ICT Update: August 2, 2018

ICT Update | August 2, 2018
Authors: Matt Solomon, Shay Wester, Kim Yaeger, Ella Duangkaew, Ryan DelGaudio, Mianmian Fei, Samantha Pryor
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

August 20-21, 2018: Singapore Business Mission: The US-ASEAN Business Council is registering senior-level executives for its annual Business Mission to Singapore on August 20-21, 2018. Participants should plan to arrive in Singapore by Sunday afternoon, August 19. There will be an organizational meeting and briefing before the start of the mission. The mission will end by the evening of Tuesday, August 21. The deadline for receipt of registration and mission materials is COB Monday, August 6, 2018. We will hold at least two pre-mission conference calls before the start of the mission. More information on these calls will be sent out at a later date.

August 23-24, 2018: Laos Business Mission: The Council is now registering senior executives for its 2018 Business Mission to Laos. Click here to register, the deadline for registration is August 9. The Mission will focus on building upon the momentum following Secretary Ross's September visit to Laos, the first visit of a US Commerce Secretary to Laos. Mission themes will focus on supporting policy and capacity development in Laos, particularly for digital and financial services policy frameworks. Meetings with with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Planning and Investment, and Ministry of Post and Telecommunications are confirmed, and all others are being confirmed. Please contact Ella Duangkaew at eduangkaew@usasean.org with any questions.

August 30-31, 2018: AEM Business MissionThe Council is now registering executives for its 2018 Mission to the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Meeting, taking place from Thursday, August 30 to Saturday, September 1 in Singapore. The AEM Mission will be built around our annual engagement alongside USTR with the 10 ASEAN Economic Ministers, scheduled to take place the morning of Saturday, September 1. Please contact Matt Solomon at msolomon@usasean.org with any questions.

THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Philippines Adopts New Paradigm to Select Third Major Telco

In its effort to find a third major telecommunications player to counter PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom, the Philippines has resolved to adopt a new paradigm that awards the third telco spot to the company with the highest committed level of service (HCLoS). The new major telco will utilize spare optical fiber to expand and modernize telecommunications infrastructure under the National Broadband Plan (click here to access the National Broadband Plan).

Controversy has surrounded the government oversight committee’s decision to adopt the HCLoS plan, which requires the new telco to adopt minimum annual standards of thirty percent coverage of the population, an internet speed of 5 Megabits per second, and a minimum investment of P40 billion over a five-year period. The committee, led by the heads of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Department of Finance, was deciding between the HCLoS model versus a proposed spectrum auction to determine the next major telco. Championing his department’s HCLoS plan, Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. of the DICT threatened to resign from the government if the oversight committee chose to hold the Department of Finance’s proposed auction. In his compromise with the Department of Finance after the adoption of the HCLoS model, Acting Secretary Rio decided that spectrum user fees should be increased to offset the potential revenue lost from an auction with a minimum starting bid of P6 billion.

The forward-looking HCLoS plan, which was developed in part with industry stakeholders, will likely prove beneficial for the Philippines and its ICT infrastructure. Currently, the Philippines telecommunications market faces a lack of interest due to the relatively lower number of cell phone towers (click here to read our update concerning the DICT’s initial selection criteria for its third telco). The DICT’s plan aims to address concerns not only with investment in infrastructure, but also with quality of service. Although the DICT aims to name a third major telco before 2019, the Philippines has not released a formal timeline for the selection process. Transparency and predictability in the selection process will be critical for the Philippines to select a telco that can help the country realize its vision for a more competitive and effective ICT ecosystem.

Cyberattack on SingHealth is Largest and Most Serious in Singapore to Date

On July 20, Minister for Health Gan Kim and Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran announced that between June 27 and July 4 hackers carried out the largest and most serious cyberattack against Singapore to date, targeting SingHealth, the city-state’s largest healthcare group. Over the course of the week, the hackers stole the non-medical personal data of 1.5 million people and the outpatient dispensed medicines records of 160,000 people. Those affected by the hack include people who visited SingHealth’s outlets from May 1, 2015, to July 4, 2018. According to the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), the hackers specifically and repeatedly targeted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s records. Even though the incident points to the challenges that arise in protecting privacy and personal information in digitally-enabled and connected public systems, the Government of Singapore has said that it will continue to push forward with its Smart Nation initiative.

