ICT Update: April 12, 2018

ICT Update | April 12, 2018
Authors: Matt Solomon, Kim Yaeger, Shay Wester, Ella Duangkaew, Jade Hoang, and Kevin Rutigliano

April 19, 2018: Dinner in Honor of H.E. Rudinatara, Minister of Communication and Information TechnologyThe Council will be hosting a small dinner in honor of H.E. Rudiantara, Minister of Communication and Information Technology of Indonesia, during his visit to Washington DC. During our 2018 Indonesia Business Mission in March, Minister Rudiantara ensured our members that he would provide an update during his April visit to Washington DC on the progress of the proposed revision to Government Regulation No. 82 of 2012, as well as his efforts in regards to data privacy legislation. This dinner will provide sponsoring members with the opportunity to engage with the Minister in an intimate setting on these matters, and to raise any additional questions or concerns with the Minister in regards to ICT issues in Indonesia. Please contact Ella Duangkaew at eduangkaew@usasean.org with any questions or if you would like to sponsor. 

1st ASEAN-US Digital Policy Consultative Forum: The Council will be hosting its first roundtable discussion of the ASEAN-US Digital Policy Consultative Forum on the sidelines of the ASEAN TELSOM-ATRC Joint Working Group Meeting in Malaysia, which is tentatively scheduled for June. The aim of this half-day roundtable is to examine and exchange views on policy approaches to innovation and new digital tools to unleash their economic potential. Please contact Ella Duangkaew (eduangkaew@usasean.org) or Mario Masaya (mmasaya@usasean.org) with any questions.

June 29, 2018: Second Lao Digital Forum: The Bank of Lao PDR is partnering with the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane to hold the second Lao Digital Forum on June 29, following the first Forum held on January 26. The purpose of this forum will be to raise awareness of financial technologies among key policymakers in Laos, and discuss the optimal policy environment needed to help Laos increase prosperity and financial inclusion, promote microenterprises and SMEs, deepen its economic integration into the ASEAN Economic Community, and create a level playing field that allows open competition and innovation in fintech. Representatives from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and the Ministry of Finance, as well as leading representatives of the Lao business community are expected to attend the forum. The Embassy is seeking participation and sponsorship from the U.S. private sector. Sponsorship of the forum would include participation in either Davos-style panel discussions or breakout sessions with policymakers, and an opportunity to engage with Laos’ top leadership on issues related to fintech. If you are interested in sponsoring and/or participating in the forum, please contact Ella Duangkaew at eduangkaew@usasean.org.


Singapore Joins APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules System and Privacy Recognition for Processors Program

On February 28, Singapore became the sixth APEC economy to participate in the Cross-Border Privacy Rules System (CBPR) alongside the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the second APEC economy to participate in the Privacy Recognition for Processors System (PRP) alongside the U.S. According to a press release from Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC), the country submitted a Notice of Intent to the APEC joint Oversight Panel on July 26, 2017 and officially joined the two systems on February 20, 2018.

CPBR and PRP establish a harmonized set of data protection standards across the Asia-Pacific region under APEC Privacy Framework, which was developed in 2004 to facilitate the flow of data between the 21 member economies and their trading partners. While CBPR applies to data controllers–organizations that control the collection, holding processing, or use of data, PRP applies to data processors–organizations that process data on behalf of other organizations at their instruction. Collectively, CBPR and PRP bind participants to a common set of data privacy principles that strengthen consumer protection, encourage digital commerce, and facilitate economic growth.

Commenting on Singapore’s recent participation, PDPC Commissioner Tan Kiat How stated, “The seamless exchange of personal data will enable certified Singapore businesses to plug into even more regional and global business opportunities. Meanwhile, our consumers will enjoy greater peace of mind when they shop or use vital services online.” PDPC is currently developing a certification scheme for organizations to adopt CBPR and PRP standards by the end of this year. Once implemented, the two frameworks are expected to help Singapore develop more effective privacy protection practices and avoid barriers to data flows essential to its digital trade activities.

ASEAN-Japan Cybersecurity Capacity Building Center to be Launched in Thailand in June 2018

The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) of Thailand and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) of Japan are jointly launching an ASEAN-Japan Cybersecurity Capacity Building Center (AJCCBC) in Thailand in June. The decision was made during the ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers Meeting (TELMIN) in Cambodia last December. AJCCBC’s objective is to enhance the cybersecurity workforce for governmental agencies and critical information infrastructure operators in ASEAN, with the aims of raising cybersecurity awareness, strengthening data security, and promoting information sharing. This establishment will lay the groundwork for the development of a standardized Incident Reporting Framework and ASEAN-CERT (computer emergency response team) in accordance with the ASEAN ICT Master Plan 2020.

