ICT Update: ASEAN Affirms Importance of Closer Coordination of Cybersecurity Efforts in the Region

ICT Update | September 27, 2017
Authors: Matt Solomon, Shay Wester, Kim Yaeger, Ella Duangkaew, Gaofan Zhang
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

September 29: Indonesia's Minister of Communication and Information Technology Rudiantara will be visiting San Francisco and the Council, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AmCham Indonesia and World Economic Forum will be hosting him for a small dialogue on the digital economy. Contact Kim Yaeger at kyaeger@usasean.org for more information.

October 12 to October 13: 2017 Business Mission to the ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting (ATM): The Council is organizing a business mission to the 23rd ATM in Singapore, which will include a working luncheon with the ten ASEAN Transport Ministers and Senior Transport Officials. Bilateral meetings with priority countries will also be conducted. Please contact Sunita Kapoor at skapoor@usasean.org and Jack Myint at jmyint@usasean.org with any questions.

October 17 - 18: 2017 Brunei Business MissionThe Council is now registering senior-level executives for our business mission to Brunei. The mission schedule will consist of bilateral meetings with senior government officials and other priority stakeholders. Contact Artha Sirat at asirait@usasean.org for more information. 

November 27 to December 1: ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Senior Officials Meeting (TELSOM)/Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers Meeting (TELMIN): TELSOM/TELMIN carry out the four objectives of the e-ASEAN Framework Agreement, mainly to (a) to develop, strengthen and enhance the competitiveness of the ICT sector; (b) reduce the digital divide within and amongst ASEAN Member Countries; (c) promote cooperation between the public and private sectors; (d) develop ASEAN Information Infrastructure. Please review our latest proposal for our engagement with TELSOM/TELMIN and provide feedback by September 27. For further information, please contact Shay Wester at swester@usasean.org and Mario Masaya at mmasaya@usasean.org.

December 6-8: Myanmar Business Mission: Please save the date for the US-ASEAN Business Council's annual business mission to Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon, Myanmar. Official invitation with registration details to follow. Please contact Jack Myint at jmyint@usasean.org with any questions or to express interest.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

ASEAN Affirms Importance of Closer Coordination of Cybersecurity Efforts in the Region

The second ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity (AMCC) took place on September 18, as part of the Singapore International Cyber Week 2017. The meeting focused on increasing capacity building efforts, strengthening cybersecurity and expanding cooperation regionally and internationally. All ten ASEAN member countries agreed to develop basic, operational and voluntary norms of behavior to guide the responsible use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the region. Ministers and senior officials from all ASEAN member countries and their counterparts from five ASEAN Dialogue Partners – Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and the United States – attended the meeting.

AMCC discussed cooperation on cybersecurity on domestic, regional and international levels. It was noted that as cyber threats become increasingly sophisticated, ASEAN members need to work together on all three levels to ensure a secure and resilient cyberspace in Southeast Asia. Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, delivered an opening speech on September 18, stressing major issues in domestic and regional cybersecurity and calling for specific cooperative measures in the future roadmap. All AMCC participants agreed to develop basic, operational and voluntary cyber norms of behavior in the region to strengthen internal cooperation in cybersecurity as well as to amplify ASEAN’s voice on international cyber discussions. Internationally, the Special Session highlighted the significance of regular and robust international cyber dialogue as well as cooperation between ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners. AMCC also emphasized the importance of information sharing to address trans-boundary cyber threats.

Thailand: Digital Economy Master Plan Among Tech Projects Approved

The Thailand Digital Economy and Society Committee approved the National Digital Economy Master Plan and the National E-Commerce Master Plan earlier this month. Both plans cover a span of five years from 2017 to 2021. With these plans, Thailand aims to get itself out of the middle income trap and lead its economy into a new digital era.

The National Digital Economy Master Plan states that seven smart cities will be developed under the supervision of the Digital Economy and Society Ministry, out of which, Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen are already under transformation while Rayong, Chon Buri and Chachoengsao will host three new smart cities within the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) development zone. Additionally, mobile phone numbers and fixed-line numbers will increase from 9 digits to 10 digits, and ID numbers will double from 13 to 26 as the Smart Health ID number for healthcare services. In the health sector, the Ministry will implement 10 telemedicine projects to serve people and patients in remote areas, and enable online applications for medical assistance by introducing the Advanced Information Service (AIS), also known as AorSorMor.

