will engage the Indonesian government on data localization, OTT, TKDN, cyber security, data privacy, e-payments, e-commerce, and related issues. Click here to register for the Mission. A planning call will be held on March 2 (DC)/March 3 (Jakarta) to review mission themes, meeting targets and logistics. To register, email Kim Yaeger at kyaeger@usasean.org.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Vietnam’s MIC Releases Second Draft Circular on Import Licenses for Cyber Information Security Products

Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has issued the second draft circular "Detailing the Procedures and Documents for Granting Import Licenses for Cyber Information Security (CIS) Products." The Council submitted feedback on the first draft in December 2016 (available here), raising concerns related to product classification, the procedure for granting licenses, and that the Circular and its related regulations under the 2015 Law on Network Information Security cast too wide a net in regulating mass consumption products.

Changes in the updated version (unofficial English translation, courtesy of Baker & McKenzie) include:

  • In specifying which CIS Products require an import permit, HS code 8517 has been removed, and HS codes 8471.30.90; 8471.41.90 and 8471.49.90 remain;
  • More detailed descriptions of the CIS products subject to an import permits; and
  • Only CIS products whose core function is its cyber information security function, as described under the Draft Circular, will be subject to an import permit. [Under Appendix 1, listing CIS products subject to import permit: “Cyber information security verification and evaluation products include devices that have the following basic (core) functions: to scan, check and/or analyse the architecture, status and record data of an information system; to detect its flaws and weaknesses; and examine risks to information safety.”]

The deadline for feedback on the Draft Circular is Friday, March 3. If you have any feedback, contact Matt Solomon at msolomon@usasean.org.

Proposed Social Media Regulation Act Filed in Philippine House of Representatives

Pantaleon Alvarez, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, recently filed Bill 5021 that would prohibit social media users from opening online accounts using another person’s name and presenting themselves as other people online. The proposed bill, which is also called the “Social Media Regulation Act,” would require that social media companies be responsible for verifying the identity of users on their platform. Users who violate the law by passing themselves off as someone else on social media would face between six and 12 years of jail time and a fine of between P30,000 (US$596) and 50,000 US$(994).  Bill 5021 defines social media to be “any electronic medium that allows interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas, including but not limited to uploading or downloading videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant messages, electronic mail or Internet website profiles or locations.” 
 
Last week, local news sources reported that Alvarez plans to summon representatives from social media companies to participate in a hearing on the proposed bill.  Alvarez also reportedly filed a resolution for the House of Representatives to look into the abilities of social media companies to verify the identity of their users.  The proposed bill comes at a time of heightened concerns that criticism of some of President Duterte’s controversial domestic policies, such as his violent crackdown on illegal drugs, is being stifled. Alvarez, a strong ally of Duterte, explained that he had been the victim of a fake Facebook account created by someone who sought to discredit him before last year’s general elections in May. The Council is currently considering submitting a letter regarding Bill 5021. Please contact Riley Smith at rsmith@usasean.org with any feedback.      

The Philippines Issues Guidelines for Virtual Currencies

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas released the Guidelines for Virtual Currency (VC) Exchanges which recognizes the effectiveness of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a tool for faster and more convenient trades and transactions. Section 4512N of the Guidelines state that: “Bangko Sentral recognizes that Virtual Currency (VC) systems have the potential to revolutionize delivery of financial services, particularly for payments and remittance, in view of their ability to provide faster and more economical transfer of funds, both domestic and international, and may further support financial inclusion.”

The Philippines is currently third in the world in terms of Bitcoin use, and the number of users have more than doubled since the first half of 2015. BSP did maintain however that the risks of VC’s—the high degree of anonymity, the velocity of the transactions, and the volatility of the prices—need to be considered. BSP also maintains that they will not endorse any VC’s such as Bitcoin as a currency, as they are not issued, nor guaranteed, by a central bank. The Bank seeks to provide a formal regulatory framework for the use of VC’s, particularly when it is used for payments and remittances. The unregulated, volatile nature of VC’s could lead to higher risks of money laundering, which is a key concern for BSP.

Under the Guidelines, “virtual currencies” are defined as any digital units used as a medium of exchange or electronically stored value, although it is different from e-money, which is also on BSP’s watch. Thus, it will regulate Bitcoin startups as remittance companies, with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) policies tightened.