MDES has mandated the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) with its extensive experience in cybersecurity workforce development to take lead on AJCCBC’s operations. ETDA recently announced plans to conduct 3 initial courses on cyber threats including Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence (CYDER), Forensics, and Malware Analysis, of which content will be updated annually to respond to the evolving cyber landscape. A regional cybersecurity competition, Cyber SEA Game, is also being developed to attract and nurture young talent in the field. Speaking on the establishment of AJCCBC, MDES Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj commented, “MDES has been working in parallel with ASEAN and Japan. While Japan is preparing for financial capital, Thailand is proceeding with the approval of project detail that is under review by ASEAN and Japan.” AJCCBC has received US$5 million from the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund and technical support from various partners to train at least 700 regional cybersecurity personnel in the next four years.

As ASEAN deepens its regional integration and transitions towards a digital economy, its member countries have expressed increasing commitment to building a trusted digital ecosystem and the capacity to address challenges in the cyber realm. The ASEAN CERT Incident Drill (ACID), for example, is held annually among the ASEAN member countries and five dialogue partners including Australia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea and currently in its 12th year of running. At the inaugural ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity 2016, Singapore's Ministry for Communications and Information also established a S$10 million (US$7.6 million) ASEAN Cyber Capacity Program (ACCP) to support various efforts to strengthen cyber capacities across ASEAN, in collaboration with government agencies and industry experts. It was announced recently that S$1.5 million (US$1.1 million) of ACCP shall be dedicated towards building technical capability among incident responders and operators in the region for the next three years. 


Thailand's Draft Law on Cybersecurity

The Council is planning to join a submission of comments alongside BSA I The Software Alliance on Thailand's draft Cybersecurity Bill (found here in Thai, with an unofficial translation found here). BSA previously submitted comments on an earlier draft of the Cybersecurity Bill in 2015 (found here).

The draft joint submission can be found here. The comments will be submitted early next week, thus we are seeking members’ timely approval of the submission by COB Friday, April 13. Please contact Ella Duangkaew at eduangkaew@usasean.org if you have any concerns with the submission. The Council will sign on to the submission following this deadline barring any concerns.

Vietnam's Draft Law on Cybersecurity

The 16th version of Vietnam’s Draft Law on Cybersecurity has been released for comment by the National Assembly (in Vietnamese here). The Council and partner associations most recently submitted comments on Draft 15 on February 26, highlighting business and security concerns regarding proposed data localization requirements, among other issues. The Council also raised concerns with Minister of Public Security To Lam during the Vietnam Business Mission on March 27. However, the new draft appears to strengthen data localization requirements by:

  • Removing the threshold of 10,000 users, beyond which companies would be required to set up a representative office and store data in Vietnam. Now all offshore telecommunications and internet service providers, regardless of number of users, must comply (Art. 28);
  • Expanding the scope of data localization, by requiring local storage of data pertaining to “users in Vietnam,” instead of “Vietnamese users” as in previous versions (Art. 28); and
  • Providing that offshore telecommunications and internet services providers only store such data within the territory of Vietnam (Art. 42.2(c)).

During an April 4 meeting convened by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly to discuss the law, despite some disagreement, the Committee ultimately recommended that the data localization provisions remain intact. Per sources, this position was supported in part by exemption clauses under WTO and CPTPP agreements that permit member countries to restrict market access on the basis of national security and public interest. Following another round of revisions by the Ministry of Public Security, the Committee will reconsider the new draft at the National Assembly 5th Session in May.

If members have additional comments or concerns—or can supply an English translation of Draft 16—please contact Ella Duangkaew at eduangkaew@usasean.org and Matt Solomon at msolomon@usasean.org as soon as possible.

Updates on New Draft Amendment to Indonesia's GR82

During the 2018 Indonesia business mission (held March 13-15), the Council followed up with the Indonesian government on our joint comments to the draft amendment to Government Regulation 82/2012. BKPM Chairman Tom Lembong informed us that he did not think the draft amendment was up to the standard needed and the amendment was subsequently stalled. Minister of Communication and Information Technology Rudiantara reiterated that the amendment was not yet finished, but that an upcoming inter-ministerial meeting would be held to discuss the draft amendment and he would share an update with the Council when he visits Washington in April. The Indonesian Embassy will be hosting Minister Rudiantara on April 19 for a policy dialogue and USABC members are welcome to attend. The time is currently being confirmed and we will share an invitation shortly.