Under the E-Commerce Plan, Thailand Post will provide e-payment and e-logistics services to enable individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises nationwide to sell their products via the e-marketplace to expand their businesses. The government also will invite international companies to invest in their artificial intelligence technology, Internet of Things and Data centers to upgrade the e-commerce sector.

OTT Regulatory Framework will be Flexible, says NBTC

On September 13, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) stated that the draft regulatory framework for over-the-top (OTT) businesses will be finalized by the end of the year, and will be in line with regional guidelines under development by the ASEAN Telecommunications Regulators' Council (ATRC). The NBTC further stated that the framework would consist of flexible conditions and proper measures. Following a two-day meeting with ARTC representatives from eight ASEAN Member States, telecom and OTT companies, and other stakeholders including the US-ASEAN Business Council, NBTC Chairman Thares Punsri said that the meeting’s initial conclusion would be passed to the formal meeting of the ATRC. Once Thailand’s OTT framework is complete, it will be open to public consultation. He did not elaborate on the exact timeline, or whether companies would have to be registered under a broadcast licensing regime. In June, the Council submitted a letter urging the Thai government to adopt forward-looking OTT regulations, and have engaged NBTC and other agencies regularly on the topic.

Prior to this statement there has been little clarity on the Thai government’s position and direction regarding the draft regulatory framework. Strict measures to regulate OTT’s would restrict providers’ ability to generate new business and enhance opportunities for local businesses. Allowing OTT’s to operate with flexibility would enhance the already robust e-commerce market in Thailand, which is estimated to grow to $123 billion by 2020.

Philippines: DICT Chief Rodolfo Salalima Resigns

On September 21, Malacañang Palace confirmed the resignation of Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) Secretary Rodolfo Salalima, 14 months after he was appointed by President Duterte in June 2016. Duterte confirmed that he has accepted the resignation letter of Salalima. He said Salalima quit out of delicadeza because the Cabinet member used to be connected with a telecommunication firm. Duterte said he would still talk to Salalima about his resignation but revealed that he is now looking for a successor.

On September 22, Salalima spoke to DICT employees in an "emergency" general assembly, where he explained that he wanted to step down as the agency's top official because he could not deal with the "corruption and interference." Salalima noted that he agreed to accept the post of DICT Secretary when President Duterte promised there would be no interference or corruption; however, he stated that "on the issue of interference, it was not obeyed. Because of that, I had and must resign." According to Inquirer.net, a source noted that some of the inteference was coming from certain government factions, including pressure to favor certain suppliers in the DICT's largest project thus far, the P77.9-billion National Broadband Plan. This project provides high speed internet to unserved or underserved areas in the Philippines.

As the first secretary of DICT, formed in June 2016, Salalima is credited with implementing the free  Wi-Fi project and establishing the national government portal. He consistently pushed toward the goals of delivering internet service to far-flung areas in the country and boosting internet speeds. Salalima is the seventh Cabinet member to leave the Duterte administration. His resignation leaves uncertainty for the future of DICT, as it is unclear who will lead the agency while the administration searches for a new Secretary, as well as who the new Secretary will be and what direction they will lead the agency in. The Philippines' efforts towards a digital economy may be delayed while the DICT is in flux, which may impact its engagement and cooperation with ICT companies in the country.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 
  • On September 18, the ICT Committee held its third quarterly call of 2017. The Council provided updates on the issues we are tracking and our latest advocacy efforts, and members posed questions and provided feedback. The call was led by the Council's Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director, Amb. Michael Michalak and ICT Committee Chair and Senior Director and Head, Government Affairs Southeast Asia & Pacific, Qualcomm, Julie Welch. Full notes from the call are available here
  • In August, a new Draft of Indonesia's OTT Services Regulation was released by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (KOMINFO). KOMINFO released an earlier draft last year and the Council submitted joint comments in June 2016. We have seen some updates and improvements to the regulation, however, there are some new issues in the draft, such as the formation of the National Forum, which would have the power to recommend bandwidth sanctions to KOMINFO minister. On September 26, the Council, in partnership with  ACT | The App Association, American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia (AmCham Indonesia), Asia Internet Coalition, BSA | The Software Alliance (BSA), Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) submitted a final letter and comments in response to the revised draft regulation. 
  • The Personal Data Protection Commission of Singapore has extended its public consultation on proposed amendments to the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) until 5 October 2017. The Council and BSA | The Software Alliance have drafted a submission available here. If you have additional comments or edits, please track any changes send to Shay Wester by 12:00pm (Singapore time) on Wednesday, September 28, 2017.
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 