The Guidelines also require VC companies to obtain “Certificates of Registration” to operate as a remittance and transfer companies and pay annual registration and service fees. VC exchanges must also “submit quarterly reports on volumes transacted and annual financial statements to the central bank.” The Central Bank also set a cap for virtual transactions, saying that pay-outs above P500,000 or its foreign currency equivalent can only be made through check payment or direct bank credit. Thus, in order to fully comply with new regulation, companies like Bitcoin will have to apply for a license and be authorized to operate by BSP.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
ASEAN
Game on in Asean

Indonesia
Telkom’s $250m satellite to better connect Indonesia’s islands
Government to issue regulation on online shops
Surabaya Mayor Invites Silicon Valley’s CEOs
House meddles in interconnection rate polemics
Indonesia sees long but possible path to developing own satellites

Malaysia
Minister: Malaysia, Saudi Arabia cement cooperation in ICT
Grab extends GrabShare carpooling service to Malaysia and the Philippines

Myanmar
Myanmar sees rare series A investment as startups finally take off
'A company of my own': the rise of Myanmar's tech pioneers
Towering up: Next battle looms in mobile connectivity

Philippines
Latest Regulatory Changes Give Bitcoin Startups in the Philippines A Chance to Survive
House to summon FB, Twitter execs
Amdocs to expand local market reach | BusinessMirror

Singapore
Mobile shopping in Singapore to grow by 42 percent this year: PayPal
Singapore govt to pump US$1.7B to transform country into digital powerhouse

Thailand
11street launched in Thailand
Cloud and blockchain technology to drive Thailand’s digital transformation
Thailand seeks India’s partnership in pharma, bio-tech
Spending on public cloud services gathering pace
Bids awarded for broadband work
New agencies to sort out ICT overlap

Vietnam
Samsung Unit to Invest $2.5B More In Vietnam
Huawei to spend $2m on IT human resources in Việt Nam
Da Nang tech park draws $180 million investment 
Short supply of workers drives IT salaries through the roof 
Vietnam likely to become ASEAN’s Silicon Valley
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
ASEAN

Game on in Asean Bangkok Post 13th Feb 2017
Asean governments, especially in Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore, are providing significant support to game designers, aiming to attract talent to develop an industry that is booming alongside demand for mobile games in China. Japanese game developers are also aggressively setting up offshore game design centres in Southeast Asia to tap into the regional talent pool and save costs.

Indonesia

Telkom’s $250m satellite to better connect Indonesia’s islands The Jakarta Post 14th Feb 2017
Close to the equator, French Guiana, a scarcely populated country with only 158,000 inhabitants, is regarded as an ideal place to launch satellites. Mostly covered by equatorial forest, the South American country provides a stable climate, as well as invulnerability to earthquakes and hurricanes. Lying just over 500 km north of the equator, Kourou provides an advantage for satellite launches, because the earth’s spinning boosts the propulsion of the rocket taking the satellite into space.

Government to issue regulation on online shops The Jakarta Post 28th Feb 2017
The government is considering issuing a regulation to support the “Safe Harbor Policy” that was introduced in December last year to give legal protection to online shops against the sale of illegal goods by their merchants. Communication and Information Minister Rudiantara said implementation of the Safe Harbor Policy was based on guidelines stipulated in a ministry circular. “The circular is part of the process before the policy can be fully implemented.  We will later issue a ministerial regulation as the basis of the Safe Harbor Policy,” he said at a press conference in Jakarta. The Communication and Information Ministry issued a circular to state the responsibility of e-commerce players, such online shops and their merchants, regarding the legality of goods or services sold.

Surabaya Mayor Invites Silicon Valley’s CEOs Tempo 23rd Feb 2017
Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini said that the Surabaya regional government administration is committed to turning the city into a digital startup center in Indonesia. Risma announced a plan to hold a conference and technical training with a number of technology and business experts from Silicon Valley, San Francisco, US.

House meddles in interconnection rate polemics The Jakarta Post 14th Feb 2017
The “Interconnection Rate” working group led by the House of Representatives’ Commission I, overseeing telecommunications, foreign affairs and defense, has held its first hearing on the hot-button issue of possible interconnection rate cuts. At its first meeting with the group, the Telecommunications Regulatory Body (BRTI) received several recommendations regarding its plan to go forward with changing the rates.

Indonesia sees long but possible path to developing own satellites The Jakarta Post 13th Feb 2017
Indonesia is taking baby steps to reduce its dependence on foreign telecommunications satellites through technology-transfer arrangements and micro-satellite development. In fact, more and more Indonesian engineers have been trained abroad to master the technology. A 27-year-old engineer from state-owned telecommunications company Telkom, Angga Risnando, for example, has learned the art of making the Telkom 3S satellite directly from Cannes-based satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space (TAS).

