ICT Update: Vietnam Seeks Input on ICT Law Revision

ICT Update | April 24th, 2017
Authors: Matt Solomon, Kim Yaeger, Riley Smith and Steve Prawiromaruto 
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

Digital Economy Industry Mission, April 26-27: On April 26-27 the Council will lead its inaugural Digital Economy Industry Mission to Indonesia. Registration is now closed. The delegation will engage the Indonesian government and private sector on issues including data localization, OTT, TKDN, cyber security, data privacy, e-payments, and e-commerce. A planning call was held on April 17 to review mission themes, meeting targets and logistics. Please contact Matt Solomon at msolomon@usasean.org for more information.

Singapore Business Mission, May 8-9: The US-ASEAN Business Council will lead its annual Business Mission to Singapore on May 8-9, 2017. The deadline for receipt of registration and mission materials is Monday, April 24, 2017. The mission themes for the 2017 Singapore Business Mission will be framed within the context of the Smart Nation initiative and implementing the recommendations of the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE)—two signature initiatives of the Government of Singapore (GOS). For any questions, contact Sunita Kapoor at skapoor@usasean.org and Riley Smith at rsmith@usasean.org.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Vietnam Seeks Input on ICT Law Revision

The Ministry of Information and Communication is planning on making revisions on the 2006 ICT Law (available in Vietnamese here), in order to better align with the country’s investment laws.  MIC is currently accepting feedback on the effects of Vietnam’s ICT Law and recommendations for its improvement. Specifically, MIC is requesting private sector input on the following questions:

  1. What are the areas for improvements in the ICT Law? For example, which parts of the law are not relevant or supportive of enterprises doing business in Vietnam, especially foreign invested enterprises?
  2. What are some ways to improve the legal framework of the ICT Law, to boost Vietnam’s ICT ecosystem and to encourage foreign investors in Vietnam?

Related, MIC is planning an “ICT legal framework development conference” on May 19 in Hanoi, and is seeking private sector presenters to:

  1. Offer an assessment of what works and what doesn’t in the current ICT legal framework, including the ICT Law and related regulations, from an FDI perspective.
  2. Share a vision for Vietnam’s ICT industry in the next 10–15 years and make recommendations to improve the legal framework to facilitate such vision.

Please contact Matt Solomon at msolomon@usasean.org to either offer feedback on the ICT Law or indicate interest in joining the May 19 conference.

USTR Report Outlines Barriers to Digital Trade in ASEAN

On March 30, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released its annual National Trade Estimate Report (NTE), available here, which includes a focus on barriers to digital trade. The Report recognizes four categories of digital trade barriers:

  • Data Localization Barriers: Including unnecessary requirements to store data within a particular jurisdiction or locate computing facilities locally, as well as outright bans on cross-border data flows.
     
  • Technology Barriers: Including requirements to meet onerous and unnecessary security standards and requirements to disclose encryption algorithms or other proprietary source code. 
     
  • Barriers to Internet Services: Including inappropriate application of old regulatory regimes to new business models and unreasonable burdens on Internet platforms for non-IP-related liability for user-generated content and activity.
     
  • Other Barriers: Including issues surrounding electronic authentication and signatures, internet domain names, digital products, electronic payment platforms, and other discriminatory practices.

The Report’s presents country-specific findings for seven ASEAN countries (excluding Brunei, Myanmar, and Singapore), which are listed below:  

Cambodia:

  • Draft E-Commerce Law: The Ministry of Commerce projects that a draft electronic commerce law will be available for parliamentary review in 2017. Cambodia is the only ASEAN country that has not yet enacted an electronic commerce law

Indonesia:

  • Data Localization: Article 17 of Government Regulation (GR) 82/2012 requires providers of a “public service” to establish local data centers and disaster recovery centers in Indonesia. Pursuant to GR 82/2012, MCIT Regulation 20/2016 on personal data protection requires electronic system providers to process protected private data only in data centers and disaster recovery centers located in Indonesia.
  • Internet Services: The Indonesian electronic commerce roadmap called for 31 regulatory provisions that will affect financing, taxation, consumer protection, education and human resources, logistics, communication infrastructure, and cyber security. MCIT also released a circular letter “Concerning the Provision of Application Services and/or Content over the Internet (OTT)”, which proposes a range of new regulations on Internet services.

Laos:

  • Internet Services: Under Decree 327 on Information Management on the Internet, issued in 2014, “website managers” may be required to actively monitor content posted to their site, and may be held legally liable for the content on their site, even if that content was created by a third party.

Malaysia:

  • Telecommunications: Liberalization of telecommunication services for network facilities providers and network service provider licenses have yet to be implemented; only 70% foreign participation is permitted, although in certain instances, Malaysia has allowed greater equity

Philippines:

  • Internet Services: Philippine regulators occasionally have required cloud service providers to obtain a value-added telecommunications services license, and these licenses are only available to Filipino companies.

Thailand:

  • Cybersecurity: The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society is currently reviewing the draft National Cybersecurity Bill, which is designed to strengthen the cybersecurity capabilities of government agencies and to provide appropriate breach notification procedures.
  • Internet Services: The Computer Crime Act of 2007 prohibits programs, texts and other computer data that are considered by the government to be false, criminal, damaging to national security, liable to cause panic amongst the public, or consider vulgar and would be accessible to the public

Vietnam:

  • Online Advertising: Decree No. 181 of 2013 requires Vietnamese advertisers to contract with Vietnamese-based advertising services. This deters the use of foreign-based advertising services providers.
  • Over-The-Top Services (OTT): OTT services are Internet-based voice and text services. In 2014, the Vietnam Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) released draft regulations for OTT services which requires OTT service suppliers to enter an undefined relationship with a licensed telecommunications supplier in Vietnam.
  • Internet-based Content Services: Internet is only accessible through a limited number of Internet service providers, most of which are state-controlled companies. In July 2013, Decree 72 prohibits the use of internet services to oppose the government and Circular 09 guides the implementation of Decree 72.

The NTE report highlights several of the ongoing digital data and e-commerce related advocacy priorities of the Council.  In addition to our Digital Data Management in ASEAN publication, we will leverage the NTE report as an advocacy tool in any appropriate engagement opportunities.  For example, we included several ICT related points in the briefing materials we provided to VP Pence for his trip to Indonesia and in talking points in dialogues with Ministers of Finance visiting Washington for the IMF/WB meetings.   