APEC
Go digital to prosper, smaller companies in the region told

ASEAN
How Insurtech is changing the ASEAN insurance economy
E-commerce a top focus when S’pore chairs Asean
Asean affirms importance of closer coordination of cybersecurity efforts in region
S’pore gives S$1.5m to boost Asean cyber security
New ASEAN Cyber Drill Kicks Off in Vietnam

Cambodia
Malware vulnerability high in Kingdom, report notes
Cambodia First to Sign Digital Framework Agreement

Indonesia
58.5 Percent of Indonesian Smartphone Users Shop Online
Traditional Retail Sector Indonesia Needs to Adapt to Digital Reality | Indonesia Investments
Deadline Extended for the Registration of Telecommunications Service Customers
Jokowi promises to streamline regulations to boost digital economy
Indonesia cooperates with WIPO to encourage economic innovation
Government seeks solution for disputed online taxi regulation
Jokowi highlights digital economy cooperation
Bank Indonesia, Transport Ministry Team Up to Provide Cashless Commutes

Malaysia
New US$238mil fund for tech companies in Malaysia, strengthens ecosystem
Ong: E-commerce will drive growth of micro, SMEs in global market
NEC completes 100Gbps submarine cable construction in Malaysia
‘Cybercrime a serious threat to nation’
Malaysia’s Securities Commission urges investor caution over ICO schemes
Malaysia Central Bank Expects To Finalize By October Digital Information Rules Of Banks' Clients-Official-

Myanmar
Monetising Myanmar's potential
Myanmar among five most exposed countries: Microsoft

Philippines
+ DICT chief Rodolfo Salalima resigns
+ DICT chief Salalima quits post 'out of delicadeza' - Duterte
Salalima bares to DICT employees reasons for wanting to leave office
First submarine cable system to boost Davao’s internet connection
Microsoft backs DepEd’s digital transformation
AntiCorruption and Compliance Technology
PITC bags WiFi, defense procurement deals

Singapore
The future of payments in Singapore's Smart Nation
Why Singapore's accountants need to embrace the cloud before they can take advantage of AI
Singapore seen as top spot to launch global cyber attacks
Singapore and Japan ink accord to strengthen cybersecurity cooperation
$16m funding for projects to boost Singapore's cyber-security R&D
Singapore’s Cybersecurity Bill delayed to 2018

Thailand
Agencies assigned to establish big data hub
Thai-China digital partnership to focus on Big Data
Thailand Pivots Digital Strategies and Seeks to Grow Tech Sector with an Impact on GDP
Plans fleshed out for Thailand 
Asean watchdogs gather to talk OTT
Schools get smart city grants
OTT regulatory framework will be flexible, says NBTC
NBTC to auction DTAC spectrum in January 2018
Success gauge planned for digital evolution
Regulator slashes licence fees

Vietnam
Digital content firms meet legal barriers
Gov’t plans to use IT to connect trade promotion groups
Vietnam ranks sixth in global software outsourcing
​Mobile numbers in Vietnam to become portable among carriers
Decree to accelerate Hoa Lac Hi-tech project
Lawmakers debate competition and cyber security laws
Vietnam at high risk of APT attack
Vietnam pushes for Digital Transformation in Fourth Industrial Revolution

 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
APEC

Go digital to prosper, smaller companies in the region told The Nation 18th Sep 2017
The digital economy and e-commerce are opening up opportunities for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to connect to global value chains, allowing access to regional and global markets, experts said at a workshop held last week.

ASEAN

How Insurtech is changing the ASEAN insurance economy ASEAN Today 25th Sep 2017
Europe and the US led the way by pioneering Insurtech, but Asia is catching up. In ASEAN, Singapore leads the way as others try to join in.