Malaysia

Minister: Malaysia, Saudi Arabia cement cooperation in ICT Malay Mail Online 27th Feb 2017
In tandem with rapid global development in communications and information technology, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have agreed to further enhance cooperation in the field, particularly those involving news exchanges.    Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said the cooperation between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia would be strengthened with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the news agencies of both countries, Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) and Saudi Press Agency (SPA), today. He said Malaysia and Saudi Arabia would also review the MoU signed by the two countries on December 16, 1982.

Grab extends GrabShare carpooling service to Malaysia and the Philippines Tech in Asia 16th Feb 2017
Southeast Asian ride-hailing app Grab is expanding its GrabShare service to Malaysia and the Philippines, it announced today. GrabShare is Grab’s version of UberPool, its competitor’s multiple-passenger ferrying service.

Myanmar

Myanmar sees rare series A investment as startups finally take off Tech in Asia 20th Feb 2017
Ever since Myanmar opened up its economy following one of Asia’s most brutal dictatorships in 2010, everything from politics to culture and business in the once-isolated nation has radically changed. From being virtually off-grid, Myanmar has seen mobile usage rocket. This largely untapped market of 60 million people has caught the interest of entrepreneurs and investors alike.

'A company of my own': the rise of Myanmar's tech pioneers The Guardian 13th Feb 2017
“It’s always been my ultimate goal to have a company of my own,” says Htun Khaing Lynn, or Zack, as he prefers to be called. Last September the 22-year-old engineering graduate from Myanmar’s eastern Shan state co-founded online truck-pooling service Kargo, which connects individuals and businesses who need to move goods around congested Yangon. Cars have flooded Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial centre, since restrictions on imports were lifted in 2010, causing mayhem in a city with almost no public transport. Kargo, which now employs seven people, aims to reduce the number of vehicles on the roads, making life easier for both commuters and businesses.

Towering up: Next battle looms in mobile connectivity Frontier Myanmar 27th Feb 2017
ENGINEER DAVID Kittle is happy when people don’t notice his work. As national manager for telecom infrastructure company Edotco, he would prefer that no one pays attention to the towers that punctuate Yangon’s skyline, some perched on rooftops like steel gargoyles, others looming over the horizon like rocket ships. But from a rooftop construction site in Yankin, Kittle sees little else. “That one looks like an Ooredoo,” he said, of a small, silver spike on a roof a few blocks away. To the south, a vaguely rectangular shape all but invisible in the smog. “That one over there looks like one of MPT’s.” The tower Kittle has climbed to the roof to inspect is a clean, silver tripod, roughly the height of a palm tree. It’s on a roof across the street from a high-rise building site. “When that is finished,” he said, motioning to the high-rise, “this tower is going to have a lot of data traffic.” Telenor requested the rooftop tower, but the telco company will not own it. Rather, Edotco, a Malaysia-based firm that acquired the Myanmar Tower Company (a partnership between Digicel and Yoma Strategic) in 2015, will lease antenna space to operators, as if the tower were a condo or office building.

Philippines

Latest Regulatory Changes Give Bitcoin Startups in the Philippines A Chance to Survive NEWSBTC 28th Feb 2017
Bitcoin startups are often hindered in their efforts by rather strict regulation. Even though cryptocurrency has made an impact in the Philippines already, the regulatory guidelines remain somewhat of a hurdle. That has come to change, as recent changes seemingly favor companies dealing with bitcoin. In the end, this is a positive change that may benefit bitcoin adoption in the Philippines moving forward. The Guidelines for Virtual Currency Exchanges document contains some intriguing information. On the one hand, the Bangko Sentral acknowledges the disruptive success of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. With faster and more convenient trades and transactions, it is evident cryptocurrency has a leg up over traditional offerings. However, virtual currencies are a systemic risk for money laundering and terrorist financing as well.

House to summon FB, Twitter execs philstar.com 25th Feb 2017
The House of Representatives will soon summon officers of social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said yesterday the officers would be invited to a hearing on his bill that seeks to regulate social media. He said even before the House could conduct a hearing, representatives of some social media networks have conveyed to him their readiness to cooperate in the formulation of a regulatory measure. Alvarez filed Bill 5021, the proposed Social Media Regulation Act. Under the bill, every social media user “must observe a responsible and fair exercise of his right to free expression and opinion.” “He is, however, prohibited from opening an account for his online presence using someone else’s identity and present himself to the online world as that person whom he is not,” the measure provides. It also makes social media networks responsible for ascertaining the veracity of the identity of a user of their platform. Violators would face imprisonment of six years to 12 years and a fine of P30,000 to P50,000. Bill 5021 defines social media as “any electronic medium that allows interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas, including but not limited to uploading or downloading videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant messages, electronic mail or Internet website profiles or locations.” Alvarez also filed a resolution asking the House to inquire into why social media networks have failed to check on the identity of their users.

