ICT Update: June 7, 2018

ICT Update | June 7, 2018
Authors: Matt Solomon, Kim Yaeger, Shay Wester, Ella Duangakew, and Ryan DelGaudio

 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

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 note that the structure of the Forum for the rest of the year is currently under reconfiguration for a more comprehensive and strategic approach. More information will be shared in a later Update. 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 (eduangkaew@usasean.org).

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Vietnam to Publish and Implement an Internet Code of Conduct

On May 18, Vietnam’s Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan announced the formulation of a code of conduct for internet users. According to the Government of Vietnam, 55 million people, or 57 percent of the population, regularly use the internet in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese Government asserts that the potential regulation is a response to a significant rise in hate speech, which a survey by the Vietnam Programme for Internet and Society at the Vietnam National University in Hanoi (VPIS) found. While Vietnamese law currently contains provisions restricting negative content online, the Government of Vietnam is seeking stricter and more punitive regulations, such as through the Draft Law on Cybersecurity. Deputy Director of the National Institute of Information and Communications Strategy Do Quy Vu stated that the code will act as a set of principles based on broad ideals and will “aim to regulate behaviors of internet service providers and internet users.”

While Vietnamese Government officials have vaguely described the spirit of the potential internet code of conduct, a draft version has not been distributed to the public. However, their statements imply the code will broadly restrict content without providing details on the code’s jurisdiction. Although Minister Tuan announced that VPIS would collect feedback from experts and there would be a public comment period for the draft code, the Government of Vietnam has not released a timeline for this process. Sweeping content restrictions, including those that may appear in the code, may make compliance difficult for content and internet companies in Vietnam, and may reduce investor confidence in the country. This is of concern, since these regulations may preclude increased economic growth by discouraging foreign and domestic companies from expanding investment or operations in Vietnam.

Malaysia Takes Steps to Repeal Anti-Fake News Act

On May 28, Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Minister (MCMC) Gobind Singh Deo revealed his intentions to repeal the controversial Anti-Fake News Act 2018 during the new Parliament’s first meeting on June 25. The Bill, which restricted online content deemed to be false, was passed by the Malaysian Parliament on April 2 and made the publication of such content punishable by imprisonment. While Malaysian officials including MP Azalina Othman Said branded the Law as “[restricting] the dissemination of fake news,” activists and non-governmental organizations such as Human Rights Watch claim the legislation “could be used against critics of gerrymandering or other elements of the electoral process.”

The Anti-Fake News Act is one of many laws involving MCMC which Minister Gobind hopes to annul. Before Parliament can repeal the Law, the Ministry must consult relevant stakeholders including the Attorney-General’s Chambers. Additionally, Minister Gobind stated he would investigate whether “anyone has been detained or investigated under the Law… and if other laws can be applied to those cases.”

Given the recent controversy surrounding Malaysia’s elections, the Minister’s commitment to repeal the Anti-Fake News Act is a positive step for the new government in terms of increasing the ease of doing business in Malaysia, particularly for digital companies.

Laos Clarifies Intellectual Property Regime

On May 25, the Lao government published the new Law on Intellectual Property No. 38/NA, which replaces the previous 2011 Law on Intellectual Property No. 01/NA. The law clarifies administrative procedures relating to intellectual property rights and seeks to address practices that undermine an innovative and competitive business environment. Specific provisions involve:

  • Implementing a digital platform to streamline the trademark application process
  • Creating an opposition procedure for third parties to contest the registration of a trademark, patent, or design
  • Refusing protections for plant varieties previously registered abroad
  • Expanding copyright eligibility to include every type of broadcast
  • Closing loopholes in dispute-resolution procedures involving intellectual property rights
  • Simplifying the legal substantiation of criminal offense by only requiring malintent
  • Allowing Customs officers to seize and impound goods infringing upon intellectual property rights

While the legislative process for this Law has lacked transparency, the Lao government announced that it will institute this new IP Law on June 9, fifteen days after its publication. Additionally, as the legislation creates new mechanisms for IP facilitation, the government may pass additional regulations to ease the Law’s implementation. While the Law itself does not currently appear to pose a threat to U.S. business interests in the region, the short period of legislative transition, paired with the Lao government’s ability to impose future regulations by decree, represents a non-inclusive policymaking process and raises concerns about the process governing such reforms in the future.