E-commerce a top focus when S’pore chairs Asean TODAY 20th Sep 2017
E-commerce and the digital economy will be the key points of focus when Singapore takes over the chairmanship of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) next year, Ms Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Education, said yesterday.

Asean affirms importance of closer coordination of cybersecurity efforts in region Digital News Asia 19th Sep 2017
ASEAN cybersecurity principals agree on the importance of closer coordination of regional efforts and the need to develop basic voluntary norms to guide responsible use of information and communications technologies (ICTs).

S’pore gives S$1.5m to boost Asean cyber security Today 19th Sep 2017
Cyber security efforts in Asean countries will be given a boost, with Singapore setting aside S$1.5 million over three years to help train incident responders and operators in the region to tackle cyber threats. The money will come from the S$10million Asean Cyber Capacity Building Programme, set up by Singapore last year to strengthen the group’s capability to respond to cyber threats by developing technical and policy-building capabilities.

New ASEAN Cyber Drill Kicks Off in Vietnam The Diplomat 18th Sep 2017
On Monday, another iteration of a regular drill among Southeast Asian states and their other Asian partners got underway in Vietnam. The drills, which are now in their 12th year, represent part of the subregion’s response to growing cyber challenges it has witnessed in recent years. As I have noted before, there are a variety of bilateral and wider regional arrangements, mechanisms, and forums that Southeast Asians have in place to manage challenges in the cyber realm focused on areas like incident response, confidence-building, and cyber capacity-building. These range from the cybersecurity working group within the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus to the new ASEAN Cyber Capacity Program introduced by Singapore last year (See: “Singapore Unveils New ASEAN Cyber Initiative”).ency websites.

Cambodia

Malware vulnerability high in Kingdom, report notes Phnom Penh Post 4th Sep 2017
Cambodia is among the most vulnerable countries in Asia when it comes to viruses, spam, spyware and other cyberthreats, according to a recent report from Microsoft.

Cambodia First to Sign Digital Framework Agreement AEC News Today 4th Sep 2017
Cambodia has become the first Asean member nation to sign up to a UN framework aimed at the establishment of paperless cross-borer trade in Asia. The tiny Southeast Asia Kingdom joined Bangladesh and regional heavyweight China in a signing ceremony at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap) headquarter in Bangkok last Friday, August 29 as part of the High-Level Dialogue on Enhancing Regional Trade through Effective Participation in the Digital Economy.

Indonesia
58.5 Percent of Indonesian Smartphone Users Shop Online Tempo 25th Sep 2017
A survey conducted by Mastercard Indonesia shows that 58.5 percent of smartphone users have actively used their mobile phones for online shopping over the last three months. The figure was based on the 2017 Mastercard Mobile Shopping study.

Traditional Retail Sector Indonesia Needs to Adapt to Digital Reality | Indonesia Investments Indonesia Investments 25th Sep 2017
A great example of new online players undermining the position of the traditional suppliers in Indonesia are transportation services. Traditional taxi and motor-taxi services did well until several years ago when newcomers Go-Jek, Grab and Uber entered the market with more efficient business models (based on Internet) that allowed cheaper tariffs. These newcomers significantly damaged the corporate earnings of traditional taxi services companies, and the latter is therefore highly dependent on government support (tighter regulations for ride-hailing apps).

Deadline Extended for the Registration of Telecommunications Service Customers Hukum Online 25th Sep 2017
In order to push back the deadline for the mandatory registration of pre-paid telecommunications service customers (“Customers”), the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (“Minister”) has issued Regulation No. 14 of 2017 (“Amendment”), which amends Ministry Regulation No. 12 of 2016 on the Registration of Telecommunications Service Customers (“Regulation 12/2016”)

Jokowi promises to streamline regulations to boost digital economy Antara News 20th Sep 2017
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has promised to cut various regulations to accelerate the creation of new innovations in all industrial sectors, especially to encourage the digital economy in the country.

Indonesia cooperates with WIPO to encourage economic innovation Antara News 19th Sep 2017
The Indonesian government has cooperated with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to encourage the development of economic innovation.