Philippines Government Approves National Broadband Plan

During a cabinet meeting on Monday, March 6th, President Duterte approved Philippines National Broadband Program (NBP) that has previously been cancelled during the Arroyo administration following corruption allegations. Formulating a national broadband strategy implemented by the recently created Department of ICT has been a long standing advocacy recommendation of the Council.  Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Rodolfo Salalima stated that the NBP will serve to create one unified digital network in the Philippines between citizens, businesses and the government, and improve the overall quality of digital connectivity within the country. The draft of the NBP gives an overview of four desired outcomes by the Filipino government:

  1. Accelerated Investment
  2. Mobilized and Engaged Public and Private Sectors
  3. More Place Connected
  4. Increased Take-up Rate

After approving the NBP, the DICT issued a call for comments and input on the draft plan.  This comment period, about which the Council notified member companies, closed on March 24. The draft for the NBP can be found here.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 
  • In response to a letter submitted by the Council and AmCham Indonesia to Indonesia’s Ministry of Industry on March 20, MOI Director General I Gusti Putu Suryawirawan has clarified the available exceptions under MOI Regulation No. 65/2016 on local content formulation for the import of 4G/LTE devices (TKDN). DG Putu’s response on April 7 is available here. The Council will meet with DG Putu during the upcoming Digital Economy Mission to Indonesia. If members would like to suggest questions/comments related to TKDN for that meeting, please contact Artha Sirait at asirait@usasean.org.
  • On March 10 the Council received notice from the Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore that its cloud outage incident response (COIR) guidelines would be developed as a voluntary standard, not a set of prescriptive local standards. This was in response to a February 9 joint letter from the Council and BSA | The Software Alliance (available here), recommending that Singapore adopt standards developed through international based best practices processes that are widely used across markets. IMDA will hold a two-month-long public consultation—from May 5 to July 6—once the revised guidelines are available
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
ASEAN
Ericsson appoints new South-East Asia head
ASEAN officials discuss broadband internet cooperation
Amazon delays its entry into Southeast Asia

Brunei
Local publications to be digitised via $10-million project
With Fixed Wireless Technology, Internet a breeze for Kampong Ayer residents

Cambodia
Cambodia launches 1st undersea communications cable 
Startups turn heads in Silicon Valley
Revealed: Cambodia's Most Promising Tech Startups
Cambodia’s First Cashless Restaurant Ordering App Debuts
Smart Axiata Supports Startups With $5M Investment Fund
Cambodia’s ‘Buzzfeed’ Attracts Silicon Valley Investment
MCT Submarine Cable System Launched

Indonesia
Key Barriers to Digital Trade
Alibaba’s UCWeb to invest in content development in Indonesia
Government to Form Mandatory Minimum Local Content Watchdog
Fintech Talk: The potential rise of MSMEs and creative industry via P2P lending
Central bank to launch app for monitoring food prices
RI to push for G20 working committee on digital economy
Indonesia's Anti-Monopoly Body Slams Gov't's New Online Transport Rule
Singtel, Telkomsel launch mobile money transfer service to Indonesia
ICT Ministry to Block Online Access to Rogue Ride-Hailing Apps
Akseleran launches as Indonesia’s first equity crowdfunding platform, aims to bridge funding gap for SMEs and startups
Transportation Minister rejects request for grace period from ride-sharing app providers
Indonesia’s Dattabot, HukumOnline develop legal search engine
Govt speeds up development in Papua

Malaysia
Sarawak to invest RM1 billion in ICT, says CM
Malaysia to create pool of talent for tech-driven future 
Digital economy could add more than 20% to Malaysia's GDP before 2020
Tech stocks in Malaysia hit 10-year high, buoyed by chip boom
Comprehensive coverage for rising cyber threats in Malaysia
Encouraging digital technology adoption among SMEs
Digital economy on track for 18pc GDP contribution - MDEC chief
Digitalising the local energy sector
M'sia best suited for testing, launching FinTech solutions in Asean: MDEC
PM to launch first Digital Free-Trade Zone on Wednesday
IOSCO launches APAC hub in Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia sees 56% y-o-y growth in average connection speed: Akamai report

Myanmar
Myanmar's Digital Revolution Brightens Future of Internet Startups
Foreign-owned telcos turn up the heat

Philippines
Telcos cite need for gov’t support in network upgrade
Data Processing Systems Registration Due in 6 Months
Smartphone boom driving jump in digital payments in the Philippines
House OKs bill regulating online payments
Many PH firms unprepared for cyber attacks – SGV
Duterte approves national broadband plan
Philippines to establish National Space Agency
PH lone Asean country with ‘no’ govt funding for telecom industry
Pioneering ICT-based healthcare solutions at the National Telehealth Center, Philippines

Singapore
Contactless ecosystem to drive Singapore closer to its Smart Nation dreams
Singapore forms Smart Nation and Digital Government Group
Taxing the Digital Economy: Impending changes to GST in Singapore
Changes to Singapore's cybercrime law passed
MINDEF Internet system breach detected within weeks: Ong Ye Kung
Singapore just landed another multi-million dollar data centre
Here's why Singaporeans will spend more on mobile shopping this year
ST Electronics, DSTA to develop next-generation Earth Observation Satellite
SingTel aggressively moves to be an integrated telecoms service provider
Cybersecurity sector projected to grow to S$900m by 2020: Yaacob
StarHub opens new facility to drive innovation and test Smart Nation solutions

Thailand
Online contact with regime critics banned
Fintech Start-Up Opens Bangkok Research Base
Internet Thailand to spend another $34.9M on new data center
Thailand wants its future to be e-payments, presenting opportunities for an emerging fintech scene
Plan unveiled to create 500,000 digital startups

Vietnam
Vietnam targets YouTube ads in campaign against dissent
Tech startups are finding fertile ground in Vietnam's 'Silicon Valley' 
Cyber security in fourth industrial revolution urged
Transfer centre to be built in City hi-tech park
HCM City to tax social media commerce
Vietnamese telecoms speed up 4G race
Dozens of Vietnamese Facebook pages with large fan bases mysteriously removed
VN e-commerce competition hotting up
Technology Transfer Law on debate
Vietnam targets multinationals in social media censorship drive
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
ASEAN

Ericsson appoints new South-East Asia head The Hindu Business Line 3rd Apr 2017
Telecom technology provider Ericsson on Monday said Nunzio Mirtillo has been appointed as Head of Market Area South East Asia, Oceania and India. Nunzio will have responsibility for Ericsson’s business across markets, including India, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines and Bangladesh, the company said in a statement.

ASEAN officials discuss broadband internet cooperation Manila Bulletin 24th Mar 2017
Representatives of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met Thursday (March 24) in Lao capital Vientiane to share information and experiences on broadband internet in the region in support of strategic regional cooperation. The workshop brought together officials from the Lao Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) and more than 40 participants from ASEAN members as well as ICT specialists and experts from the region, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Friday.

Amazon delays its entry into Southeast Asia TechCrunch 23rd Mar 2017
Amazon has postponed its much-anticipated entry into Southeast Asia. The company initially planned to launch local e-commerce services in Singapore during the first quarter of this year, as we reported in November, but two sources with knowledge of the plans told TechCrunch that the schedule has slipped to “later this year”. The Singapore launch project has been fairly guarded within Amazon itself, details of the initiative are not widely known by Amazon staff in the region, but it appears that the groundwork required to set its business up has taken longer than the company originally anticipated. The initial launch market hasn’t changed though and it remains Singapore, since the country has a number of elements that favor e-commerce. That includes higher ownership of credit cards, wider internet penetration, more established logistics and delivery networks, and a clearer environment for business compared with other parts of Southeast Asia. Amazon’s eventual entry to Southeast Asia will create a new front for its battle with Alibaba, which purchased a major share in regional e-commerce firm Lazada for $1 billion last year and is already fighting Amazon in India, where it has a major stake in e-commerce and payments firm Paytm. Southeast Asia is an increasingly attractive market for tech companies in China and beyond, which are beginning to dip their toes via investments. The region counts a cumulative population of more than 600 million consumers with e-commerce tipped to surge as more people come online and the middle class grows. A 2016 report co-authored by Google estimates that e-commerce spending across the region will reach $88 billion by 2025 thanks to a compound annual growth rate of 32 percent.