Cambodia Begins Monitoring “Fake News” on Media Platforms

On May 23, the Cambodian Ministers of Information, Interior, and Post and Telecommunication issued a joint regulation to monitor online media platforms. This new inter-Ministry working group will investigate all news and social media sites in the first step of a larger legislative effort to crack down on “fake news.” Other countries in ASEAN, such as Malaysia (see above) and Thailand, have also instituted similar content restrictions on news their governments deem to be false or misinformed. The regulation provides each ministry with a specialized role to coordinate and execute this surveillance program, which includes prosecuting unlicensed internet service providers, restricting websites that publish fake news, and requiring web-based media companies to implement filtering software.

The Government of Cambodia claims that the regulation will serve to benefit the public by preventing the harms fake news causes, including instability and social chaos. While many fear that the Cambodian government will utilize the regulation for political ends, Im Vutha of the Telecom Regulator of Cambodia argues that the proclamation will not affect “internet freedom or the July 29 national elections.” However, political analyst Lao Mong Hay finds concern with the “loosely termed” language, which lends itself to a loose interpretation by the Cambodian government. As Hun Sen’s government continues to tighten its control over the media industry, both foreign and domestic businesses may have trouble navigating the Cambodian economy in the face of new content regulations.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Draft 18 of Vietnam's Cybersecurity Law

On June 5, the Council and partner associations AIC, BSA, JEITA and ITI, submitted comments to the National Assembly on Draft 18 of Vietnam's Draft Law on Cybersecurity. The submission can be found here in English and Vietnamese. In addition to this joint submission, the Council is also engaging in direct advocacy efforts with the National Assembly, in advance of the June 12 vote on the Draft Law, to further influence or delay the passage of the Draft Law. The new draft (found here in English) contains provisions that criminalize a variety of potentially unintended and non-malicious actions, expand content restrictions liberally, transfer the onus of policing Vietnamese cyberspace violations to corporations and web platforms, and further broaden data localization requirements for foreign and domestic businesses. Please contact Ella Duangkaew (eduangkaew@usasean.org) and Matt Solomon (msolomon@usasean.org) with any questions. 

 

IN THIS UPDATE

 
 

Regional Affairs
Southeast Asia Could Have A $200B Internet Economy With Improved Skills & Leadership
How disruptive technologies are transforming Southeast Asia
Internet, TV touted as ad kings
Mobile makers allege duty evasion in handset imports from Asean

Brunei
Brunei enters new era of green technology

Cambodia
Three ministries set up web-monitoring group to look out for ‘fake news’
Government beefs up internet surveillance
Why businesses should be looking to the future
Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

Indonesia
Indonesia welcomes APEC initiative in inclusivity, digital economy
Gov't Wants More Local SMEs in E-Commerce to Reduce Inequality
Disruptive Technology, Automation Force Change in Workers' Skills: McKinsey
Industry 4.0: The Indonesian Perspective
Ministry Blocks Thousands of Radical Websites, Accounts
House speaker urges government to consolidate rice data

Malaysia
Media council to be proposed to cabinet in 2 weeks, says Gobind
Malaysia scraps innovation centre, risking tech entrepreneurship in Asean
Malaysia wants to ‘double’ broadband speeds at ‘half the price’
Media freedom will be a priority, says Gobind
Gobind: Anti-Fake News Act will be abolished

Myanmar
Telecommunications companies warned against online gambling
Mobile phone usage in Myanmar increases 110 percent

Philippines
Long overlooked, the Philippines starts to catch tech investors' fancy
PHL shows vast improvement in 4G speeds
#ConnectedWomen: how tech allows women to stay in the PHL and start their own business
Naming third telco hits another delay
‘PH more active in blockchain tech than West’
PHL to retool workers to counter threat of AI
PH Customs engages Webb Fontaine to improve electronic-to-mobile system