Government seeks solution for disputed online taxi regulation The Jakarta Post 8th Sep 2017
The government has begun public consultations to find a solution to the disputed ride-hailing app regulation, following the revocation of 14 articles of Transportation Ministry Regulation No. 26/2017 on the operation of non-route public transportation by the Supreme Court.

Jokowi highlights digital economy cooperation The Jakarta Post 7th Sep 2017
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has highlighted the importance of cooperation in the development of the digital economy during a joint press statement with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Bank Indonesia, Transport Ministry Team Up to Provide Cashless Commutes Jakarta Globe 7th Sep 2017
Bank Indonesia, the country's central bank, signed an agreement with the Ministry of Transportation on Wednesday (06/09) that will make daily commutes easier, safer and more efficient by allowing public transportation to accept non-cash payments.

Malaysia

New US$238mil fund for tech companies in Malaysia, strengthens ecosystem Digital News Asia 10th Sep 2017
The tech ecosystem in Malaysia received a huge boost this past week with the introduction of a new US$238 million (RM1 billion) fund from Malaysian Debt Ventures (MDV), one of Asia’s leading venture debt specialists.

Ong: E-commerce will drive growth of micro, SMEs in global market The Star Online 23rd Sep 2017
PETALING JAYA: Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) should take advantage of e-commerce and be innovative to become strong competitors in the global arena, said Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan (pic).

NEC completes 100Gbps submarine cable construction in Malaysia Telecompaper 21st Sep 2017
NEC has completed the Sistem Kabel Rakyat 1Malaysia (SKR1M) 100 Gbps submarine cable linking Peninsular Malaysia with Sabah and Sarawak. SKR1M was established through a public-private partnership agreement between Telekom Malaysia and the Malaysian Government through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). TT dotcom, a subsidiary of Time dotCom also funded and owns a portion of this submarine cable. 

‘Cybercrime a serious threat to nation’ the star 21st Sep 2017
Malaysians lost RM179.3mil last year to cybercrime activities, said Deputy Finance Minister II Datuk Lee Chee Leong.Quoting the figures from the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), he said cybercrime was emerging as a serious economic threat.

Malaysia’s Securities Commission urges investor caution over ICO schemes Digital News Asia 7th Sep 2017
While China has issued regulatory policy over the rise of bitcoin based fundraising schemes, the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has issued a press release cautioning investors over the emergence of digital token based fundraising activities/investment schemes in Malaysia and elsewhere, which are typically referred to as “initial coin offerings”, “initial token offerings”, “token pre-sale” or “token crowd-sale” which are collectively referred to as ICO schemes.

Malaysia Central Bank Expects To Finalize By October Digital Information Rules Of Banks' Clients-Official- Nikkei Asian Review 5th Sep 2017
Bank Negara Malaysia is expected to finalize by October the rules for digitally storing information of customers of the nation's banks, an assistant governor said Tuesday. The move is part of the central bank's know-your-customer initiative that is aimed at preventing money laundering. The process helps the banks to better understand the customers' financial dealings and strengthen risk management abilities.

Myanmar

Monetising Myanmar's potential The Business Times 6th Sep 2017
Due to years of isolation, the recent opening up of the country presents an opportunity for technology leap-frogging. It also means that the market is ripe for experimenting, and the sizeable population of youths in the country can be fast learners and quick to take to new technologies. The burgeoning information technology (IT) sector is increasingly looking for investments and expertise from foreign companies.

Myanmar among five most exposed countries: Microsoft Eleven Myanmar 3rd Sep 2017
Companies in Myanmar need to ensure cybersecurity, as it is the fourth most exposed country in Asia-Pacific to malicious programmes, according to Microsoft. Microsoft Office365 was launched in Myanmar in January to provide data and cloud security.

Philippines
DICT chief Rodolfo Salalima resigns The Philippine Start 21st Sep 2017
Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima has resigned from the Cabinet because of personal and work-related reasons, Malacañang announced Thursday. Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Salalima has submitted his resignation letter but could not say if President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted it. “Secretary Rodolfo A. Salalima of the DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology) has tendered his letter of resignation to the president, citing personal and work-related reasons,” Abella said in a statement.