Brunei

Local publications to be digitised via $10-million project Borneo Bulletin Online 16th Mar 2017
THE Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) will soon begin digitising local publications to make them more accessible to users through the e-Library project. The project, successfully laun-ched in March last year with a budget of B$10 million, is currently in the digital preservation phase and will take four years, beginning April 1, 2017 to March 30, 2021, according to YB Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports during day 8th of the 13th Legislative Council session yesterday. The project is part of DBP’s ongoing initiatives to making local literature and publications easily accessible to the outside world.

With Fixed Wireless Technology, Internet a breeze for Kampong Ayer residents Borneo Bulletin Online 4th Mar 2017
A majority of residents of the Kampong Ayer who did not have phone and Internet connectivity at home for over two years due to the repeated theft of copper cables and degradation of infrastructure, can now reap the benefits of up-to-date technology by connecting to the Internet with the Fixed Wireless Technology of Telekom Brunei Berhad (TelBru).

Cambodia

Cambodia launches 1st undersea communications cable Xinhua 15th Mar 2017
Cambodia's first undersea communications cable was launched on Wednesday after almost two-year construction, company representatives and officials said. The Malaysia-Cambodia-Thailand (MCT) submarine cable was jointly invested by EZECOM Telcotech of Cambodia, Symphony Communication of Thailand and Telekom Malaysia Berhad, Paul Blanche-Horgan, chief executive officer of EZECOM Telcotech, said during the launching ceremony. He said Cambodia's first submarine cable had been built by China's Huawei Marine Networks, a global submarine network provider.

Startups turn heads in Silicon Valley Phnom Penh Post 6th Apr 2017
Startups turn heads in Silicon Valley Cambodia's startups have clamoured to attract foreign venture capital, and now even Silicon Valley is paying attention. Last month, local media and entertainment site Khmerload – described by some as Cambodia’s version of Buzzfeed – secured $200,000 in investment from the regional arm of California-based venture capital seed fund 500 Startups, marking the first-ever Silicon Valley investment into a Cambodian startup. Now another fund created by Silicon Valley venture capitalists – and one with an impressive track record of early-stage investment in Southeast Asia – has expressed interest in the Kingdom’s startup scene.

Revealed: Cambodia's Most Promising Tech Startups Frontera News 3rd Apr 2017
The completion of Cambodia’s first undersea communications cable on March 15th constituted a major milestone for Cambodian businesses, as the country finally gains access to high bandwidth internet capabilities, thus superseding the more limited, existing terrestrial lines to Thailand and Vietnam. Cambodia’s acquisition of undersea communication capabilities comes at a fruitful time, as the country sees the creation of an emerging e-commerce and technology ecosystem. Cambodian entrepreneurs are seeking to create ‘Made in Cambodia’ solutions which capitalize on the country’s growing technology and internet adoption rates. In 2000, only 6,000 Cambodians used the internet, whereas now some five million do so, mainly via the use of smartphones. Traditional telecommunication infrastructure has been leap-frogged with only 88,000 Cambodians having access to a landline, but 94% of the population reporting access to a mobile phone, 40% of which are smartphones. Cambodia not only became the first country in the world to have more mobile than landline phone users, it also boast one of the fastest growing internet penetration rates. In 2010, only 0.5% of Cambodians were online, by 2013 it was 31.8% – more recent estimates now see close to half of all Cambodians with internet access.

Cambodia’s First Cashless Restaurant Ordering App Debuts The Cambodia Daily 31st Mar 2017
The rise of e-commerce is continuing in Cambodia with the launch of the first cashless mobile app for restaurant food orders, with sponsorship from heavyweights such as Coca-Cola and Wing. Tesjor—which means “tourism’ in Khmer—will offer diners the ability to pre-order food for takeaway, delivery or dining-in from 85 partner restaurants, all without having to hand over any physical cash.  Developed by Cambodian software company Pathmazing, the free app was rolled out yesterday after a three-month testing stage, and includes discounts on purchases.

Smart Axiata Supports Startups With $5M Investment Fund The Cambodia Daily 29th Mar 2017
With a lack of capital stifling the development of domestic digital innovation, one of the country’s largest mobile operators has teamed up with an investment consultancy to create a $5 million startup fund for Cambodian companies. The company is seeking between 10 and 20 innovative tech startups or fledgling companies working to create and market game-changing technology for education, health care or other sectors, Mr. Hundt said. Smart and Mekong Strategic Partners will also provide awardees with mentoring, marketing support and access to the mobile operator’s more than 8 million subscribers, he added.

Cambodia’s ‘Buzzfeed’ Attracts Silicon Valley Investment VOA 24th Mar 2017
Khmerload, a Cambodian entertainment news website modeled after the American media giant Buzzfeed, has become the country’s first local tech startup to attract the backing of Silicon Valley investors. A $200,000 investment to be exact. The money came from 500 Startups, a global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator founded by PayPal and Google alumni, Dave McClure and Christine Tsai, who took notice of the website, launched five years ago. The grant pushed the company’s value to more than $1 million, according to In Vichet, Khmerload’s founder and CEO.

MCT Submarine Cable System Launched Agence Kampuchea Presse 15th Mar 2017
Malaysia-Cambodia-Thailand (MCT) Submarine Cable System and Landing Station in Cambodia, which will provide secured internet connection for the Kingdom and related countries, was officially launched here this morning. Cambodian Acting Prime Minister Samdech Kralahom Sar Kheng presided over the event with the participation of many Cambodian senior government officials and other local and international guests.

Indonesia

Key Barriers to Digital Trade United States Trade Representative 31st Mar 2017
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) works to identify and reduce obstacles for U.S. companies.  In this year’s National Trade Estimate (NTE), USTR maintains and deepens its focus on barriers to digital trade.  Digital trade is a broad concept, capturing not just the sale of consumer products on the Internet and the supply of online services, but also data flows that enable global value chains, services that enable smart manufacturing, and myriad other platforms and applications.  Some portion of nearly every business is digitally enabled, and every industry leverages digital technology to compete internationally.  For example:

Alibaba’s UCWeb to invest in content development in Indonesia The Jakarta Post 20th Mar 2017
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba group’s UCWeb Inc will invest up to Rp 400 billion into content development and distribution in Indonesia and India for the next two years, after seeing the rising usage of the UCWeb browser in the market. The main focus for the investment will be for the We-Media program, which encourages unique content creation for the UCNews platform and builds a local content ecosystem for the platform as well. “The Rp 400 billion investment affirms our commitment to the development of the We-Media content industry in Indonesia, seeing as there’s considerable scope for the surge in content that is differentiated by contributors’ different styles,” UCWeb Indonesia’s general manager, Donald Ru, explained on Monday.

Government to Form Mandatory Minimum Local Content Watchdog Tempo 12th Apr 2017
Industry Minister Airlangga Hartarto, said that the government will enforce the regulation on the TKDN requirement. "The regulation [on mandatory minimum local content] has been finalized, and we need to enforce its implementation. There will be a joint team that will monitor [local content] purchases and planning," Airlangga said at his office in Jakarta on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. 

Fintech Talk: The potential rise of MSMEs and creative industry via P2P lending The Jakarta Post 11th Apr 2017
It is no longer breaking news that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are among Indonesia’s economic turbines and a particular focus of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration. The number of MSMEs in Indonesia reportedly stands at approximately 49 million and they are projected to absorb 107 million workers. The contribution of MSMEs toward Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP) has grown over the last five years. It is a fact noted by the Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry, as the contribution amounted to 60.3 percent of total GDP in 2016 from 57.8 percent in 2011. Among MSMEs, the creative industry also has seen its share of positive growth at a rate of approximately 5.6 percent between 2010 and 2013. The industry contributes 7.1 percent of the total GDP and has managed to absorb around 12 million workers, with great potential to increase.