Singapore
All of Singapore’s government services will go digital by 2023
Singapore authority to help local businesses mitigate tech security threats
Tech sector clouded by trade worries
Singapore CFOs: Positive on the Economy, Worried About Technology Disruption
Singapore to implement e-invoice framework based on Europe’s PEPPOL
Common parcel locker system to be piloted in Bukit Panjang, Punggol in October
Singapore requires “geofencing” for all bike-sharing firms in the city
Singapore Has Fintech Dreams, But It's Short on Tech Talent
Amount equal to six per cent of Singapore’s GDP could have been lost through cyber attacks

Thailand
Acing the logistics of e-commerce
Thailand is new dumping ground for world's high-tech trash, police say
Thai Gov’t monitoring online information
Police and NBTC join in committee to combat illegal use of VoIP
EcommerceIQ looks into hiring and keeping talent
Regtech to get push of data privacy compliance
Startups get a boost with new official website

Vietnam
National Assembly debates internet security law
IT Outsourcing Hotspot: Vietnam, A Small But Mighty Powerhouse
Vietnam Blockchain Summit to run in June
U.S. raises concerns about Vietnam's proposed cybersecurity law
ICT improvements needed
VN Internet users to have code of conduct - News VietNamNet
Policy stability and transparency needed in SEZ law
Fintech and Foreign Banks Growing Fast in Vietnam

 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Southeast Asia Could Have A $200B Internet Economy With Improved Skills & Leadership Forbes 31st May 2018
The Southeast Asian startup scene is strong and getting stronger. Across the region, companies are emerging in fintech, edtech, insurtech, blockchain and many other areas. In 2017, Southeast Asian startups received $7.86 billion in investor funding, which is triple the investments seen the year before, according to Tech in Asia.

How disruptive technologies are transforming Southeast Asia The ASEAN Post 29th May 2018
The rapid growth of technology has brought about unprecedented disruption to multiple industries. Previously, technological advancements that would cause a shift across entire sectors would only come about once a decade. However, thanks to how quickly technology is evolving today, new disruptive technologies are coming to the fore every day. Some examples of disruptive technologies include – but are not limited to – cloud computing, the internet of things (IoT), autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence (AI).

Internet, TV touted as ad kings Bangkok Post 29th May 2018
TV and internet are still the major sources of advertising in Thailand, says Media Intelligence. According to its April report on total media expenditure, TV and internet are the main channels for brands and advertisers to deliver messages to consumers because of their versatility and convenience.

Mobile makers allege duty evasion in handset imports from Asean The Economic Times 24th May 2018
The domestic cellphone industry has flagged possible duty evasion in imports of the completely built unit (CBU) of mobile phones, suspected of Chinese origin, from Asean countries under the free trade route.

Brunei

Brunei enters new era of green technology Borneo Bulletin 28th May 2018
A SIGNIFICANT development recently took place in Brunei Darussalam as a ground breaking ceremony was held for the construction of the world’s first global hydrogen supply chain demonstration plant at a project site located at Sungai Liang Industrial Park (SPARK). The ceremony was held by the Advanced Hydrogen Energy Chain Association for Technology Development (AHEAD), which was created by four companies, namely Chiyoda Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsui & Co Ltd, and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha. AHEAD is funded by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO).

Cambodia

Three ministries set up web-monitoring group to look out for ‘fake news’ Phnom Penh Post 5th Jun 2018
The Cambodian government will monitor all news and social networking sites with immediate effect, “to prevent the spread of information that can cause social chaos and threaten national security”. In a prakas (a regulation adopted by a minister) signed on May 23 by the ministers of information, interior, and post and telecommunication, it was noted that officials from the three ministries will form an interministry working group to investigate any online media platforms that spread “fake news” before taking appropriate action under the Kingdom’s laws.

Government beefs up internet surveillance Phnom Penh Post 4th Jun 2018
THE Cambodian government will monitor all news and social networking sites with immediate effect, "to prevent the spreading of information that can cause social chaos and threaten national security". In a prakas (regulation adopted by a minister) signed on May 23 by the ministers of Information, Interior and Posts and Telecommunications, it was noted that officials from the three ministries will form an interministry working group to investigate any online media platforms that spread fake news before taking appropriate action based on the law.