The government of Singapore responded promptly following the cyberattack. With the help of the Cyber Security Agency (CSA), the Integrated Health Information System (IHiS)--the technology agency for the public healthcare sector--imposed a temporary Internet Surfing Separation (ISS) on SingHealth’s 28,000 work computers the same day of the announcement. The two other public healthcare clusters, National Healthcare Group (NHG) and National University Health System (NUHS), followed suit on July 23. On July 24, Minister Iswaran convened a Committee of Inquiry (COI) to determine the events and contributory factors leading up to the cyberattack. The COI is expected to submit its investigation report by the end of this year. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) also released a press release on the same day, instructing all financial institutions to tighten their customer verification processes, as the personal information stolen, including names, NRIC number, address, gender, race and date of birth, may be used by fraudsters to perform unauthorized financial transactions. Given the growing threat of cyberattacks targeting governments and businesses in Southeast Asia and Singapore’s position as a leader on cyber issues in the region, how the Government responds to the SingHealth data breach, including potentially putting new policies in place to protect against a future cyberattack, could inform how other ASEAN governments respond to similar cyberthreats.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Names Telco Executive as New Minister of Information and Communications
On July 23, President Tran Dai Quang suspended Truong Minh Tuan from his position as the Minister of Information and Communications (MIC). Minister Tuan was found guilty of directing the implementation of a government-funded project to purchase 95 percent of private TV firm AVG Audiovisual JVG through the state's MobiFone Telecommunications Corporation. Following the reveal of his actions, Minister Tuan was relieved from his responsibilities within the MIC. Minister Tuan was also forced to resign as the Secretary of the Party Committee of the Ministry of Information and Communications for the 2016-2021 term. The Politburo said he must be held accountable for violating principles of democratic centralism and working regulations.
Two days after the Politburo suspended Minister Tuan, Prime Minister Phuc signed a decision that appointed CEO of the military-owned telecom firm Viettel, Nguyen Manh Hung, to lead MIC. Beginning his role on July 25, Minister Hung is said to have played a fundamental role in the rise of Viettel to becoming Vietnam's largest telecommunications service provider. Since assuming leadership in 2014, Viettel's revenue has risen to VND249.5 trillion (US$11.1 million) and is angled to become one of the top ten global telecommunications providers within the next two years.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 

Regional Affairs
Trump's Tariffs Push Electronics From China to Southeast Asia

Brunei
Brunei makes big leap in Global Innovation Index

Cambodia
Gov’t ‘50-50 with telecoms on rural mobile stations’

Indonesia
Government builds high-speed Internet infrastructure
In Indonesia, extremists finding low-tech ways to get around high-tech blocks: Think tank
Telkom to launch Merah Putih satellite next month 
The rise of Indonesia’s tech startup scene
Technology key to developing smart cities in Indonesia

Malaysia
Malaysia legally well-equipped to address internet abuse issues
No ceasefire in Malaysia’s mobile wars
Malaysia's biggest online sale event, #MYCYBERSALE enters its fifth year
Weaving a web of cyber experts
Respect privacy and no to monitoring of internet usage or activity in Malaysia, say ASEAN NGOs
ICT training program seeks to bridge the gap of digital competency

Myanmar
Workshop explores whether technology can make Myanmar cities more livable
Telenor plans digital tech course for 100,000 students
Facebook Unveils New Strategy to Remove Hate Speech, Fake News

Philippines
Young population, ICT spur growth of PHL’s gig economy
Experts, Koko weigh in on 3rd telco search after Duterte’s pitch
Third telco likely to enter market by mid-2019: Rio
DICT passes major hurdle in search for third telco
BSP forms fintech unit | BusinessWorld