Central bank to launch app for monitoring food prices The Jakarta Post 4th Apr 2017
Bank Indonesia (BI) plans to launch a mobile app through which the public and regional administrations can monitor harga pangan (the prices of staple foods) on a daily basis. The public would be able to use the app to avoid being deceived, while the regional administrations can use it to observe when prices go too high so they can tackle them faster. The public can already download the app or use it on the hargapangan.id website, but it has not been officially launched. The program managed by the Information Center for Strategic Food Prices (PIHPS) collects data from traditional markets in 82 cities in all 34 provinces in the country for 10 commodities: rice, shallots, garlic, red chili, birdseye chili, beef, chicken, eggs, sugar and vegetable oil.

RI to push for G20 working committee on digital economy The Jakarta Post 3rd Apr 2017
Indonesia is pushing for the establishment of a global working committee to facilitate discussions on digital economy concepts and technical solutions at the G20 Digital Ministers Meeting in Düsseldorf, Germany, this week.

Indonesia's Anti-Monopoly Body Slams Gov't's New Online Transport Rule Jakarta Globe 30th Mar 2017
The Business Competition Supervisory Commission or KPPU, Indonesia's anti-monopoly body, has aired its concern that the government's revisions on its ride-sharing services regulation could undermine fair business competition in the country's transportation market.

Singtel, Telkomsel launch mobile money transfer service to Indonesia The Business Times 28th Mar 2017
Telecommunications (Singtel) and Indonesian telco operator Telkomsel have launched a real-time mobile remittance service to Indonesia. It is the first time the two telcos are collaborating on mobile money initiatives to drive innovation in both their markets. The service, launched on Sundayat Festival Rising50, a concert to celebrate 50 years of Singapore-Indonesia bilateral ties, enhances the current facility that lets customers send money to Indonesian bank accounts. Offered by SingCash under the Singtel Dash brand, it allows customers in Singapore to send money to PT Pos Indonesia's 4,500 cash-out points across the country through Weselpos Instan.

ICT Ministry to Block Online Access to Rogue Ride-Hailing Apps Jakarta Globe 27th Mar 2017
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology will block consumer access to app-based ride-hailing services if those companies are found to violate stipulations outlined in the controversial revision to a 2016 ministerial regulation, set to come into effect on Saturday (01/04).

Akseleran launches as Indonesia’s first equity crowdfunding platform, aims to bridge funding gap for SMEs and startups Yahoo News 22nd Mar 2017
On Tuesday, Indonesia saw the launch of its first equity crowdfunding platform Akseleran at Freeware Space, Kemang, South Jakarta. Having launched its beta version in December, Akseleran targets startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in their campaigns. The company aims to solve the issue of funding gap which is predicted to reach up to US$50 billion by 2020. “Eighty per cent of SMEs in Indonesia are having trouble accessing funding … There is also a serious funding gap in the startup scene. The government has the mission to turn Indonesia into the Digital Energy of Asia by 2020, but startups are well-known for cash burns, making them unbankable,” explained Akseleran CEO Ivan Tambunan at the launching event.

Transportation Minister rejects request for grace period from ride-sharing app providers The Jakarta Post 21st Mar 2017
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has rejected a request from major ride-sharing app providers Go-Jek, Grab and Uber to delay the implementation of a revised ministerial regulation affecting their businesses.

Indonesia’s Dattabot, HukumOnline develop legal search engine Digital News Asia 8th Mar 2017
JAKARTA-based data analytics company Dattabot, previously Mediatrac, joins forces with legal media and reference company HukumOnline to develop what they say is Indonesia’s first smart search engine called HukumOnline Advanced Search. The search engine was launched recently in Jakarta and aims to aid legal professionals as well as the general public in looking for particular regulations or rules; a process that can take hours.

Govt speeds up development in Papua Antara News 6th Mar 2017
The government of Indonesia will continue to speed up the development in Papua and West Papua provinces, according to Communication and Informatics Minister Rudiantara. The minister noted that access to the Internet in Papua and West Papua is around 300 kilobytes/second, much slower than that in Jakarta with 7 gigabytes/second.

Malaysia

Sarawak to invest RM1 billion in ICT, says CM Free Malaysia Today 3rd Apr 2017
Abang Johari Openg says the state needs a proper infrastructure system for a digital economy to draw investors and create jobs. Sarawak will see thousands of new communication towers constructed to lay the foundation of a digital economy in the hopes of creating more jobs by drawing investors to the state, says Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg. Speaking at the launch of a conference on digital economy today, Abang Johari described the state as currently being a technological backwater.

Malaysia to create pool of talent for tech-driven future The Star Online 26th Mar 2017
With more jobs at risk of being “replaced” in the near future by the advancement of technology, Malaysia is set to nurture a “digital workforce”. To tackle the challenges of disruptive technology – advances that replace and make existing tech obsolete – steps to build industry-relevant talent are to be carried out this year. This digital workforce, a labour pool that integrates technology to connect all elements of the supply chain, is tailored to meet the digital economy’s demands. Upskilling the future’s young, undergraduate and professional talents will ensure employability in a soft economy where workers are threatened by disruptive technology. By working with schools, institutes of higher learning and digital tech sector, the holistic move would create a sustainable pipeline of digital workers, said Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) CEO Datuk Yasmin Mahmood.

Digital economy could add more than 20% to Malaysia's GDP before 2020 The Star Online 19th Apr 2017
The contribution of the digital economy to Malaysia's gross domestic product (GDP), at about 17% currently, is expected to exceed the projected target of 20% earlier than 2020, said Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah. He expressed confidence that the level could be achieved earlier as Malaysia had started making waves in the digital economy arena this year, first with the launch of the Digital Free Trade Zone or DFTZ on March 22 and now, the Malaysia Digital Hub. "Malaysia can also leverage on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and the DFTZ is an area where our small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can benefit from partnerships with big players like Alibaba. "Seeing the rate at which Digital Economy Corp Sdn Bhd (MDEC) is bringing in the investments, we can achieve it (target of 20% to GDP) earlier than 2020," he said after officiating the Malaysia Digital Hub and Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Programme in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

Tech stocks in Malaysia hit 10-year high, buoyed by chip boom The Edge Markets 18th Apr 2017
As growth in semiconductor usage underpins a 38% surge in Malaysian technology stocks, companies like Vitrox Corp Bhd are expanding. The manufacturer of inspection machines for the semiconductor industry is building a RM120 million factory, quadrupling its output as Managing Director Chu Jenn Weng predicts another record year for earnings. Vitrox joins other Malaysian electronic service providers in expanding output to meet increased demand for chips, betting orders will rise as global manufacturers invest in next-generation technologies such as artificial intelligence and the so-called Internet of Things. Global semiconductor revenue is forecast to jump more than 12% this year, according to Gartner Inc, one of the leading technology industry research and analysis firms.

Comprehensive coverage for rising cyber threats in Malaysia the star 17th Apr 2017
PETALING JAYA: The world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company Zurich-based Chubb has rolled out comprehensive coverage against cyber threats for businesses amid rising cyber attacks in Malaysia

Encouraging digital technology adoption among SMEs the star 17th Apr 2017
ALTHOUGH there are ongoing efforts to push SMEs to go digital, the lack of a concerted drive to change the paradigm across the business ecosystem may hinder digital technology adoption among small businesses.