Cambodia’s Crypto Industry Presses Forward Despite Legal Uncertainty
Tech centre promises STEM growth
South Korea offers tech boost for Cambodian government

Indonesia goes hi-tech in hunt for tax assets after amnesty
USTR flags new digital trade barriers in Indonesia
5th BATIC to Commemorate Borderless Digital World
Indonesia selects key sectors for industrial revolution drive
Industry 4.0 road map to promote IoT
Bank Indonesia to launch QR code payment regulation

Malaysia launches Digital Transformation Acceleration Programme
Civil servants urged to prepare for future challenges
Malaysia Airlines introduces three new digital initiatives
Empowering Malaysia’s micro-entrepreneurs to boost e-commerce
Anti-Fake News Bill passed in Parliament

Digital making inroads in rural, remittance markets

The Philippines is aiming to build a city of the future
Philippines' leader did not buy data to win election: spokesman
Duterte aims for higher innovation, creativity rankings for Philippines
DTI and DOST Philippines partner to launch first government e-commerce platform
Philippines to provide incentives to returning scientists, inventors, and engineers
Philippines Department of Finance establishing online payment gateway for government transactions

Singapore remains at top for talent competitiveness for 5th year in a row
Singapore launches virtual sandbox for new generation cloud solutions
Singapore Plans Blockchain Push to Boost Financial Inclusion
Iranian hackers breach Singapore universities to access research data
Singapore converting world’s first integrated dispute resolution complex into smart facility

Thailand Becomes the Latest Country to Tax Cryptocurrencies
ASEAN-Japan Cybersecurity Capacity Building Centre to be launched in Thailand in June 2018
NBTC drops demand for mobile phone aid
Telecoms relief plan draws flak
Wissanu must 'justify' S44 for TV operators
Data usage soars on cell phones
NBTC makes spectrum auction U-turn
NBTC stands by AIS-True Move aid package

Cambodia and Vietnam to enhance exchange of information
Finance Ministry plans tax cut to give push to hi-tech labor market
MoH smart healthcare system uses AI, Big Data
Vietnam’s Third High-Tech Park Offers Incentives to Investors
VN to showcase mining technology
Vietnam’s space industry makes strides in 10 years

Cambodia’s Crypto Industry Presses Forward Despite Legal Uncertainty The Cryptocurrency Analytics 4th Apr 2018
The cryptocurrency sector in Cambodia is marching forward despite there being no comprehensive regulatory guidelines on digital currency. The Phenom Penh Post recently published a report suggesting that stakeholders in Cambodia’s crypto sector appear to be pressing forward despite the country’s regulatory ambiguity surrounding virtual currencies. In mean, founder of Cambodia’s Khmer Crypto Foundation told the daily that people investing in the crypto industry in Cambodia are doing so carefully because of the legal uncertainty. “It is not yet clear who is supposed to regulate cryptocurrency,” said Mr. Mean, adding that “it could be the NBC (National Bank of Cambodia) or the SECC (Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia), but it is not yet clear whose job this will be.” While the country hasn’t explicitly outlawed possession of digital currency, the government, in December last year reportedly prohibited “all microfinance institutions and national banks from advertising, buying, selling, and trading cryptocurrency.”

Tech centre promises STEM growth Khmer Times 2nd Apr 2018
The ICT Innovation Centre (IIC) project broke ground on Friday and will take 18 months to complete, according to a top official from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. Construction of the building will be funded through the national R&D Fund, with the cost estimated at $4 million. The fund was created in July last year to aid the development of the ICT sector. Each telecom firm in the country has to contribute one percent of their gross revenue to the reserve. A separate fund, known as the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USO Fund), requires companies to contribute one percent of their revenue.

South Korea offers tech boost for Cambodian government Khmer Times 30th Mar 2018
South Korea made a commitment yesterday to help Cambodia develop information technology to improve government services. Korean Interior Ministry representative Hye Young Kim said at the opening of a Cambodia-Korea E-Government Forum that the Korean government always supported Cambodia in improving digital technology. This was especially the case in moves to improve the working of government and promoting the country’s growth. South Korean Ambassador Nakyoung Oh said it had been more than 21 years since both countries resumed diplomatic ties.


Indonesia goes hi-tech in hunt for tax assets after amnesty Reuters 4th Apr 2018
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia’s tax office plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to update its outdated technology to boost low tax compliance and raise revenue collection in Southeast’s largest economy, the country’s tax chief told Reuters. Indonesia completed one of the world’s most successful tax amnesties in 2017, but its very success has created headaches. The tax office has to use old technology or even manual labor to deal with a wealth of new data, Robert Pakpahan, director general of the finance ministry’s tax department, said. A standard method of assessing companies’ profit margins, for example, has to be done manually by tax officials, said Pakpahan. “It should be done by machines, through automation so that it’s accurate.” The majority of Indonesia’s more than 250 million people do not pay tax and many are not even familiar with the concept of paying. Only 38 million are registered taxpayers, including corporations, and less than a third submit tax returns.