DICT chief Salalima quits post 'out of delicadeza' - Duterte ABS-CBN News 21st Sep 2017
Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima has resigned, President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed Thursday. Speaking to reporters in Marawi City, Duterte said Salalima resigned "out of delicadeza." The President, who visited the war-torn city for the fifth time Thursday as state offensives against terrorists wrapped up, said Salalima submitted his resignation letter Wednesday night. 

Salalima bares to DICT employees reasons for wanting to leave office Inquirer.net 22 Sept 2017
Corruption and interference. These are the two reasons why Rodolfo Salalima, the first secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), offered to resign from office last Sept. 5, 2017. Speaking with DICT employees, Salalima explained that he wanted to step down as the agency’s top official because he cannot deal with corruption and interference.

First submarine cable system to boost Davao’s internet connection Davao Today 23rd Sep 2017
The $250-million Southeast Asia-United States (SEA-US) submarine cable system will provide the city and the island of Mindanao the “best connectivity” with a capacity of 800 gigabits per second (gbps), Ernest L. Cu, president and chief executive officer of the Globe Telecom, said during the launch here on Friday.

Microsoft backs DepEd’s digital transformation The Manila Times 6th Sep 2017
Microsoft said Tuesday it was strengthening the local education sector’s digital evolution with the right technologies to empower every student. The company’s digital transformation programs in the Philippines would include engaging students through the DepEd Computerization Program, which aims to “raise the Information Communication Technology literacy of learners, teachers, and school heads” and empower educators through Microsoft’s development training programs.

AntiCorruption and Compliance Technology BusinessMirror 4th Sep 2017
With increased sensitivity to corruption and compliance violations, it’s never been more important for companies to protect themselves with the latest in compliance technology. I like to add that the implementation of the Data Privacy Act, through the National Privacy Commission, forces organization to employ data protection officers (DPOs) and have compliance technology in place.

PITC bags WiFi, defense procurement deals The Philippine Star 2nd Sep 2017
The Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC), the state trading arm attached to the Department of Trade and Industry, has signed an agreement with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Department of National Defense (DND) for the procurement of the government’s WiFi infrastructure system and defense equipment

Singapore

The future of payments in Singapore's Smart Nation Singapore Business Review 8th Sep 2017
At this year’s National Day Rally on 20 August, when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke about the most important challenges and opportunities facing Singapore, the Smart Nation initiative was at the top of his agenda. Mr. Lee called on Singaporeans to embrace the unprecedented possibilities that technology has placed at their fingertips; remarking, “[The] Smart Nation is for all of us, young and old…the world is changing. Unless we change with it, we will fall behind.” Being a Smart Nation means not only adopting complex technology, but also using it to thoughtfully address challenges and uncover bright new opportunities – from healthcare solutions that leverage robotics and automation to supporting Singapore’s growing elderly population, to enhanced public data collection and analytics to optimise transportation when space is limited. Payments are a key arena through which Singapore’s Smart Nation drive is being realised; and businesses that explore the future of payments today will be best poised to capture new opportunity tomorrow. 

Why Singapore's accountants need to embrace the cloud before they can take advantage of AI Singapore Business Review 7th Sep 2017
Singapore climbed the rankings to be the second most cloud ready environment in Asia, according to the latest edition of the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA) Cloud Readiness Index. This follows a series of strategic investments by the government into technology infrastructure, such as appointing public sector agencies to manage cybersecurity, and the launch of initiatives such the Smart Nation drive to support better living using technology. Singapore’s accounting industry, like many others, can significantly benefit from a cloud ready environment. There have been major technology changes on a global scale in the last few years, and the introduction of the cloud has enabled connectivity between accountants, businesses, and banks that never existed before. Earlier this year, global accounting firm PwC published the results of a study into what they refer to as the ‘AI revolution’, and how this will impact today’s businesses. Their findings show that AI will drive global GDP 14% higher by 2030, adding an extra US$15.7 trillion to the global economy - more that the current output of China and India combined.

Singapore seen as top spot to launch global cyber attacks TODAY 22nd Sep 2017
Singapore has overtaken nations including the US, Russia and China as the country launching the most cyber attacks globally, according to Israeli data security firm Check Point Software Technologies.