Digital economy on track for 18pc GDP contribution - MDEC chief NST Online 17th Apr 2017
KUALA LUMPUR: THE digital economy is on track to contribute 18 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) this year, said Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood.

Digitalising the local energy sector NST Online 17th Apr 2017
KUALA LUMPUR: BUSINESS owners embracing digital technologies in their marketing programmes are getting more bang for their buck with their investments, said Accenture managing director of resources Cheah Wai Seng.

M'sia best suited for testing, launching FinTech solutions in Asean: MDEC NST Online 20th Mar 2017
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is a suitable test-bed and platform to launch FinTech (financial technology) solutions and products in Southeast Asia, Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said today.

PM to launch first Digital Free-Trade Zone on Wednesday NST Online 20th Mar 2017
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will launch the first Digital Free-Trade Zone on Wednesday, said International Trade and Industry Ministry Deputy Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan in Parliament today.

IOSCO launches APAC hub in Kuala Lumpur Enterprise Innovation 16th Mar 2017
The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) today unveiled the IOSCO Asia Pacific Hub in Kuala Lumpur, hosted by the Securities Commission (SC) Malaysia.  This initiative aims to meet a growing demand among IOSCO members for enhanced capacity building, particularly in growth and emerging markets, given an increasingly complex market environment, growing financial and technological innovation and rapidly expanding cross-border activity. Such circumstances pose challenges for regulators, increasing the need for IOSCO members to strengthen their regulatory expertise and hone their ability to oversee and supervise markets.

Malaysia sees 56% y-o-y growth in average connection speed: Akamai report Digital News Asia 10th Mar 2017
Akamai Technologies, Inc on March 9 released its Fourth Quarter, 2016 State of the Internet Report. Based on data gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform, the report provides insight into key global statistics such as connection speeds, broadband adoption metrics, notable Internet disruptions, IPv4 exhaustion and IPv6 implementation. “Internet connection speeds continued to show positive long-term trends around the world, with particularly strong year-over-year increases across all broadband adoption metrics,” said David Belson, editor of the State of the Internet Report. “When Akamai first published the report in 2008, we defined ‘high broadband’ as 5 Mbps and above, which nine years ago had an adoption rate of 16% globally. We’re now seeing a 15 Mbps adoption rate of 25% worldwide. “The upward trends are encouraging as businesses create and deliver even richer experiences for bigger audiences across the Internet, but accentuate the need for organisations to optimise those experiences for the myriad connected devices their customers are using.”

Myanmar

Myanmar's Digital Revolution Brightens Future of Internet Startups The Huffington Post 22nd Mar 2017
CNBC reported on March 16 that technology has developed rapidly in Myanmar over the past several years and more than 80% of the population Is digitally connected through smartphones, citing data by social media management platform Hootsuite. Honey Mya Win, a 26-year-old former telecom engineer at Huawei, jumped into the internet business after discovering the tech potential in Myanmar a few years ago when mobile penetration was less than 10%. “In two or three years, I’ve seen a huge improvement,” Win told CNBC. “Before, it was one mobile operator. Now, we have like three or four. That’s led to a huge boom in tech-related opportunities for us.”

Foreign-owned telcos turn up the heat Eleven Myanmar 4th Apr 2017
As the nation’s fourth telecom operator – Myanmar National Tele & Communications – prepares for its entry into the market, foreign-owned telcos have intensified their efforts to expand network and services. Rene Meza, chief executive officer of Ooredoo Myanmar, said that the Qatar-based telco has invested more than $2 billion (Bt72 billion) in Myanmar, and planned to increase the capital over time. He said the telco now has more than 9 million customers, and the majority of its customers successfully registered their SIMs, as per the Transportation and Communications Ministry’s instruction.

Philippines

Telcos cite need for gov’t support in network upgrade Philstar 2nd Apr 2017
Local telecommunication companies have underscored the urgent need for government support in the deployment of infrastructure, most especially in rural and far-flung areas which pose significant business viability concerns, an industry regulator said. National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said unlike in other ASEAN countries, the Philippines remains the only nation where the telco industry is not dominated by state-owned firms.

Data Processing Systems Registration Due in 6 Months Quisumbing Torres 27th Mar 2017
Data controllers and processors operating personal data processing systems in the Philippines should by now, at the very least, have commenced steps to comply with the registration requirement under the Implementing Rules and Regulations (“DPA Implementing Rules”) of the Data Privacy Act of 2012, due on 9 September 2017. Full compliance with the DPA Implementing Rules may not be achieved easily in a day. Failure to comply with the DPA Implementing Rules may mean not only mandatory business closure for the controller and processor, but also payment of damages and of steep fines. For responsible officers and employees, non-compliance by their organizations may even result in imprisonment. Data processing systems operating in the Philippines and processing the sensitive personal information1 of at least 1,000 individuals, whether it be of employees, clients, customers, or contractors, are required to register with the National Privacy Commission (“NPC”).2 The NPC’s rules on said registration, expected to be issued within this March, shall require the following at a minimum: Proof of appointment of a Data Protection Officer (DPO); Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) for each covered process; Privacy and data protection policies; Proof of data privacy training awareness within the applicant’s organization; Description of each data processing system and of the manner of processing; and Data handling practices within the applicant’s organization.

Smartphone boom driving jump in digital payments in the Philippines The Straits Times 19th Mar 2017
In the Philippines, cash is still king. Just one in 10 Filipinos transact online via their bank accounts, although half the nation's population of 102 million are already using the internet. Out of 2.5 billion bank payments worth US$74 billion (S$105 billion) each month, only 1 per cent, or about US$740 million, are electronic and most payments involve small amounts. This equates to roughly US$60 a month for the 11 million people who make online payments via their bank accounts. The vast majority of bank transactions, by value, are still by cash or cheque. "It's more 'cashlite' than 'cashless' in the Philippines," said Ms Nick Wilwayco, head of communications at e-commerce firm PayMaya. A boom in mobile phone use, though, could soon change things. The Philippines is the fastest-growing smartphone market in South-east Asia. There are currently 40 million Filipinos with smartphones and that number is forecast to hit 90 million by 2021. Banks have long been a hurdle to greater take-up of online payments. Only three in five Filipinos have bank accounts and among these are the 11 million who pay their bills, order takeout and buy plane tickets, gadgets, clothes, and fashion accessories online, using their ATM, credit and debit cards. Many still worry about security and privacy. In a report released in July last year (2016), internet security firm Trend Micro said the Philippines is the third most affected country when it comes to online banking fraud. Which is why smartphone apps have proved so appealing because it frees up people from having to use bank accounts to make payments or indeed even having a bank account.

House OKs bill regulating online payments philstar.com 19th Mar 2017
The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill regulating online payments that are believed to amount to billions of pesos a day. Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, chairman of the committee on banks and financial intermediaries and sponsor of House Bill 5000, said there is no agency authorized to supervise and regulate online payments.  “Congress has to step in, since this is becoming a big sector of the economy. Billions of pesos are transacted everyday, and yet, there is no agency to turn to in case of abuses and malpractices,” he said. Evardone cited as an example money remittance companies. He said banking laws do not empower the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to regulate these businesses. He said if the remittance company delays sending the money to its beneficiary or cheats him, the aggrieved party has no specific agency to go to and no law to invoke.