USTR flags new digital trade barriers in Indonesia Inside Trade 4th Apr 2018
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative's 2018 National Trade Estimate report cites new data localization policies and other digital practices in Indonesia, Nigeria, Vietnam and Thailand as “key barriers to digital trade,” in addition to reiterating concerns with China and others. In the March 30 report on foreign trade barriers, USTR said the four countries are employing data localization and e-commerce policies that act as digital trade obstacles for the U.S. and could run afoul of their World Trade

5th BATIC to Commemorate Borderless Digital World Markets Insider 4th Apr 2018
PT. Telekomunikasi Indonesia International ("Telin"), a subsidiary of PT. Telekomunikasi Indonesia, Tbk ("Telkom") proudly hosted Bali Annual Telkom International Conference ("BATIC") 2018, a 3 day platform for telecom carriers and wholesale providers from across the related segments, regions and the world to collaborate, share ideas and business opportunities. It takes place in the Westin Hotel, Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia from 4 to 6 April 2018. The event was officiated by a keynote speech of Abdus Somad Arief, Director of Wholesale and International Services of Telkom, one day before the conference started which was witnessed by telecommunications players around the world. The theme for this year is Unlocking Opportunities in the Borderless Digital World, a rationale set by seeing a vast growing of digital ecosystems with no limitation in terms of telecommunications. BATIC 2018 converges delegates from all areas of the global telecommunications community to meet and together explore alternative business insights from experts in OTT and telecommunication industries. This will also facilitate C-Level executives in strategy, marketing, and technology functions in order to extend business sustainability.

Indonesia selects key sectors for industrial revolution drive Xinhua 4th Apr 2018
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Tuesday that the government has singled out five industrial sectors for its industrial revolution drive, which would heavily utilize information technology mechanism. Speaking in his remarks to open 2018 Indonesia Industrial Summit, the president said the targeted sectors to initiate the Industry 4.0 were food and beverage, textile, automotive, electronics and chemical. "Those five industries were highly expected to bring significant benefits to our competitiveness as well as to our national economy towards the goal to be among the world's 10 largest economies by 2030," the president said.

Industry 4.0 road map to promote IoT The Jakarta Post 30th Mar 2018
The government plans to promote the application of internet of things (IoT) in its policy road map to prepare for Industry 4.0. The Industry Ministry will soon issue the road map, which will detail necessary efforts to support automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. Minister Airlangga Hartarto said on Thursday that the implementation of IoT, believed to increase efficiency in production, would start from the automotive and food and beverage sectors. "We will hold an industrial summit on April 4 and there will be a showcase on IoT implementation in the industry, so the public can learn about how it will work," he said after a meeting at the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister. IoT is the interconnectivity among physical devices using the internet as the backbone. The term covers the use of smartphones to biometric implants.

Bank Indonesia to launch QR code payment regulation The Jakarta Post 4th Apr 2018
Bank Indonesia (BI) has confirmed that it will issue a new regulation on quick response (QR) codes due to the method’s growing use among payment service providers. The Bank Indonesia Regulation, scheduled to be launched this month, will focus on the harmonization of QR code payment systems used by all providers and on the standardization of its technology, said BI Deputy Governor Sugeng. “Currently, not all existing QR code payments are connected, causing inefficiency for people who use [QR codes as a means of payment],” Sugeng told reporters on the sidelines of a digital economy seminar on Wednesday. QR code payment facilities resemble electronic data code (EDC) machines and automated teller machines, he added, adding that the use of QR codes would slash investment costs because it would not require expensive equipment, only QR scanners that are widely available for smartphones.


Malaysia launches Digital Transformation Acceleration Programme Digital News Asia 10th Apr 2018
In line with its commitment to accelerate the nation’s digital transformation, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) on April 9 kicked off the Digital Transformation Acceleration Programme (DTAP). The programme will provide Malaysian companies a structured approach to digital transformation and will leverage on Digital Transformation Labs’ expertise to help businesses adopt emerging digital technologies. “Digital transformation enhances the ecosystem which in turns increases the productivity and sustainability of Malaysia. Companies, whether they are in the manufacturing or services sector, need to future-proof their businesses to remain competitive. Mida has been working with MDEC to structure the DTAP towards lifting Malaysian industry players in the priority sectors to assist them in their digital adoption journey. “MIDA has been facilitating the shift of home-grown companies through the Domestic Investment Strategic Fund (DISF), and we are expanding it to cater for MDEC’s DTAP. We hope that these efforts will continue to get the support from the industries and in the long run, we will have more capable Malaysian champions to penetrate the global market,” said Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) chief executive officer Azman Mahmud.

Civil servants urged to prepare for future challenges NST Online 4th Apr 2018
Civil servants must be prepared to face three challenges – the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) and Digital Economy; Digital Government Competency and Capability Readiness (DGCCR); and National Transformation 2050 (TN50). Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said, in its preparations for the Industry 4.0 and digital economy, the government had implemented Malaysia Digital Policy and launched the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) to make the country the first digital economy hub in the world. He said such initiatives were expected to create more than 60,000 high-income jobs, especially for the younger generation.