Why businesses should be looking to the future Phnom Penh Post 23rd May 2018
Advanced technology and the digital transformation in Cambodia are set to usher in a bright future. And businesses in the Kingdom should react to this changing landscape to improve their competitiveness, experts said on Tuesday. Speaking at the Digital Transformation Workshop, “Leveraging on Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Cloud Computing”, on Tuesday, Tram Iv Tek, the minister of posts and telecommunications, said the time had come to start planning for the future, and build skills and infrastructure in artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) to take advantage of such new technologies.

Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’ Phnom Penh Post 23rd May 2018
Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up to 26 regional hubs by getting them to work together towards a common goal of sustainable urban development enabled by technology.

Indonesia

Indonesia welcomes APEC initiative in inclusivity, digital economy The Jakarta Post 29th May 2018
A recent meeting of ministers from Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG), highlighted the optimization of technology and importance of inclusivity in economic growth. The meeting resulted in various agreements, including expanding access for all layers of society in the Asia-Pacific region to participate in economic and trade activities; optimizing the use of digital technology; the internalization of micro and small and medium enterprises (SMEs); increasing connectivity in the region; as well as creating inclusive and sustainable growth.

Gov't Wants More Local SMEs in E-Commerce to Reduce Inequality Jakarta Globe 29th May 2018
Jakarta. Indonesia might force local e-commerce sites, like Alibaba-backed Lazada, Softbank's Tokopedia and Bukalapak to offer a certain amount of goods from local small and medium enterprises, a minister said on Monday (29/05). The plan is part of government efforts to ensure that the country's 55 million SMEs benefit from the country's growing digital economy, and in the process, help reduce inequality here.

Disruptive Technology, Automation Force Change in Workers' Skills: McKinsey Jakarta Globe 28th May 2018
Changes in global demand for different types of workforce skills, caused by the rapid growth of technology, will require business organizations to provide training programs to employees. McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), a think-tank of consulting firm McKinsey & Co., projects that by 2030, demand for technological expertise will increase by even 55 percent, while for social and emotional skills, needed in leadership and management, will rise by 24 percent. Demand for higher cognitive skills such as creativity, critical thinking, decision making and complex information processing will rise moderately, by 8 percent.

Industry 4.0: The Indonesian Perspective Hukum Online 25th May 2018
In April 2018, the Government launched a roadmap that it calls “Making Indonesia 4.0”, which sets out a number of strategies formulated by the state in a bid to embrace Industry 4.0. During the roadmap’s preparation stages, the government solicited input and involvement from various stakeholders, including government agencies, industrial associations, businesses and technology providers, as well as research and education institutions.

Ministry Blocks Thousands of Radical Websites, Accounts Tempo 21st May 2018
Yogyakarta - The Communication and Information Ministry has blocked thousands of websites and social media accounts it deemed spreading radicalism. “We had blocked 2,528 [websites and social media accounts] until last night, and we are still verifying another 9,500. Probably there are 3,000 that we have blocked till today,” said Communication and Information Minister Rudiantara on the sidelines of the National Awakening Day ceremony at Yogyakarta Northern Townsquare on Monday, May 21, 2018. 

House speaker urges government to consolidate rice data The Jakarta Post 22nd May 2018
House of Representatives Speaker Bambang Soesatyo has called on the government to consolidate its data on rice stocks, following different statements from government officials on whether the country needed to import rice or not. Bambang questioned the persistently high price of rice, even though the government imported 500,000 tons of rice earlier this year and would soon import another 500,000 tons of the commodity.

Malaysia

Media council to be proposed to cabinet in 2 weeks, says Gobind The Malaysian Insight 30th May 2018
COMMUNICATIONS and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said he would propose the formation of a media council to the cabinet in two weeks' time. He said the structure of the council was being planned and that he was meeting all relevant parties involved.

Malaysia scraps innovation centre, risking tech entrepreneurship in Asean Asian Correspondent 29th May 2018
MALAYSIA witnessed a whirlwind of changes after its recent elections, including a slew of announcements aimed at streamlining government operations. Among other things, the new government decided to dissolve MaGIC, the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre. Many believe this move will affect the startup ecosystem across the region as it is part of a support network of 10 Asean countries, known as the Asean Centre of Entrepreneurship.