Many PH firms unprepared for cyber attacks – SGV Rappler 17th Mar 2017
A vast number of Philippine firms are unprepared for cyber attacks, according to a new survey by Professional services firm SGV & Co (SGV). At least 60% of firms surveyed in the Philippines said they do not have a security operation center and have zero or just informal threat intelligence programs, according to the latest Global Information Security Survey released last week by EY Global, SGV’s global parent. SGV said a significant majority of local firms consider careless employees and criminal syndicates to be the most likely source of an attack. In addition, more than 50% of the survey participants said they have not experienced a major attack while 25% of those that have experienced attacks said they were not aware of the extent of the financial damage to their organizations. The survey of 1,735 organizations, including those in the Philippines, globally examines pressing cybersecurity issues facing businesses today in the digital ecosystem. Cybersecurity is particularly relevant given that two high-profile incidents last year, the Bangladesh bank heist and the hacking of the Philippine election data, demonstrated the weakness of the country’s network security infrastructure. Another indication of the heightened threat facing the country is the recent establishment of a new security center by Globe Telecom, which the telco will also offer as a service to other firms.

Duterte approves national broadband plan philstar.com 6th Mar 2017
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday approved the national broadband program, a project that was canceled during the Arroyo administration following corruption allegations, his Agriculture secretary said. The matter was discussed during the Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on Monday, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in an online post. “President Rody Duterte has approved the establishment of a national government portal and a national broadband plan during the 13th Cabinet meeting in Malacañang today (March 6),” Piñol said. “After a presentation made by Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima, President Duterte emphasized the need for faster communications in the country,” he added. Piñol, who is not an official spokesperson but was present during the meeting, said Duterte had wanted “to develop a national broadband plan to accelerate the deployment of fiber optics cables and wireless technologies to improve internet speed.” An executive order is needed to implement the national government portal. In the same meeting, Duterte said he would ask the Budget department to “review and work for the amendment” of the government procurement law, especially on the provision that prefers the lowest bids for state projects. “President Duterte said the lowest bid does not guarantee quality products being procured by government,” Piñol said.

Philippines to establish National Space Agency Good News Pilipinas 3rd Apr 2017
The Philippines is creating a national space agency to consolidate all space-related research and programs by various government agencies. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced its intent to push for the coordinated space program in a bid to become South East Asia’s space technology hub. DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peňa said the space program is a multi sectoral concern that needs central coordination and that legislative bills for its creation should be priority this year.

PH lone Asean country with ‘no’ govt funding for telecom industry The Manila Times 30th Mar 2017
The Philippines is the only country in the Asean,region where the government does not provide any infrastructure funding support for the telecommunication or telecom sector, leaving subscribers and industry players alike at a severe disadvantage when compared to their regional counterparts. Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) reported at the recent Philippine Telecoms Summit that all other Asean countries have telecom networks that are either wholly-owned, partly financed or operated by their respective governments. It is only in the Philippines that broadband networks are constructed, owned and operated by private companies. This underscores the urgent need for a national broadband network (NBN) to deliver fast Internet service to far-flung areas.

Pioneering ICT-based healthcare solutions at the National Telehealth Center, Philippines OpenGov 21st Mar 2017
OpenGov had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Portia Grace Fernandez-Marcelo, Director of the UP (University of Philippines) Manila-National Telehealth Center (NTHC) about using ICT to provide equitable access to quality healthcare for all, specially in isolated and disadvantaged communities. NTHC is one of the pioneers in the Philippines developing cost-effective ICT tools and innovations for improving healthcare and deploying solutions in communities where they are required most urgently. The Center partners with various government and non-government institutions  in the areas of eMedicine, eRecords, eSurveillance, eLearning and eHealth Policy Advocacy, . Today, local governments have better awareness about the need to integrate health systems. It’s a good start. And communities themselves are witnessing success stories and appreciating the potential of these solutions. 

Singapore

Contactless ecosystem to drive Singapore closer to its Smart Nation dreams Singapore Business Review 8th Apr 2017
There is indeed no stopping Singapore's Smart Nation push. Just recently, the Land Transport Authority and Mastercard announced the pilot of Account-Based Ticketing system for public transport, allowing the usage of contactless credit and debit cards for fare payments. Mastercard Singapore Country Manager Deborah Heng noted that a contactless ecosystem would drive Singapore closer to its Smart Nation goals. "We have certainly observed a growth in the adoption of contactless payments and we expect this to continue in the next few years especially in categories such as transit, food & beverage, retail and grocery shopping. Contactless payments tend to stick with users once they realise how convenient it is to just ‘tap and go’ when making payments," Heng noted. She explained that useful data can be generated from contactless payments to tailor better solutions. For instance, it can detect patterns in commuter journeys and demands. It can also gain insight on purchasing trends for business decisions.

Singapore forms Smart Nation and Digital Government Group Enterprise Innovation 4th Apr 2017
The Singapore government has been applying digital and smart solutions to citizen services and businesses since the launch of the Smart Nation initiative in late 2014. To enable the government to be more integrated and responsive in this strategy, it several organizational changes will take effect from 1 May 2017, including the formation of the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). This new office will comprise staff from the Digital Government Directorate of the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Government Technology Policy department in the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), and the Smart Nation Programme Office (SNPO) in the PMO.

Taxing the Digital Economy: Impending changes to GST in Singapore JD Supra Business Advisor 3rd Apr 2017
Should digital downloads, streaming services and online purchases from foreign entities be subject to goods and services tax (GST) in Singapore? How about off-premise cloud computing? On 20 February 2017, many in Singapore tuned in to listen to Finance Minister, Heng Swee Keat, delivering the Government’s Budget Statement (the Budget Speech). Not many, however, may have noticed a brief, but significant comment made by the Minister regarding the Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project, as well as adjustments being made by some countries to their GST systems in the context of increasing digital transactions and cross-border trade. These international developments have far-reaching effects, whether on multinational or local enterprises, or even consumers, given the pervasiveness of the internet in business and daily living. The BEPS Project was initiated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the G20 countries, to combat tax planning strategies which allow multinational enterprises to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations where there is little or no economic activity. The BEPS final package of reports was issued in October 2015, and in June 2016, Singapore joined as an associate member to work together with the OECD and G20 countries on the implementation of the final package measures (To find out more, please visit here). Although the BEPS package is heavily focused on direct or income taxes, Action 1 of the final package (Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digital Economy) notes that because the digital economy is increasingly becoming the economy itself, it would not be feasible to ring-fence the digital economy from the rest of the economy for tax purposes – and that includes indirect tax, or for Singapore’s purposes, GST.

Changes to Singapore's cybercrime law passed Channel NewsAsia 3rd Apr 2017
Changes to the existing Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act (CMCA) were passed in Parliament on Monday (Apr 3), amid observations from members that businesses here need to pay heed to the amendments. Under the amended Act, dealing in personal information obtained via a cybercrime such as trading in hacked credit card details is deemed illegal, as is dealing in hacking tools to commit a computer offence. It is also now an offence for someone committing a criminal act while overseas, against a computer located overseas, should the act "cause or create a significant risk of serious harm in Singapore". The Ministry of Home Affairs define serious harm as injury or death or disruptions to essential services. During the debate on the Bill, Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Thomas Chua also noted that in the areas of cyber usage and security, Government agencies have accumulated a wealth of experience, but businesses in comparison, are "obviously lacking" in risk awareness and digital capability. He also urged businesses to pay heed to the newly amended Bill, particularly in the section on criminal offences, which states that anyone who obtains, retains, sells, creates, supplies or uses methods to commit computer-related offences, or deliberately allows these products to be used, will be committing an offence. "Moving forward, businesses must be much more vigilant when they are selling products, to avoid being made use of unwittingly," Mr Chua said.