Singapore
70,000 members' data stolen, but Sias unaware for 5 years
Pilot for data protection certification scheme launched
Apple Singapore looking into fraudulent iTunes charges, dozens of cases reported
SingHealth warns of fake SMSes capitalising on news of recent cyberattack
SingHealth hack 'worrying' for Singapore but govt response lauded
Singapore health system hit by ‘most serious breach of personal data’ in cyberattack; PM Lee's data targeted
Business leaders must have deeper understanding of emerging technologies for digital transformation 
‘World’s First’ Trade Blockchain Launches in Singapore to Link China and ASEAN Nations

Thailand
Thai internet use booms: study
Digital asset licences at hand
E-commerce on track to reach B3.06tn
Cyberport scheme taking shape
Dozens of foreign firms forecast to get on VAT train

Vietnam
Vietnam to focus on developing modern IT system: Deputy PM
Hà Nội promotes modernisation of warehouse management in customs process
Minister of Information and Communications suspended
VNCERT warns of malicious code targeting banks and Gov’t offices
Digital transformation imperative for industry 4.0
Vietnam says controversial cybersecurity law aims to protect online rights
Vietnam go for e-government with vision

 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Trump's Tariffs Push Electronics From China to Southeast Asia Bloomberg 1st Aug 2018
Electronics makers are preparing to shift more production to Southeast Asia as trade tensions with the U.S. make it less appealing to manufacture gadgets in China. A number of Taiwanese firms that form a crucial plank of the global supply chain have in recent days signaled their intention to diversify away from the world’s No. 2 economy.

Brunei

Brunei makes big leap in Global Innovation Index Borneo Bulletin 1st Aug 2018
BRUNEI Darussalam has registered a massive improvement in the Ease of Getting Credit indices under the Market Sophistication Indicator in the latest Global Innovation Index (GII) 2018, leaping from 55th place last year to second place globally this year.

Cambodia

Gov’t ‘50-50 with telecoms on rural mobile stations’ Phnom Penh Post 24th Jul 2018
The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications has begun using budget allocations from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) to build telecom infrastructure in remote areas of Cambodia where operators are less willing to expand, a USOF official has said.

Indonesia

Government builds high-speed Internet infrastructure Antara News 26th Jul 2018
The government is building high-speed internet infrastructure, targeting all districts across Indonesia, according to Communication and Informatics Minister Rudiantara. "With the Palapa Ring program, in 2019, all districts and cities in Indonesia must be connected to a high-speed internet network," the minister stated during the National Children`s Day Seminar 2018 at the Adhyana Auditorium, Wisma Antara, here on Thursday.

In Indonesia, extremists finding low-tech ways to get around high-tech blocks: Think tank Channel NewsAsia 1st Aug 2018
Indonesia’s cooperation with social media giants to remove extremist content is improving, but the extremists appear to be finding low-tech ways around blocks, according to a new report from the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC), released on Friday (Jul 27).

Telkom to launch Merah Putih satellite next month  The Jakarta Post 27th Jul 2018
State-owned telecommunications company PT Telkom Indonesia (Telkom) is set to launch its Merah Putih satellite on Aug. 4 in the United States.

The rise of Indonesia’s tech startup scene The ASEAN Post 25th Jul 2018
Indonesia’s strong economic growth in recent years has led to a flourishing digital economy. Over the past decade, Indonesia’s economy has been steadily growing at an annual growth rate of at least five percent and is forecasted to become the fourth largest economy in the world by 2050 if this trend continues. Along with economic growth comes a growing, tech-savvy middle class.

Technology key to developing smart cities in Indonesia VietnamPlus 19th Jul 2018
As information and communications technology (ICT) is revolutionising the way society functions, another significant transformation that ICT is capable of bringing in is the establishment of smart cities.

Malaysia

Malaysia legally well-equipped to address internet abuse issues The Edge Markets 1st Aug 2018
Malaysia has a broad legal system to address the negative issues arising from the increase in Internet usage in the country, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind  Singh Deo said today. He said that besides the regulations under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), which handled various Internet abuse complaints, the other laws included the Penal Code which had detailed sections to address the matter.