$16m funding for projects to boost Singapore's cyber-security R&D The Straits Times 19th Sep 2017
More than $16 million will be invested to strengthen Singapore's cyber-security research and development, under two separate programmes that aim to produce more commercial cyber-security solutions.

Singapore’s Cybersecurity Bill delayed to 2018 Channel NewsAsia 18th Sep 2017
The Cybersecurity Bill, which was expected to have been tabled this year, will instead be introduced in Parliament in 2018, according to Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim on Monday (Sep 18).

Thailand

Agencies assigned to establish big data hub Bangkok Post 23rd Sep 2017
The Digital Economy and Society (DE) Ministry, TOT and CAT Telecom have been told to jointly create a big data management system to pool all state agency data into a single hub of connectivity.

Thai-China digital partnership to focus on Big Data The Nation 22nd Sep 2017
ThaiWPS is pushing a historic collaboration between the government and Thai-Chinese businesses that it said would help drive Thailand’s transformation into a digital nation.

Thailand Pivots Digital Strategies and Seeks to Grow Tech Sector with an Impact on GDP AsiaOne 21st Sep 2017
The current aim for the nation is to become Southeast Asia's leader for all things digital. And the Kingdom's Ministry for Digital Economy and Society is striving to make this happen through its Thailand 4.0 plan. Thailand 4.0 includes national investments in digital infrastructure, regulatory changes to support innovation and building networks of innovators within Thailand and across borders.

Plans fleshed out for Thailand  The Nation 21st Sep 2017
The Government has vowed to move ahead on a number of broad fronts to achieve the digital transformation of the country under the Thailand 4.0 vision for technological advancement.

Asean watchdogs gather to talk OTT Bangkok Post 15th Sep 2017
Eight telecom regulators from Asean have joined forces to push for a tax regime governing over-the-top (OTT) business, says the Asean Telecommunications Regulators' Council.

Schools get smart city grants Bangkok Post 13th Sep 2017
The government has offered 250 million baht to the Council of University Presidents of Thailand for local research related to smart cities as part of Thailand 4.0. At least 17 of more than 30 universities have applied for research projects to serve smart city initiatives, said Akkarit Sangpetch, project manager of smart startup development, which is being run via the Smart City Innovation Hub programme under the Council of University Presidents. The project aims to encourage R&D by offering grants to universities that carry out work at smart city projects and promote local startups.

OTT regulatory framework will be flexible, says NBTC Bangkok Post 13th Sep 2017
The draft regulatory framework for over-the-top (OTT) businesses will have flexible conditions and proper measures, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) says. The framework, currently being drafted by an NBTC subcommittee, is scheduled to be ready by end of this year, said chairman ACM Thares Punsri. But he declined to elaborate whether these innovative companies will have to be registered under the licensing regime.

NBTC to auction DTAC spectrum in January 2018 Bangkok Post 11th Sep 2017
The telecom regulator plans to auction the 1800 and 850-megahertz spectrum licences, which are being operated by Total Access Communication (DTAC), in January next year. That auction date is three months ahead of its original plan to ensure no service disruption after DTAC's concession ends in September 2018. The process to draft the 1800 and 850MHz spectrum allocation is slated to start next month, followed by a public consultation. The process is expected to be completed by the end of December.

Success gauge planned for digital evolution Bangkok Post 8th Sep 2017
Thailand plans to have a Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) as a significant indicator of digital performance. The DESI is a composite index that summarises digital performance in the government and private sectors to track the evolution of the country's digital competitiveness, said Vunnaporn Devahastin na Ayutthaya, secretary-general The Office of  the National Digital Economy and Society Commission (ONDE).

Regulator slashes licence fees Bangkok Post 7th Sep 2017
The telecom regulator's board yesterday approved halving operating licence fees for telecom companies to encourage competition and strengthen small and medium-sized companies. The new operating fees will help reduce operating costs for telecom players in the market and promote healthy competition. The adjustment of licence fees also paves the way to promote newcomers to the industry, along with digital economy development such as Internet of Things (IoT) providers.