Malaysia Airlines introduces three new digital initiatives The Edge Markets 3rd Apr 2018
In its effort to enhance its passengers' travel experience, Malaysia Airlines Bhd today introduced three new digital initiatives, namely MHguardian, MHfeedback and Facebook messenger bot MHChat, and will be introducing another three or four more digital initiatives this year. Speaking to reporters here today, Malaysia Airlines chief commercial officer Arved von zur Muehlen said the airline has been prioritising its investment in digital advancement over the last 12 months. However, he did not disclose any investment figures. "Our studies show a continuous trend of mobile-first in aviation. More than half of Malaysians prefer to plan, research and book their trips via mobile. This shows that passengers are more self-sufficient and they want more control over their travels," said Muehlen.

Empowering Malaysia’s micro-entrepreneurs to boost e-commerce Digital News Asia 3rd Apr 2018
Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) celebrated the successful completion of 50 high potential eUsahawan participants, who were among the pioneer batch of a special training and coaching programme aimed at creating sustainable e-commerce businesses. A collaboration between MDEC and Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd’s Coach and Grow Programme, the eUsahawan Level Up programme is an extension of MDEC’s eUsahawan initiative. Started in October 2017, the eUsahawan Level Up programme consists of two stages – six months and three months respectively. In the first stage, participants underwent a series of online and face-to-face training sessions and set their own six-month targets in consultation with assigned personal coaches. Cumulatively, the participants achieved a total of RM12,043,069 in revenue; 125% more than the target set. The second stage will see these 15 chosen participants undergoing an intensive three-month programme focusing on funding and export readiness.

Anti-Fake News Bill passed in Parliament NST Online 2nd Apr 2018
KUALA LUMPUR: The Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 was passed in the policy stage in the Dewan Rakyat today following a bloc vote, following days of heated debate.


Digital making inroads in rural, remittance markets The Myanmar Times 4th Apr 2018
Digital financial services can ensure that the rural people and workers abroad are not left behind as the banking sector evolves and leaps forward. As it will take a lot of time and resources for the digital structures to grow and for consumers to trust and learn to use the services, the sector needs investments which have a long-term horizon for returns. Following a national forum in mid-March, Steve Haley, digital financial services (DFS) consultant working with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), talked to The Myanmar Times about the role of digital services in financial inclusion. “Digital financial services can reduce the cash delivery burden of financial institutions that want to offer products and services to rural people in Myanmar, but they still need to think heavily about the customer engagement and protection,” Mr Haley said.


The Philippines is aiming to build a city of the future CNBC 10th Apr 2018
The Philippines, home to Manila's standstill traffic jams, is aiming to become known for the "city of the future.' Called New Clark City, the urban project is planned to be a high-tech green city promising science-fiction-worthy technology, from robots to drones to self-driving vehicles. It's located 120 kilometers outside the Philippine capital, and its investors hope it will be the first of its kind in the country: smart, sustainable and resilient to disasters. Of course, many countries are aiming to build their own version of the city of the future, and the Philippines still has a long way to go in its economic development, so the project's financial future is not a certainty. According to its lead developers, the project is mainly funded through public-private partnerships — a move necessary for the cash-strapped country.

Philippines' leader did not buy data to win election: spokesman Channel NewsAsia 10th Apr 2018
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's election victory in 2016 did not rely on information bought from anybody and his campaign team did not hire political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, his spokesman said on Tuesday. The Britain-based Cambridge Analytica is at the centre of a controversy over harvested personal data about users of Facebook, which was used to target voters in the U.S. presidential election and Britain's 2016 referendum on European Union membership. A report last week in the South China Morning Post newspaper said that Cambridge Analytica's parent firm, Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL), had made the claim that it helped put Duterte in office. But presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that was far from the case and Duterte's win was "fair and square". He said his then campaign treasurer and current finance minister, Carlos Dominguez, had assured him no transactions had taken place with Cambridge Analytica.

Duterte aims for higher innovation, creativity rankings for Philippines BusinessMirror 10th Apr 2018
President Duterte said on Tuesday the Philippines will be joining the top one-third of countries in the Global Innovation Index (GII) by 2022 due to its investments in government processes, technology and human development. In 2017 Philippines placed 73rd out of 127 economies.  In 2016 the country placed 74th out of 128 and 83rd out of 143 economies in 2015. “We will empower more Filipinos with better skills and expertise and, with our Innovation Council under the Department of Science and Technology, we will improve the competitiveness and productivity of our MSMEs [micro, small and medium enterprises],” Duterte said in a speech at the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan, China, attended by around 2,000, including world leaders.

DTI and DOST Philippines partner to launch first government e-commerce platform OpenGovAsia 10th Apr 2018
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in the Philippines have joined hands to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) expand their market reach online through the OneSTore.ph platform. Sec. Fortunato T. Dela Peña of DOST and Sec. Ramon M. Lopez of DTI signed a Memorandum of Agreement during the Media Briefing and DTI-DOST Synergy Meeting on April 5, 2018 in Taguig City. OneSTore.ph is the first government e-commerce platform dedicated to marketing high-quality Filipino products of MSMEs through the worldwide web.