No ceasefire in Malaysia’s mobile wars BorneoPost Online 25th Jul 2018
AmInvestment Bank Bhd (AmInvestment Bank) believes there is no ceasefire amongst mobile ooperators in Malaysia after the new government has taken the helm, coming from a positive meeting with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) last week.

Malaysia's biggest online sale event, #MYCYBERSALE enters its fifth year New Straits Times 24th Jul 2018
Online sale event, #MYCYBERSALE is entering its fifth instalment this year with the theme 'Driving growth though omni channel commerce'. Slotted to be held from September 3 to 7, 2018, the sale has a targeted gross merchandise value (GMV) of RM370 million and export revenue of RM50 million.

Weaving a web of cyber experts Yuen Meikeng 22nd Jul 2018
IT is the most profitable crime in Malaysia. Cybercrimes – already a rising trend – are also expected to be more advanced, evolving with technology and exploiting our dependence on the Internet.

Respect privacy and no to monitoring of internet usage or activity in Malaysia, say ASEAN NGOs The Online Citizen 20th Jul 2018
We, the undersigned organisations and groups, are most concern that the fact that all in Malaysians maybe under constant internet surveillance, which would be an invasion of the right to privacy, all on the basis of action by the government to curb child pornography.

ICT training program seeks to bridge the gap of digital competency Networks Asia 1st Aug 2018
Huawei has launched the iTalent@Digital Solution for National Information Communications Technology (ICT) Talent Development to prepare the workforce for the digital age. Witnessed by Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak (Centex) Malaysia, the state government of Sarawak Malaysia and other guests, Huawei provides insights on ICT talent supply and demand, national ICT competency standard and curriculum design and development to assure the talent pool build up.

Myanmar

Workshop explores whether technology can make Myanmar cities more livable Mizzima 28th Jul 2018
Development affairs officials from 14 states and regions this week shared examples of innovative reforms at a forum in Mandalay that aim to make Myanmar’s cities more liveable.

Telenor plans digital tech course for 100,000 students The Myanmar Times 26th Jul 2018
“In the next year, we plan to expand this project and we expect to train about 100,000 students,” he said at a ceremony marking the end of Telenor Myanmar’s summer technology and internet courses in Nay Pyi Taw on Saturday.  Telenor Myanmar has provided information and communication technology training to about 25,000 middle school and high school students throughout the nation.

Facebook Unveils New Strategy to Remove Hate Speech, Fake News The Irrawaddy 20th Jul 2018
YANGON — Facebook is preparing to roll out a new strategy to take down fake content that could incite violence in Myanmar, a company spokesperson said on Wednesday. Under the new policy, the company will work with local civil society groups to identify misinformation, and when a post is found to include false claims that could provoke unrest, it will be removed from the social media platform.

Philippines

Young population, ICT spur growth of PHL’s gig economy BusinessMirror 1st Aug 2018
FOOT traffic was already ankle deep when Elias Amurao (not his real name) stopped at an intersection on the way to the train station one rainy Friday evening. He sighed, walked as the crowd did and braced himself for the ride home for an hour inside a cramped train and a jeepney ride. He settled with the thought it would only be school work until Tuesday. Amurao’s a freelancer, one of nearly a million young Filipinos who walk into the cauldron of the labor force every year. Majority of them are under 30. And, as freelancers, most of them form what is called the “gig economy.”

Experts, Koko weigh in on 3rd telco search after Duterte’s pitch BusinessMirror 24th Jul 2018
WHILE the selection process for the third telco has made significant strides over the weekend, experts are now advocating for a tweaking of the draft terms of reference (TOR) to help facilitate a smoother entry of a new player in the market. This, as Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, citing President Duterte’s push for a third telco in his third State of the Nation Address (Sona), prodded government regulators Tuesday to “fast-track the entry of a third telco player.”