Malaysia wants to ‘double’ broadband speeds at ‘half the price’ Tech Wire Asia 23rd May 2018
MALAYSIA is home to one of the highest numbers of dissatisfied broadband users in Southeast Asia as a recent poll by Tech Wire Asia found that nearly three-quarters of the nation’s users felt their connections were slow. Weighing in on the long-standing grouses, a newly-minted Communications and Multimedia minister is now looking to achieve connections that were “double the speed, half the price”.

Media freedom will be a priority, says Gobind The Star Online 22nd May 2018
PUTRAJAYA: Enhancing media freedom, the formation of a media council and a review of current laws will be the main focus areas of the Communications and Multimedia Ministry. Its newly-minted minister Gobind Singh Deo said the Pakatan Harapan Government is fully committed towards building a system where media reporting is done without fear or favour.

Gobind: Anti-Fake News Act will be abolished The Star Online 22nd May 2018
KUALA LUMPUR: The Anti-Fake News Act officially gazetted in April will be abolished, said the new Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo. He said the proposal to repeal the Act would be brought to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad so that it could be abolished as soon as possible.

Myanmar

Telecommunications companies warned against online gambling The Myanmar Times 25th May 2018
The Ministry of Transport and Communication’s Department of Post and Telecommunications (DPT) has warned all private telecommunications companies not to deal in illegal online gambling.

Mobile phone usage in Myanmar increases 110 percent Mizzima 23rd May 2018
The mobile phone usage rate increased to over 110.43 percent in Myanmar, according to Xinhua quoting the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Philippines

Long overlooked, the Philippines starts to catch tech investors' fancy DealStreetAsia 31st May 2018
The hunt for bargains in Southeast Asian’s red-hot technology arena is finally driving investors to the Philippines. Galvanized by Alibaba-founder Jack Ma’s investment in payments outfit Mynt, early-stage investors have begun to explore opportunities in one of the region’s fastest-growing economies, which since 2012 has drawn but an iota of Southeast Asian venture capital investment.

PHL shows vast improvement in 4G speeds BusinessWorld 31st May 2018
The Philippines improved in long-term evolution (LTE) availability and speed from last year due to the expansion of services by the telecommunications giants, according to a recent report. OpenSignal, a United Kingdom-based wireless coverage mapping company, said in a website post that both PLDT, Inc.’s Smart Communications, Inc. and Globe Telecom, Inc. showed “amazing growth” in their overall fourth generation (4G) speeds in tests over the last year. From the test period from March to May 2017, to the most recent test period of February to April 2018, Globe’s overall speed grew by 63% while Smart’s overall speed nearly doubled in the company’s measurements.

#ConnectedWomen: how tech allows women to stay in the PHL and start their own business GMA News Online 30th May 2018
While traveling and shooting for a food documentary series, I met a lot of restaurant and local delicacy owners in the provinces. Most of them were women, matriarchs who, wanting to augment their husbands’ income and provide a better future for their families, started their businesses right out of their homes. With determination and grit, these matriarchs have grown their once backyard projects into full-blown businesses with several locations and/or becoming suppliers to businesses in Metro Manila and even abroad.

Naming third telco hits another delay philstar.com 30th May 2018
Authorities are yet to agree on the final criteria for selecting the Philippines’ third major telecommunications player, causing a delay in the entry of the new service provider that is set to compete with a longstanding duopoly. According to the Department of Information and Communications Technology, or DICT, an oversight committee formed by President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to approve the draft Terms of Reference for the selection process. The DICT said the government-led committee convened last May 28 to zero in on “four key issues” that must be resolved first to ensure that the upcoming telecom player could effectively compete. But acting DICT Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. had reportedly assured the public that the announcement would happen “definitely before the end of the year.”