Amdocs to expand local market reach | BusinessMirror Business Mirror 18th Feb 2017
SOFTWARE solutions developer Amdocs Ltd. said it is now time to push further to promote the brand in the Philippines. “Amdocs is not a fast-moving consumer good [FMCG]. The consumer world does not need to know us,” Alita Wong, Amdocs Asia Pacific head of marketing, told reporters. “Within the service provider, local system integrator and the local solutions in the Philippine industry environment, we want to go up more.”

Singapore

Mobile shopping in Singapore to grow by 42 percent this year: PayPal MIS Asia 28th Feb 2017
Cross-border online shopping is also forecasted to grow by 23 percent this year. According to PayPal's Ipsos Cross-Border research report in 2016, more than a third of Singaporeans (38 percent) think they will be spending more online this year. Seventy-eight percent of them are turning to e-commerce because it is more convenient (78 percent) than shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, while 36 percent are attracted by discounts offered through online channels. PayPal surveyed more than 28,000 consumers in 32 countries, including Singapore, China, India, Japan, and Thailand.

Singapore govt to pump US$1.7B to transform country into digital powerhouse Yahoo News 20th Feb 2017
The Singapore government is pulling out all the stops to ramp up the country’s digital readiness and innovation drive. In an uncertain and rapidly changing world, Singapore firms — especially those facing cyclical headwinds — need to adapt and innovate in order to thrive. This was the core of Singapore’s finance minister Heng Swee Keat’s message at the Budget 2017 speech in parliament today. He stressed the importance of equipping SMEs and workers with digital skillsets, and building a strong infrastructure that will foster the growth of innovative technologies and solutions. Heng said Singapore would allocate S$2.4 billion (US$1.7 billion) for this digitalisation drive.

Thailand

11street launched in Thailand Koreatimes 16th Feb 2017
SK Planet has launched 11street in Thailand, becoming Korea's first business to open an online marketplace in the Southeast Asian country, the company said Thursday. Korean actor Song Joong-ki and Thai actress Mew Nittha ― the two official models of the e-commerce platform ― attended the opening ceremony held on the same day at Central World in Bangkok. Korea's leading e-commerce firm has put ads up at busy streets in Siam and Phrom Phong, and plans to broadcast TV commercials there as well. Thailand is the fourth overseas market where the SK Telecom unit has opened its online mall. The platform debuted in Turkey in 2013 as n11, in Indonesia in 2014 as elevenia, and in Malaysia in 2015 as 11street.

Cloud and blockchain technology to drive Thailand’s digital transformation South China Morning Post 14th Feb 2017
Cloud computing, the Internet of Things, big data analytics, blockchain and artificial intelligence will be five digital technology trends affecting enterprise transformation in Thailand this year, says a major software firm. “Thailand has Asia-Pacific’s second-highest growth rate for Microsoft cloud service adoption, in part because of the country’s digital infrastructure readiness and companies driving towards digital transformation,” said Orapong Thien-Ngern, general manager of Microsoft (Thailand), the local operating unit of US software maker Microsoft.

Thailand seeks India’s partnership in pharma, bio-tech The Hindu Business Line 13th Feb 2017
Thailand is seeking India’s cooperation in a number of sectors, such as aerospace, automation, medical devices, pharmaceutical, bio-technology and IT/ITes, as it strives to transform into a value-based economy. The Thailand Board of Investment, which has invited 2,500 investors from across countries to its mega seminar Opportunity Thailand 2017 this week, is especially interested in investments from India, an official from the Thai government said.

Spending on public cloud services gathering pace Bangkok Post 27th Feb 2017
Thailand's spending on public cloud services will continue to gather steam in 2017, with the market estimated to be worth US$221 million (7.73 billion baht), says global research firm IDC. A recent notification by the Bank of Thailand allowing the use of cloud in IT outsourcing services for the banking and financial sectors is expected to give a further boost to the adoption of public cloud computing, said Jarit Sidhu, research manager of IDC Asia Pacific. "2017 can expect to see more growth than ever before, up from $169 million in 2016 and $127 million in 2015," he said.