Philippines to provide incentives to returning scientists, inventors, and engineers OpenGovAsia 10th Apr 2018
The Program will prioritise experts in the fields of space, technology, artificial intelligence, biomedical engineering, energy agriculture and food technology—biotechnology, information and communications technology, pharmaceutical, disaster mitigation and management, environment and natural resources, electronics, genomics, health, manufacturing, nanotechnology, cyber security and semiconductors.  The Philippine Government is expected to enact the ‘Balik Scientist Act’ next month, which would provide more incentives to returning Filipino experts, scientists, inventors, and engineers. The Balik Scientist Act seeks to institutionalise the Balik Scientist Program (BSP) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), which encourages Filipino scientists, technologists, and experts to return to the country and share their expertise in order to promote scientific, agro-industrial, and economic development and address development gaps in the Philippines. The BSP also aims to support and strengthen the scientific and technological human resources in the Philippines.

Philippines Department of Finance establishing online payment gateway for government transactions OpenGovAsia 10th Apr 2018
The PHPay system is designed to be a secure and reliable collection system in which government clients can transfer payments online for government services, anytime and anywhere. Complementing this DOF effort, the Bureau of Internal Revenue has minimised the processing time and procedures for paying taxes, registering properties and starting business. The Department of Finance (DOF) in the Philippines is establishing an online-based payment gateway to enable taxpayers and other state clients to remit fees and other charges electronically to government agencies. This is in line with the Philippine Government’s efforts to cut red tape and improve the ease of doing business in the country.


Singapore remains at top for talent competitiveness for 5th year in a row Business Insider Singapore 10th Apr 2018
When it comes to competing for talent, Singapore is again in the top spot in Asia Pacific for the fifth consecutive year, according to the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2018. The results were announced on April 10, during GTCI’s Asia launch event at the Insead campus in Singapore. Singapore also comes in second to Switzerland on the global scale, out of the 119 countries ranked in the annual benchmarking report, produced in partnership with The Adecco Group and Tata Communications. It is also the only Asian Pacific country in the top 10, which is dominated by European countries. This year’s theme was ‘Diversity for Competitiveness’, and emphasises the need for diversity to build innovative teams and allow organisations to operate in multicultural environments. As an aspiring smart nation, keeping technology in mind is necessary for talent competition in Singapore.

Singapore launches virtual sandbox for new generation cloud solutions OpenGovAsia 10th Apr 2018
The Digital Transformation Foundry by SingTel and VMware is designed as a “virtual sandbox” for customers to conduct proof-of-concept experiments to help bring their digital solutions to market more quickly. Asannounced on 10 April, Singtel signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with enterprise software innovator VMware to jointly provide solutions to accelerate the digital transformation of enterprises across the Asia Pacific region.   The two companies will set up their first Digital Transformation Foundry in Singapore to co-create new generation cloud solutions.  Enterprises can test their solutions in a hybrid cloud environment, for example, allowing them to implement cloud-enabled workplaces more smoothly, in turn lowering costs, achieving better operational efficiencies and improving productivity.

Singapore Plans Blockchain Push to Boost Financial Inclusion CoinDesk 9th Apr 2018
The Singapore government is looking to boost blockchain development in an effort to improve financial inclusion for Southeast Asian countries. In opening remarks for a meeting with finance ministers from Southeast Asian countries on Friday, Heng Swee Keat, Singapore's minister for finance, highlighted the government's plans to foster innovations such as blockchain to improve access to finance in the region. "In particular, we will support digital innovations like fintech. For example, the underlying distributed ledger technology presents us with many opportunities for cheap and secure transactions. This can promote financial inclusion for underserved and underbanked segments in ASEAN," the minister said. Although Heng did not disclose precise details on any blockchain initiatives, his comments come at a time when governments in Southeast Asia have been stepping up efforts to develop and adopt blockchain tech in the financial sector.

Iranian hackers breach Singapore universities to access research data ZDNet 4th Apr 2018
Iranian hackers have targeted four Singapore universities in a wave of attacks believed to be part of last month's security breach involving global education institutions. At least 52 accounts were affected across the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Management University, and Singapore University of Technology and Design, according to a joint statement Tuesday by Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) and Ministry of Education (MOE). The government agencies said they learnt of the breach last week. Hackers had used phishing attacks to harvest credentials from affected staff members and used these to gain access to the institutes' online libraries and research articles published by the academic staff. Based on their investigations, CSA and MOE said no sensitive data had been stolen and the attacks did not appear to be linked to the APT attacks against NUS and NTU last year.