‘PH more active in blockchain tech than West’ The Manila Times Online 24th May 2018
THE Philippines is seen as more engaged in blockchain technology than Western countries, an Australian commerce group said on Tuesday, a month before a Chinese-organized international blockchain summit and exhibition are to be held in Manila. On the sidelines of the Australian Innovation Summit in Makati City, Ronald Tucker, founder and president of the Australian Digital Commerce Association, told reporters that the country was more open to the technology.

PHL to retool workers to counter threat of AI BusinessMirror 23rd May 2018
The government will recalibrate the country’s work force in the business-process outsourcing (BPO) sector to turn the threat posed by the entry of artificial intelligence (AI) into an opportunity for employment generation. In a news briefing on Wednesday, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez admitted the introduction of AI into BPOs is a threat to laborers employed in the multimillion-dollar sector. 

PH Customs engages Webb Fontaine to improve electronic-to-mobile system Asia Customs & Trade 27th May 2018
The Philippines’ Bureau of Customs (BOC) Management Information System and Technology Group (MISTG) is implementing projects and measures to enhance the performance of the bureau’s electronic-to-mobile (e2m) system over the next five years. MISTG deputy commissioner Noel Patrick Prudente, in a Lower House Committee on Ways and Means hearing on May 21, said BOC has tapped Dubai-based customs solutions provider Webb Fontaine to do maintenance and upgrade works on the e2m.

Singapore

All of Singapore’s government services will go digital by 2023 South China Morning Post 5th Jun 2018
By 2023, Singapore’s citizens and businesses will be able to access all Government services anytime, anywhere on an Internet-enabled device. Citizens will also be able complete 90 to 95 per cent of transactions entirely on government websites.

Singapore authority to help local businesses mitigate tech security threats Channel Asia Singapore 30th May 2018
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore has launched a new initiative to help mitigate security threats faced by the ICT sector. IMDA announced this week the launch of GoSecure, an initiative to help bolster Singapore’s efforts to improve the cyber security capabilities of local ICT companies, while also improving product security posture.

Tech sector clouded by trade worries The Edge Singapore 25th May 2018
The tech manufacturing services sector could take a hit if a US-China trade war breaks out, especially when there are signs of a slowdown in the semiconductor industry. CGS-CIMB Securities therefore advises investors to aim for range-bound trading opportunities instead of chasing tech share prices.

Singapore CFOs: Positive on the Economy, Worried About Technology Disruption CFO innovation 23rd May 2018
Nine out of ten CFOs from Singapore surveyed in a study commissioned by credit card company American Express study expect the local economy to grow this year, up from 80% in 2017, 60% in 2016 and 82% in 2010. Despite the optimism, one in three of the 30 Singapore finance leaders interviewed acknowledge that next-generation technology innovations are likely to bring major disruption to the competitive dynamics of their industry (33% versus a global average of 23% of 870 CFOs interviewed worldwide) and the economic well-being of their country (30% versus a global average of 21%).

Singapore to implement e-invoice framework based on Europe’s PEPPOL Channel NewsAsia 22nd May 2018
Singapore will become the first Asian country to implement an electronic invoicing standard based on a similar process used in Europe. The Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) will be implementing the Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line, or PEPPOL, which will allow businesses to speed up transactions, lower operating costs and minimise errors. Announced at this year’s Budget, further details of the system were announced by Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran at the inaugural Singapore Digital (SG:D) Industry Day held at the Suntec City Convention Centre on Monday (May 21). IMDA will be working with government agencies, trade associations and chambers such as Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Business Federation to implement the e-invoicing standard, and collectively drive adoption of a common framework for businesses. The push for e-invoicing is part of efforts to help companies go digital but recognising that this can be daunting, authorities say they are ramping up measures to help them.