Third telco likely to enter market by mid-2019: Rio BusinessMirror 23rd Jul 2018
IT may take a year before the future third telco player could start offering its services to consumers, and start its unwritten mandate of breaking down the duopoly, as the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) aims to start the ball rolling for the official selection process this week. Eliseo M. Rio Jr., the chief of the agency, said his group sees the third telco coming in the market by the middle of 2019, as hurdles on the selection process are consistently being addressed, starting with the official adoption of a draft terms of reference (TOR) which favors the highest committed level of service. Officials decided on adopting the HCLoS as term of reference before the weekend. Rio said one of the major issues raised during the meetings of the oversight committee for the selection process has already been addressed—the concern on frequency spectrum formerly awarded to Bayan Telecommunications Inc.

DICT passes major hurdle in search for third telco Inquirer.net 21st Jul 2018
In choosing a new major telco player, the government oversight committee resolved on Friday to drop a proposed spectrum auction and adopt a set of rules that will reward participants seeking to give the highest committed level of service (HCLoS). The decision, seen as a win for the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)-backed HCLoS model, breaks an impasse that has delayed the release of the final rules for the selection of a challenger to the PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom duopoly. Eliseo Rio Jr., DICT acting secretary, said in an interview on Friday that the HCLoS model will be used, but with certain conditions. “The auction is no more,” said Rio, who days before threatened to resign outright should the oversight committee vote in favor of an auction, which was being championed by the Department of Finance (DOF). Asked whether he would still resign, Rio said “not yet.”

BSP forms fintech unit | BusinessWorld Business World 31st Jul 2018
THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) has formed a new unit to oversee financial technology (fintech) companies, as the regulator keeps up with increased digital payments. BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. said the central bank last month established the new unit alongside another office for cybersecurity under the Financial Supervision Sector. Mr. Espenilla said during a conference on payments and settlements on Friday that the Financial Technology Sub-Sector (FTSS) will “conduct the effective oversight of fintech and other innovative alternatives.” Vicente T. De Villa III, officer-in-charge of the FTSS, said the unit was formed last month. It will handle two offices: the Payments and Settlements Oversight Department and the Core Information Technology Specialist Group. “We are still overseeing banks, but banks and technology nowadays have to come hand-in-hand… There’s an outsourcing that takes place and we have to make sure that these outsourcing services are governed by our rules and regulations,” Mr. De Villa told reporters.

Singapore

70,000 members' data stolen, but Sias unaware for 5 years The Business Times 26th Jul 2018
HACKERS stole the personal data of 70,000 members of the Securities Investors Association of Singapore (Sias) in 2013 - yet for five years, the investor advocate had no clue about the breach. Sias was informed of the attack only on Wednesday morning when the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) paid it an unexpected visit. CSA - formed in 2015 and involved in the probe into the massive hacking of SingHealth - informed the association that the names, NRIC and telephone numbers of about 70,000 of its members have been stolen and leaked, sometime back in 2013.

Pilot for data protection certification scheme launched The Straits Times 25th Jul 2018
An open call for companies to join a pilot for data protection certification was launched on Wednesday (July 25) by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC). The Data Protection Trustmark (DPTM) certification was announced in 2017, as part of several initiatives to ensure that the data protection ecosystem in Singapore stays up to date. The certification will be officially rolled out by the end of 2018, after IMDA and PDPC finalise its process and framework following the pilot programme.

Apple Singapore looking into fraudulent iTunes charges, dozens of cases reported Channel NewsAsia 23rd Jul 2018
Dozens of Apple customers have had hundreds of dollars each drained from their bank accounts, after being billed for purchases they did not make on their iTunes accounts. The victims that Channel NewsAsia spoke to said the charges were deducted from their accounts at DBS and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC).

SingHealth warns of fake SMSes capitalising on news of recent cyberattack TODAYonline 23rd Jul 2018
SingHealth has warned of the emergence of fake SMSes tricking people into thinking that their phone number, financial information, and medical records had been compromised, hours after news first emerged on Friday (July 20) that the healthcare group had suffered an unprecedented cyberattack.