Vietnam

Digital content firms meet legal barriers VietnamNet 22nd Sep 2017
The digital content industry is witnessing a shift in devices from computers to smartphones.  But state management policies have not changed, making is difficult for digital content firms to do business as they have to both comply with the laws and satisfy requirements set by platform providers. Nguyen Thanh Hung, director of VTC Intecom, said the development of the digital content industry is hindered by strict regulations. Hung’s firm previously developed news websites and as soon as the content was posted, state management agencies called and ask for explanations. Later, the firm decided to post the content on Facebook, and the firm did not receive any inspection officials. Nhan The Luan from Nhaccuatui commented that the common problem of all Vietnamese digital content firms is that they have to compete with big foreign companies while their wings are ‘tied’ with unreasonable regulations.

Gov’t plans to use IT to connect trade promotion groups VietnamNet 22nd Sep 2017
The application of information technology (IT) is a crucial tool to enhance trade promotion activities nationwide by strengthening information exchange between trade organisations, officials said during a seminar held in Hanoi on September 20. IT application is a crucial tool to enhance trade promotion activities, officials said at a seminar held in Hanoi on September 20 The seminar gathered comments on a draft plan by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to apply IT to connect the national trade promotion information network.

Vietnam ranks sixth in global software outsourcing VietnamNet 21st Sep 2017
Vietnam has jumped five places to sixth in the 2017 Global Services Location Index (GSLI) which management consulting firm A.T. Kearney released on September 19. The GSLI ranks the top 55 countries for outsourcing based on three criteria – financial attractiveness, people’s skills and availability, and business environment. This is the highest ever spot Vietnam has achieved in the index, which is now in its eighth edition. It also marks Vietnam’s return to the top ten list for the first time since 2013. According to A.T. Kearney, Vietnam’s position in this year’s index reflects its growing popularity for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). The BPO industry earned US$2 billion in 2015 and has annually grown by 20-25% in the past decade.

​Mobile numbers in Vietnam to become portable among carriers Tuoi Tre News 21st Sep 2017
A new plan enabling cellphone users in Vietnam to switch between mobile carriers while retaining their phone numbers is set to take effect on December 31. Military-run telecom group Viettel has put the new technology to test on Thursday, when it begins running technical checks for the transfer of numbers between networks operated by itself and those by Vinaphone and Mobifone. The three major mobile network providers have confirmed preparations to launch mobile number portability by the end of this year, as scheduled by the Ministry of Information and Communications. According to the ministry, 90 percent of the cellphone users in Vietnam who subscribe to networks operated by these three telecom giants will benefit from the new service.

Decree to accelerate Hoa Lac Hi-tech project VietnamNet 18th Sep 2017
Pham Dai Duong, deputy minister of Science and Technology, speaks to the Nhan Dan (People) newspaper about a newly enacted decree to accelerate the long-delayed Hoa Lac high-tech project.

Lawmakers debate competition and cyber security laws VOV 15th Sep 2017
The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on September 14 agreed on the necessity to amend the Law on Competition to address inadequacies in the 12-year-old legislation. The Government’s report on amending the competition law said the changes were essential to address shortcomings, including the abuse of market dominance, monopolies and unfair competition. Participants of the Standing Committee’s session also agreed that the amendment would seek to ensure equal and non-discriminatory competition.

Vietnam at high risk of APT attack VietnamNet 13th Sep 2017
The Vietnam Computer Emergency Response Team (VNCERT) has called on agencies and enterprises across the country to take measures to cope with a possible advanced persistent threat (APT) that is looming large. VNCERT vice chairman Nguyen Khac Linh said the center has detected signs of a cyber attack on important information systems in Vietnam through malware distribution. The malware is dangerous as it may cause severe data destruction. It can protect itself from detection and make illegal breaks into computers to steal data and destroy information systems via servers outside Vietnam.

Vietnam pushes for Digital Transformation in Fourth Industrial Revolution VOV 10th Sep 2017
The 4th Industrial Revolution is taking place with the convergence of information technology and communications and the rapid development of internet-based services and technologies. The 4th industrial revolution is impacting many aspects of life globally. In May, 2017 the Prime Minister issued a decree instructing ministries, sectors, localities, and enterprises to take specific steps towards the 4th industrial revolution. Many mechanisms and policies have been promulgated.