Singapore converting world’s first integrated dispute resolution complex into smart facility OpenGovAsia 4th Apr 2018
The adoption of technology will provide better services, as well help Maxwell Chambers boost productivity, meet growing demand, and result in significant time and cost savings. The total cost savings from the smart solutions are estimated to be over half a million dollars a year. Today Singapore’s Ministry of Law (MinLaw) and Maxwell Chambers launched the “Smart Maxwell” initiative to convert Maxwell Chambers , the world’s first integrated dispute resolution complex into the world’s first smart hearing facility. It will use smart technology to offer more convenient, secure and comfortable hearings for businesses, legal counsel, arbitrators and mediators. Turning Maxwell Chambers into a smart hearing facility is part of the Ministry of Law’s (MinLaw) larger plan to boost Singapore’s position as an international dispute resolution hub.


Thailand Becomes the Latest Country to Tax Cryptocurrencies The Merkle 2nd Apr 2018
It is evident the cryptocurrency industry has sparked many debates regarding the future of money. Thailand has always been an interesting country when it comes to regulating this new form of money, as there seems to be no streamlined approach. That is coming to change, as the nation’s military regime wants to begin taxing cryptocurrencies in the near future. For most people, it will not come as a big surprise to learn some countries are leaning toward taxing cryptocurrencies. This also means these countries will need to recognize Bitcoin and altcoins as a form of legal tender, as they cannot be taxed under any other circumstances. That aspect alone is well worth keeping an eye on in the future. One of the more interesting examples in this regard is Thailand. The Asian nation has a military regime which has been quite vocal about cryptocurrencies in the past. At one point, it almost seemed as if the use of Bitcoin would become illegal in the country, although things never got to that point. Instead, it appears the regime is suddenly looking at cryptocurrency in a completely different manner.

ASEAN-Japan Cybersecurity Capacity Building Centre to be launched in Thailand in June 2018 OpenGovAsia 30th Mar 2018
The Centre aims to develop the cybersecurity workforce in ASEAN, particularly in governmental agencies and Critical Information Infrastructure operators in ASEAN, training at least 700 cybersecurity personnel in the region in four years. The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) of Thailand and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) of Japan are partnering for the establishment of a ASEAN-Japan Cybersecurity Capacity Building Centre (AJCCBC) in Thailand in June. The Centre is expected to play the key role in mitigating cybercrime in the region as well as getting ready for the establishment of ASEAN-CERT. According to Bangkok Post, at the ASEAN Telecommunications and IT Ministers meeting (Telmin)  meeting in Cambodia in December 2017, Thailand was chosen to be the hub of ASEAN cybersecurity training and tasked with improving the skills of security-related agencies of 10 countries.

NBTC drops demand for mobile phone aid Bangkok Post 10th Apr 2018
The telecom regulator has finally backed off support for assisting the country's two mobile giants after facing weeks of heavy criticism from academics and the public sector, who argue that Advanced Info Service (AIS) and True Move have not suffered enough to warrant support. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will no longer back the plan to relax the two companies' 900-megahertz licence payment scheme.

Telecoms relief plan draws flak Bangkok Post 9th Apr 2018
Opposition to the controversial relief plan allowing two telecom operators to extend payment for the 900-megahertz mobile spectrum has intensified ahead of Tuesday's cabinet meeting. The cabinet is expected to consider the proposal Tuesday after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha put the brakes on it two weeks ago following criticism by the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI). The prime minister asked the NBTC for a written explanation how the relief plan benefits the public.

Wissanu must 'justify' S44 for TV operators Bangkok Post 4th Apr 2018
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam is expected to submit a petition justifying the use of Section 44 to suspend debt repayments for digital TV and mobile operators by the end of the month. Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, in his capacity as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief, has instructed Mr Wissanu put the case for the use of Section 44 in writing and forward it for consideration. The order follows last week's meeting between Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), Mr Wissanu and the NCPO over the hardships faced by operators of digital TV and the 900-megahertz mobile spectrum.

Data usage soars on cell phones Bangkok Post 4th Apr 2018
Data usage via mobile phones leapt six-fold from 2014 to 2017, while voice calls dropped from 70.72 billion minutes in 2014 to 43.46 billion minutes last year, according to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said on Wednesday that data used for mobile internet services through three major mobile phone operators totalled 3.29 terabytes in 2017, more than six times the amount used in 2014.

NBTC makes spectrum auction U-turn Bangkok Post 3rd Apr 2018
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has made an about-face on the planned auction of the 1800-megahertz spectrum, returning to its original three-licence scheme of 90MHz in bandwidth (upload and download) instead of tripling the number of bandwidth slots to nine blocks. The move comes in response to prospective bidders claim that the amended draft will hurt their long-term business strategies, assuming operations under a 30MHz licensing scheme.

NBTC stands by AIS-True Move aid package Bangkok Post 2nd Apr 2018
The telecom regulator has reaffirmed that its assistance to Advanced Info Service (AIS) and True Move will generate 3.6 billion baht for the state during 2020-24 based on a 1.5% interest rate, with the hope that the two operators will join the planned auction of the 1800-megahertz spectrum. The two auction winners will benefit from capital savings of 3.59 billion baht based on a 3% interest rate if they borrowed from banks.