Bids awarded for broadband work Bangkok Post 25th Feb 2017
Eight private companies have won the bids to supply optical fibre cable and broadband-related equipment to TOT Plc for the installation of the national broadband network across the country. The total price of the eight bids was 3.2 billion baht, or 25% lower than the reserve price of 4.27 billion set by the state telecom enterprise, said TOT president Monchai Noosong. TOT announced the winning bidders for the project yesterday. There were 31 tenders submitting bid documents containing both the price proposals and technical proposals to supply fibre-optical cable and broadband equipment to TOT on Feb 10.

New agencies to sort out ICT overlap Bangkok Post 25th Feb 2017
The Digital Economy and Society (DE) Ministry will set up two state enterprises to manage and operate the ICT infrastructure of TOT Plc and CAT Telecom by July, in a drive to reduce unnecessary technological duplication in the telecom industry. The two enterprises, National Broadband Co (NBN) and Next Generation Data Centre Co (NGDC), are expected to start renting networks of the two telecom enterprises to private telecom companies by 2018. NBN, to be operated by TOT, will manage all domestic networks of TOT and CAT and provide rental services to private companies under a wholesale model. NGDC, to be operated by CAT, will take charge of submarine cables and data centres for both state enterprises and provide rental services locally and overseas. DE Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj said the development is in line with the State Enterprises Policy Commission's directive that TOT and CAT combine their businesses in order to maximise use of network assets and generate new revenue streams.

Vietnam

Samsung Unit to Invest $2.5B More In Vietnam Investopedia 24th Feb 2017
Samsung Electronics’ (SSNLF) display panel unit has reportedly gotten approval to invest an additional $2.5 billion in Vietnam to increase the amount of capacity for its flat panel displays. According to a report in Reuters, citing Vietnam's VTV state television, the license to invest $2.5 billion more in the county will enable Samsung to increase the production of its display panels to 220 million units a year up from the current 180 million a year.

Huawei to spend $2m on IT human resources in Việt Nam vietnamnews.vn 21st Feb 2017
The Huawei Technologies Co Ltd announced that it would spend US$2 million for corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes in Việt Nam, which mainly focuses on training and developing ICT human resources of the country between 2017 and 2019. The programmes include four main activities, which are training courses on new technologies; scholarship for telecom seeds to help develop local talents and promote ICT knowledge transfer; annual mobile application innovation contest for Vietnamese students and other social sponsors to narrow digital gap and improve working environment.

Da Nang tech park draws $180 million investment Vietnam Net 21st Feb 2017
Da Nang tech park draws $180 million investment The central coastal city’s high-tech park has attracted six projects valued at US$180 million from two Japanese and four domestic investors, said the head of the park management board, Phung Tan Viet. The park was designed as a hub for green and high-tech investors. Last week, it granted an investment certificate to the U&I Logistics Joint Stock Company for its logistics project with total registered capital of $14 million. Last year, the city granted an investment licence to Da Nang Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company’s (Danapha) first nano-technology and biotech project, with an investment capital of VND1.5 trillion ($67 million) in the park.

Short supply of workers drives IT salaries through the roof Vietnam Net 21st Feb 2017
A big gap between the demand and supply for senior developers with management skills drove up the average salary. According to a recently released report by recruitment network TopDev, the demand for developers rose by 35 per cent in the past year, the highest growth rate ever. Currently, the IT recruitment market is valued at $6 million. In 2016, most developers in Vietnam were employed. 91 per cent were employed, including full-time, freelancing, and self-employment. Developers are mostly located in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, making up 65 and 30 per cent of the total. 93 per cent of developers in Vietnam are men, 6 per cent are women. The rest claimed different or refused to answer. In terms of technology, the number of web developers continued to grow at a stable rate. But those with mobile development skills are being increasingly sought after. Skills in Big Data, UX/UI, data analysis, and AI saw higher demand in 2016 and are predicted to be explosively sought after soon.

Vietnam likely to become ASEAN’s Silicon Valley Vietnam Net 13th Feb 2017
Vietnam likely to become ASEAN’s Silicon Valley It appears that Vietnam is best placed to become Southeast Asia’s Silicon Valley while most members of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) have ambitions of developing competitive technology sectors, “Asia Correspondent” said in a recent article. According to the article, Vietnam’s advantages came from its successful education policies, government support and an environment of entrepreneurial-ism. Vietnam is also benefiting from funding and government policies designed to support the country to become a regional hub for technology and innovation. An example of this is the ambitious “Silicon Valley Project”, a plan sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology, which aims to transform the country into a major player in the digital economy.