MINDEF Internet system breach detected within weeks: Ong Ye Kung Channel NewsAsia 3rd Apr 2017
The breach in the Ministry of Defence's (MINDEF) I-net system was detected on Feb 1 this year, but the attack took place "weeks before", the Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung said in Parliament on Monday (Apr 3). "The modus operandi was consistent with a covert attack, with means used to mask the perpetrator’s actions and intent," he said. The breach, which was revealed by MINDEF on Feb 28, resulted in the personal data of 854 national servicemen and employees being stolen, although no classified military data was stolen. Classified military information is stored on a separate system that is not connected to the Internet and has more stringent security features, the ministry said then. The stolen personal data included NRIC numbers, telephone numbers and dates of birth - information which was stored on the system for account management, such as to track usage and surfing behaviour. No passwords were lost, the ministry added. Mr Ong, in response to questions by MPs Lim Wee Kiak and Vikram Nair, said that due to security reasons, findings from the ongoing investigations into the breach will be kept confidential. He also told NCMP Dennis Tan during question time that, for the same reason, he cannot disclose the identity of the hackers and how they were identified. As ongoing initiatives to strengthen cyber systems, MINDEF and the Singapore Armed Forces will develop better assessment tools, data analytics and content scanning engines to enhance our response to cyberattacks, the minister said. The storage of personal data on our Internet systems to minimise risks of cyber theft will also be reviewed, he added. 

Singapore just landed another multi-million dollar data centre Data Economy 6th Mar 2017
Building on its booming data centre business, Singapore has secured another investment in the sector that will see a S$60m ($42.5m as of March 6) data centre being built in the West Region of the city-state. Behind the construction is Mapletree Industrial Trust (MIT), a Mapletree Industrial Trust Managmeent business arm. The facility will be built as a ‘build-to-suit’ data centre for “an established data centre operator”. The building has been designed to have six floors and encompass an area of 242,000 sqf which will be fully leased to the non-disclosed client for an initial lease term of more than ten years with staggered rental escalations as well as renewal options. Located in a piece of land measuring approximately 96,800 sqf, the data centre is expected to be completed in H2 2018. The site is located in a specialised industrial park for data centres with ready-built infrastructure catered to support multinational companies and enterprises. The new data centre follows from two other developments by the MIT including the completion of Tata Communications Exchange at Paya Lebar iPark in 2010 and 26A Ayer Rajah Crescent for Equinix Singapore at one-north in 2015. The MIT’s development in Singapore comes at a time when the nation is being targeted by several national and international data centre services providers as well as by telecommunications companies and private businesses.

Here's why Singaporeans will spend more on mobile shopping this year Singapore Business Review 31st Mar 2017
Mobile shopping is set to increase by 42% to $1.2b. If the new study by PayPal is anything to go by, then it would seem like Singaporeans will be spending a lot more on mobile shopping this year. According to PayPal's study, mobile shopping expenditure is predicted to spike by 42% to $1.2b, forming almost a third of the expected total online spending at $3.5b. Alongside the projected rise in mobile spend this year, total cross-border spend is estimated to increase by 23%. Last year. an estimated half a million Singaporeans spent an estimated $1.2b in cross-border online commerce alone. USA, China, and Japan rose as the top online shopping destinations. More than three in four cited better prices as the reason for shopping online in other countries, while more than three in five said overseas online shopping gave them access to hard-to-find items. The top-three most popular cross-border purchase categories are clothing and accessories, travel, and cosmetics.

ST Electronics, DSTA to develop next-generation Earth Observation Satellite Singapore Business Review 31st Mar 2017
New satellite to stake Singapore’s position in the global space market. Singapore Technologies Electronics Limited (ST Electronics) has announced a partnership with the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) to build the next generation Earth Observation Satellite, TeLEOS-2.  With TeLEOS-2, ST Electronics and the DSTA aim to support government agencies such as the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, and the National Environment Agency for their satellite imagery requirements.

SingTel aggressively moves to be an integrated telecoms service provider Singapore Business Review 29th Mar 2017
It’s sealing big deals with OTT, digital service providers. SingTel is positioning itself as an integrated telecoms service provider by forming key partnerships with over-the-top (OTT) and digital service providers to improve the consumer experience, targetting key growth areas such as content, cybersecurity, and Internet of Things. According to BMI Research, the group faces increasing competition from new telecoms entrants and OTT providers, encouraging such alliances to ensure growth. The strategy to address the mature telecoms market is geared toward retaining subscribers and lifting average revenue per user.

Cybersecurity sector projected to grow to S$900m by 2020: Yaacob Channel NewsAsia 22nd Mar 2017
SINGAPORE: The cyber security sector in Singapore is projected to grow to around S$900m by 2020, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said on Wednesday (Mar 22). Speaking at the opening ceremony of US security firm Palo Alto Networks' new Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore, Dr Yaacob - who is also Minister-in-charge of cybersecurity - said that with increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks fuelling demand, cybersecurity is one of the emerging growth sectors in Singapore's digital economy, with the potential to provide more than 2,500 additional job openings by 2018.  However this growth will require collaboration between private and public sectors, he added.

StarHub opens new facility to drive innovation and test Smart Nation solutions Channel NewsAsia 17th Mar 2017
SINGAPORE: From intelligent homes and connected buildings to virtual reality, Singapore has a new facility to test Smart Nation solutions. Called Hubtricity, the 58,000 square feet facility at one-north is managed by local telco StarHub. It provides co-working spaces for companies to engage in innovation and is set up with capabilities to track activity in the social media space to provide analysis for businesses. The facility, costing more than S$250 million, was launched by Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim on Friday (Mar 17). It went fully operational in December 2016 and some projects on trial include smart home systems like voice-activated locks and sensors to automatically light up rooms at night when elderly residents move about.

Thailand

Online contact with regime critics banned Bangkok Post 13th Apr 2017
Authorities have declared it illegal to exchange information on the internet with three prominent government critics wanted on charges of lese majeste. A letter from the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society reported Wednesday at the website of Thai Rath newspaper, and then confirmed by others, requested all citizens not to follow, contact, share or engage in any other activity that would result in sharing information with the three persons. They are historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul, academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun and online journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall. All three live outside Thailand.

Fintech Start-Up Opens Bangkok Research Base The Nation 19th Apr 2017
Thailand’s Board of Investment has recognised Scale360’s commitment to developing skills in Thailand, awarding the company a special eight-year status to help attract top talent and establish a Digital Centre of Excellence in Bangkok. Combining Microservices application architecture with Scala and Java programming languages, Scale360 develops technology platforms for customers across all channels via a digital banking infrastructure. Many of the skills required are in short supply in Thailand, and Scale360 has established its own Thai-language learning programme to advance the knowledge of Thai developers and develop its Digital Banking 4.0 platform, with the aim of providing developers with knowledge of programming languages used by global Internet giants like Twitter and LinkedIn.