Common parcel locker system to be piloted in Bukit Panjang, Punggol in October Channel NewsAsia 21st May 2018
A one-year nationwide common parcel locker system will be piloted in Bukit Panjang and Punggol in October, in a move that will allow residents at these two estates to pick up their packages from multiple collection points around-the-clock. The lockers will be located within 250m of HDB residential blocks, the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced on Monday (May 21). Bukit Panjang will have 23 locker sites, which will be run by logistics provider Blu Logistics. Punggol will have 39 locker sites, run by Singapore Post. The locker stations will also be available at eight MRT stations: Bukit Panjang, Chinese Garden, Lakeside, Boon Lay, Punggol, Sengkang, Buangkok and Hougang. The locker stations will be available around-the-clock, and customers will require certain information, such as a Collection PIN sent via SMS, in order to access their parcels. Fifteen major logistics industry players, online merchants and marketplaces have signed a Memorandum of Intent with IMDA to use the common parcel system. These include NTUC Fairprice, Ninja Logistics and Lazada Express (Singapore).

Singapore requires “geofencing” for all bike-sharing firms in the city South China Morning Post 4th Jun 2018
Singapore has directed all dockless bike-sharing service providers in the city state to modify their mobile apps and adopt “geofencing”, a system designed to address the problem of illegally parked and misplaced bicycles. Regulator the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has made geofencing a mandatory feature for bike-sharing services by the end of this year, while also requiring providers to apply for a licence before July 7 to continue operations in the city, according to a report by Chinese language Singaporean newspaper Lianhe Zaobao.

Singapore Has Fintech Dreams, But It's Short on Tech Talent Bloomberg.com 29th May 2018
Singapore’s goal of becoming a high-tech financial hub is running into real-world problems of labor supply and demand. Technology startups in many countries are fighting to attract skilled workers like software engineers. Yet in the tiny city-state of Singapore, with a population of 5.6 million, the dearth of talent is particularly acute. The nation’s universities and polytechnic schools churn out what the government estimates are 400 graduates a year with the right qualifications, well short of plans to add 1,000 financial tech jobs annually, according to the Singapore Fintech Association.

Amount equal to six per cent of Singapore’s GDP could have been lost through cyber attacks South China Morning Post 21st May 2018
According to a study which Microsoft commissioned Frost & Sullivan, it found that cyber attacks on companies in Singapore last year could potentially amount to a staggering US$17.7 billion (S$23.8 billion) in economic damage. That figure would account for six per cent of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Thailand

Acing the logistics of e-commerce Bangkok Post 4th Jun 2018
Increasing e-commerce transactions driven by rapidly changing consumer behaviour combined with the entry of giant e-commerce platforms through local partnerships has intensified competition among logistics and parcel delivery services, challenging existing players in the domestic market. Booming e-commerce has also attracted an influx of courier applications and international parcel delivery service providers to tap into the flush local market.

Thailand is new dumping ground for world's high-tech trash, police say The Straits Times 30th May 2018
Thailand is a new dumping ground for scrap electronics from around the world, say police and environmentalists, the latest country to feel the impact of China's crackdown on imports of high-tech trash. Police at Laem Chabang port, south of Bangkok, showed on Tuesday (May 29) seven shipping containers each packed with about 22 tonnes of discarded electronics, including crushed game consoles, computer boards and bags of scrap materials.

Thai Gov’t monitoring online information Pattaya Mail 27th May 2018
Security agencies are monitoring false, distorted, and fabricated reports online in a bid to maintain national security. Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan has instructed responsible units to monitor online information and bring those who spread false information deemed a threat to national security to justice.

Police and NBTC join in committee to combat illegal use of VoIP Pattaya Mail 25th May 2018
The Royal Thai Police Office is working with the National Broadcast and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to take aggressive action against companies offering illegal Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, which are utilized by telephone scammers. Tourist Police have coordinated with the NBTC’s telecommunications administration office to create a joint committee for inspection of VoIP providers that utilize signals managed by TOT, CAT Telecom, True, AIS and DTAC after finding the service is being used for confidence trick schemes.

EcommerceIQ looks into hiring and keeping talent Bangkok Post 24th May 2018
Digital marketing, senior management and tech are the three departments that struggle the most to find quality talent, according to the Talent Challenge Community Survey in Southeast Asia by EcommerceIQ, a regional market research portal. The survey found that every regional tech company interviewed cited difficulties finding, recruiting and retaining top talent when asked about major challenges.