Cambodia and Vietnam to enhance exchange of information Khmer Times 5th Apr 2018
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked Cambodia to enhance the exchange of information between the two countries in order to avoid fake news. The request was made during bilateral talks between Prime Minister Hun Sen and his counterpart on the sidelines of the third Mekong River Commission Summit yesterday in Siem Reap province. “He [Mr Xuan Phuc] asked to enhance cooperation on the exchange of information to avoid fake news from some media outlets,” Mr Hun Sen’s assistant Eang Sophalleth told reporters. Mr Sophalleth said that Mr Xuan Phuc raised concerns that fake news could harm relations between the two countries. Mr Hun Sen agreed to enhance the exchange of information, said Mr Sophalleth.

Finance Ministry plans tax cut to give push to hi-tech labor market VietNamNet 4th Apr 2018
VietNamNet Bridge - The Ministry of Finance has proposed a 50 percent personal income tax (PIT) reduction on income from salaries and wages of hi-tech workers in an effort to help ease enterprises’ staff shortage.  Truong Gia Binh, president of FPT, the Vietnamese largest information technology group, said all technology firms are “contracting a chronic disease – lacking qualified workers”. The Law on High Technology and other legal documents stipulate incentives to encourage investments in the hi-tech sector.  In May 2016, the government released the Resolution 41 on the tax policy to foster the development and application of IT in Vietnam. However, the policy has not taken effect.  Vietnam is seriously lacking qualified workers for the IT industry. Vietnam Works, an online recruitment firm, predicted that Vietnam would lack 500,000 workers, or 80 percent, of total IT workers it needs by 2020. The MOF proposal on the 50 percent PIT reduction for workers in the hi-tech sector has been applauded by most businesses and experts.

MoH smart healthcare system uses AI, Big Data Vietnamnews 4th Apr 2018
A smart healthcare system that exploits Big Data and artificial intelligence (AI) has been set up by the Ministry of Health to improve the quality of health examinations and medical treatment. Each locality in the country is expected to develop a smart healthcare system based on their own conditions, according to the ministry. The ministry has issued a set of criteria for IT applications toward smart health, according to Trần Quý Tường, head of Electronic Health Administration of Việt Nam. Under the criteria, a hospital will be considered “smart” if it uses artificial intelligence and has software to manage information, tests, storage and image transmission, electronic health records and kiosks for patients to search for information.

Vietnam’s Third High-Tech Park Offers Incentives to Investors Lexology 2nd Apr 2018
With technology playing an increasingly crucial role in modern life, many countries are turning to the high-tech park model to promote science and technology and attract domestic and overseas investment. High-tech parks are strategically planned hubs connecting research and development activities with high-tech manufacturing and information-based services like software development, and often provide additional amenities like training centers and housing. These parks typically offer many incentives to companies to attract investment projects. Vietnam established its first high-tech park, Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park, in Hanoi in 1998, followed by Saigon Hi-Tech Park in Ho Chi Minh City in 2002. To push the development of science and technology in the Central region, a third high-tech park was established in Da Nang in 2010. Earlier this year, the Government of Vietnam issued Decree No. 04/2018/ND-CP on incentive regulations and policies for Da Nang Hi-Tech Park, which took effect on February 20, 2018.

VN to showcase mining technology Vietnamnews 10th Apr 2018
The fourth Mining Việt Nam 2018, an international mining and minerals recovery exhibition and conference, will be held on April 18-20 at the International Centre for Exhibition in Hà Nội. Mining Việt Nam is considered one of the most trustworthy exhibitions in the mining industry in the country as well as Asia-Pacific region. “Since its first edition in 2012, with 3,290 industry attendees from 26 countries, the exhibition has become a bridge to effectively connect local and foreign firms as well as bring advanced technologies and machines to the market,” said BT Tee, general director of UBM VES Company, the exhibition’s organiser, at a press meet in Hà Nội on Thursday.

Vietnam’s space industry makes strides in 10 years VietNamNet 10th Apr 2018
Vietnam’s space industry has gained significant development in the 10 years since the launch of its first satellite Vinasat-1 (April 18, 2008). Ariane 5 rocket with Vinasat-2 on board on its way to the launch pad in Guiana Space Centre in 2013 In 2006, then Prime Minister Phan Van Khai approved the strategy for Research and Application on Space Technology for Vietnam’s socio-economic development. Almost two years later, Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group signed an agreement with Lockheed Martin of the US on the creation of the Vinasat-1 satellite. The launch of Vinasat-1 in 2008 marked a milestone of the country’s space industry. Along with economic benefits, it affirmed Vietnam’s sovereignty in space and its position by becoming the world’s 93rd country and the sixth nation in Southeast Asia to have its own satellite.