Internet Thailand to spend another $34.9M on new data center DatacenterDynamics 18th Apr 2017
Internet Thailand (INET) has announced that it plans to spend a further 1.2 billion Thai baht (US$34.9M) on the company’s Data Centre 3 in Saraburi province in central Thailand, according to a new report in  The Nation. The latest investments come on top of 900 million baht (US$26.2M) on the first phase of the data center, bringing it from the current 2,000 sq m to 8,000 sq m over three new phases. According to Wanchai Vach-shewadumrong, the deputy managing director of INET, the data center is already at 50 to 60 percent of its current capacity, and is expected to reach full capacity at the end of this year.

Thailand wants its future to be e-payments, presenting opportunities for an emerging fintech scene e27 17th Mar 2017
As the Governor of the Bank of Thailand, Veerathai Santiprabhob is looking to improve the use of electronic and online payments. He believes that these methods will be important for the competitiveness of the Thailand economy by reducing transaction costs and boosting good governance. According to the Bank of Thailand Governor, online payments can also be used by government to provide welfare to low-income groups with transparency and efficiently. According a report in The Bangkok Post the growth in e-payments is expected to grow in 2017, with the number of electronic data capture devices growing from 475,000 in 2016 to 800,000 this year.

Plan unveiled to create 500,000 digital startups The Nation 16th Mar 2017
The agency also aims to utilise digital technology to support and develop 24,700 communities in the country’s 77 provinces, about three million small and medium-sized enterprises and about five million households to improve quality of life and support Thailand 4.0 in the digital ear over the next 20 years.

Vietnam

Vietnam targets YouTube ads in campaign against dissent Bangkok Post 15th Mar 2017
Some of Vietnam's biggest firms have suspended YouTube advertising as the communist country steps up a campaign against online dissent, which has also targeted global brands such as Unilever and Samsung. Since last month, Vietnam began the new tactic of pressuring advertisers as well as companies such as YouTube's owner, Google Inc, to try to get content the government finds offensive removed. Many of the videos are posted by dissidents abroad, beyond the reach of a Vietnamese social media law that seeks to remove such content.

Tech startups are finding fertile ground in Vietnam's 'Silicon Valley' DW.COM 12th Apr 2017
Youth, innovation and investment are coming together in Ho Chi Minh City to foster a vibrant startup scene that the government hopes will help modernize Vietnam's fast-growing economy. Ate Hoekstra reports.

Cyber security in fourth industrial revolution urged vietnamnews.vn 5th Apr 2017
The fourth industrial revolution which developed science and technology created a great opportunity for Việt Nam but also posed an immense threat to cyber security, heard a security conference. This was important especially in the context of increasing and more complex cyber attacks. The Department of Cyber Security (Ministry of Public Security) and Authority of Information Security (Ministry of Information and Communications) co-ordinated with IDG Việt Nam to organise the Security World 2017 with the theme “Information and Cyber Security in the fourth industrial evolution” on Tuesday.

Transfer centre to be built in City hi-tech park vietnamnews.vn 5th Apr 2017
The Management Board of the HCM City-based Saigon Hi-tech Park (SHTP) on Wednesday awarded an investment licence to the Tây Sài Gòn (Western Sài Gòn) Vocational College to construct a US$25 million technology transfer centre in the city. Covering an area of 17,550 square metres in the park, the Wesgo centre is designed to foster international cooperation, knowledge access, technology transfer, and application of new technologies in domestic production.

HCM City to tax social media commerce vietnamnews.vn 1st Apr 2017
The HCM City Taxation Department has announced it will submit a plan for tax collection from online businesses to the City People’s Committee in early April and enact the plan in the same month. Local news site zing.vn quoted Lê Thị Thu Hương, deputy director of HCM City Taxation Department, as saying the department had already begun to tax internet trade and e-commerce. "However, the draft adopted by the City People’s Committee will create a clear co-ordination mechanism and facilitate the implementation of the tax authority," she said. The department said it would work with relevant agencies to enhance the efficiency of tax management for online sales, such as by businesses on Facebook.

Vietnamese telecoms speed up 4G race Tuoitre News 21st Mar 2017
While Vietnam’s three largest mobile carriers prepare to release 4G networks to the public, many mobile users are unsure if it is worth upgrading their data plans from the already expensive 3G. Vietnamese mobile network operators are intensifying their preparations to offer as widely as possible coverage of the fourth generation of the wireless mobile communication network in the country. Military-run Viettel, for instance, said that it had installed nearly 18,000 4G stations in nearly all districts across the country as of mid-March. The company claimed that its 4G network would be available even in remote communes, border areas and islands, adding that the number of 4G stations will rise to 28,000 countrywide by the end of this month. In the meantime, VNPT, the operator of Vinaphone, is also speeding up the pace of its infrastructure development. Some Vietnamese users believe that with 4G, it will take merely minutes for their 600GB data plan to drain, leading to them paying more.

Dozens of Vietnamese Facebook pages with large fan bases mysteriously removed Tuoitre News 20th Mar 2017
Vietnamese Facebook users, advertisers and marketers were stunned after a number of Pages each with more than one million likes suddenly disappeared from the world’s largest social network on the weekend. Users were unable to access Pages including the likes of Foody.vn, an online restaurant review site with more than three million likes, and Tieng Anh la chuyen nho (English is as easy as ABC), an English language page with 1.8 million likes, from Saturday. Pages with smaller fan bases of a few hundred thousand likes were also inaccessible, apparently removed by Facebook. While followers were sad to see their favorite pages disappear, advertisers and marketers were left perplexed as Facebook Pages with millions of likes are lucrative channels for digital marketing.

VN e-commerce competition hotting up Vietnam Net 19th Mar 2017
The competition between shopping websites has now switched focus from prices to rapid delivery. Analysts said competing by cutting prices by up to 50 per cent is an old story, and with customers’ demand for good service increasing, delivery times have become a key factor. Alexandre Dardy, the CEO of the country’s largest online shopping platform, Lazada, said besides increasing the number of merchants and products, his company would soon reduce delivery times. Currently the average delivery time that Lazada offers customers is more than two days, with urban areas served faster than rural for obvious reasons. At the end of last year the company tied up with AhaMove, a motorbike-based delivery service, and began a new delivery schedule that enables customers to get their product within just 60 minutes in certain cases. Another online shopping website, tiki.vn, is also taking measures to improve its delivery process. Currently its average delivery time is two to three days.

Technology Transfer Law on debate Vietnam Net 19th Mar 2017
Technology Transfer Law on debate VietNamNet Bridge – The eighth session of 14th National Assembly Standing Committee on Thursday turned its agenda toward discussing amendments to the Technology Transfer Law. Phan Xuan Dung, chairman of the National Assembly Committee for Science, Technology and Environment, proposed major draft law amendments to the committee. The amendments pertain to State policies on transfer technology, technology assessment in investment projects and solutions to encourage technology transfer and develop technology markets.

Vietnam targets multinationals in social media censorship drive Financial Times 17th Mar 2017
Vietnam is pressing high-profile multinationals to stop advertising on YouTube, Facebook and other sites in an aggressive effort to force digital media companies to censor political content.  Businesses including Ford, Unilever and Yamaha Motor have been caught up in the crackdown by Hanoi’s communist rulers on internet postings by foreign-based dissidents and other critics.  The official campaign is a test of how far autocratic governments can use the threat of lost revenues to push big media businesses to widen suppression of online dissent.