Regtech to get push of data privacy compliance Bangkok Post 22nd May 2018
New compliance regulations concerning digital disruption and data privacy protection are driving opportunities for a new type of startup -- regulatory technology (regtech) -- in Thailand. "Regtech is a combination of technology and regulations to address regulatory challenges," said Athistha Chitranukroh, a partner at Tilleke & Gibbins.

Startups get a boost with new official website Bangkok Post 21st May 2018
The National Innovation Agency (NIA) has launched "startupthailand.org", a revamped version of its former website aimed at becoming a hub for Thai startups and fostering growth in the Thai startup ecosystem. The site is an ecosystem database that allows businesses from the Thai startup community to register and receive accreditation from the Ministry of Science and Technology's Startup Thailand scheme. It will enable them to gain access to various privileges from the government such as tax exemptions and funding.

Vietnam

National Assembly debates internet security law vietnamnews.vn 30th May 2018
National Assembly (NA) deputies have raised concerns that the draft law on internet security will prevent Vietnamese citizens and companies from accessing information on the web. The draft law insists that foreign service providers, including giant internet service companies like Google, Youtube and Facebook, must store Vietnamese customers’ information on local servers instead of on servers located overseas, as currently practised.

IT Outsourcing Hotspot: Vietnam, A Small But Mighty Powerhouse Forbes 29th May 2018
India reigned for years as the world’s most dominant business process outsourcing (BPO) destination, but times have changed. According to trade association Nasscom, the Indian BPO industry has just seen its largest employment drop in seven years, while its information technology (IT) sector saw its second year of increasing unemployment. As India adjusts to changing expectations and demand, new regions are emerging as powerful IT outsourcing hubs. One such country, known as a small but mighty outsourcing powerhouse in the Asia-Pacific, is Vietnam. It’s a country few would think to equate with Silicon Valley but one with a tech spirit and talented population that reminds many of the industrious beginnings of America’s storied technology epicenter.

Vietnam Blockchain Summit to run in June Vietnamnet 28th May 2018
A press conference took place in Hanoi on May 28 to introduce the Vietnam Blockchain Summit, themed “from technology to policy”, which was slated for June 8. Nguyen Huu Tuan from the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s department of e-commerce and digital economy said alongside automation, artificial intelligence, and Internet of Things, blockchain technology will contribute significantly to the building of a digital economy and the 4.0 industrial revolution.

U.S. raises concerns about Vietnam's proposed cybersecurity law Reuters 24th May 2018
HANOI (Reuters) - The United States has raised concerns with Vietnam about its proposed cybersecurity law, the U.S. Embassy said on Thursday, amid activists’ fears the new legislation will cause economic harm and crackdown on online dissent in the communist-ruled country. The concerns were conveyed by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish in a meeting with Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue.

ICT improvements needed Vietnamnet 21st May 2018
The human resources training quality for information, communications and technology (ICT) needs to be improved quickly amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution, said Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Phan Tam. IT experts at BKAV. Viet Nam will need some 400,000 people in the IT sector during 2016-20.

VN Internet users to have code of conduct - News VietNamNet Vietnamnet 21st May 2018
The Ministry of Information and Communications plans to build a code of conduct for internet users to create a healthy networking atmosphere in the country. Speaking at a conference on Friday’s morning, Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan said the number of internet users in Vietnam had boomed in recent years. Currently, there are some 55 million internet users in the country, accounting for 57 per cent of the population. Of this, 50 million access the internet via mobile phones.

Policy stability and transparency needed in SEZ law Saigon Times 22nd May 2018
HCMC – A law on special economic zones (SEZs) should be built in a way that ensures the stability and transparency of policies and creates a healthy environment for local and foreign investors, according to information at a conference in Hanoi on May 18. SEZs will help attract foreign direct investment, intellects, new technologies and modern management know-how, and promote trade and international integration.

Fintech and Foreign Banks Growing Fast in Vietnam finews.asia 22nd May 2018
Vietnam currently lags behind other Southeast Asian countries when it comes to financial inclusion. Can foreign players and fintech solutions fill the gap? In Vietnam financial technology is increasing bank penetration, promoting financial services and offering the large unbanked population access to payment solutions. With a population of almost 93 million and a surging middle class, foreign banks are also keen to penetrate the market.