SingHealth hack 'worrying' for Singapore but govt response lauded The Business Times 21st Jul 2018
CYBERSECURITY experts praised the government's swift response to the cyberattack on SingHealth, but noted that it is "worrying" for Singapore's Smart Nation drive and industries that rely heavily on public confidence. In what is Singapore's worst cyber attack so far, hackers infiltrated the computers of SingHealth and stole the personal particulars of 1.5 million patients. Of these, 160,000 people, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and a few ministers, had their outpatient prescriptions stolen as well. SingHealth is Singapore's largest group of healthcare institutions with four hospitals, five national speciality centres and eight polyclinics. At a multi-ministry press conference on Friday, the authorities said PM Lee's information was "specifically and repeatedly targeted".

Singapore health system hit by ‘most serious breach of personal data’ in cyberattack; PM Lee's data targeted Channel NewsAsia 20th Jul 2018
The "most serious breach of personal data” in Singapore’s history took place last month, with 1.5 million SingHealth patients’ records accessed and copied while 160,000 of those had their outpatient dispensed medicines’ records taken, according to the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Communications and Information. Among those affected was Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, with the attackers “specifically and repeatedly targeting” his personal particulars and information of his outpatient dispensed medicines, the ministries said in a joint release on Friday (Jul 20). Several other ministers were also affected, including Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. The personal data taken from the 1.5 million patients include their names, NRIC numbers, address, gender, race and date of birth, the release said, adding that the hackers did not amend or delete the records. Patients’ medical records, including past diagnosis, doctors’ notes and health scans, were not affected.

Business leaders must have deeper understanding of emerging technologies for digital transformation Techgoondu 19th Jul 2018
Businesses must be ready to accept change in the face of technology disruption. Such a cliched sentence that has been uttered endlessly in the past few years.

‘World’s First’ Trade Blockchain Launches in Singapore to Link China and ASEAN Nations CCN 19th Jul 2018
A Singapore-based e-government service provider – notably owned by a government body and a port operator – has launched a blockchain platform focused on cross-border trade between ASEAN nations and China. Singapore-based CrimsonLogic, an e-government solutions provider with a presence in over 20 countries, announced [PDF] details of its ‘inclusive and extensible blockchain service’ that the company says will will ‘boost overall efficiency, security and transparency’ for global trade.

Thailand

Thai internet use booms: study Thai Tech 26th Jul 2018
The Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) said Thais use the internet for an average of 10 hours per day, increasing from 3 hours and 40 minutes last year. This was a result of increasingly digital lifestyles, said ETDA chief executive officer Surangkana Wayuparb.

Digital asset licences at hand Bangkok Post 25th Jul 2018
The Finance Ministry's announcement on approving digital asset licensing took effect Tuesday, and interested parties can apply for licences from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Existing businesses that already operate a digital asset business or newcomers interested in obtaining licences as brokerage firms, traders or trading centres for digital assets can apply for official licences at the SEC. "The SEC is [now] open for application approval for operating a digital asset business, as the Finance Ministry's announcement on digital asset licences has come into force," said SEC secretary-general Rapee Sucharitakul.

E-commerce on track to reach B3.06tn Bangkok Post 25th Jul 2018
The value of Thailand's e-commerce market is expected to reach 3.06 trillion baht this year, up 8.5% from last year, driven by the continuous growth of social commerce. According to the latest report of the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA), the market value of business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce in Thailand ranked the highest in Southeast Asia at US$23.33 billion (778.3 billion baht) in 2017.

Cyberport scheme taking shape Bangkok Post 24th Jul 2018
The government will conclude the main details of Thailand Cyberport development in the next two months before getting the project off the ground by year-end to create a national digital community and one-stop facilitator for startups and entrepreneurs. The announcement comes after the digital economy and society (DE) minister and his team met the chairman of Hong Kong Cyberport Management Co last week. The two parties agreed to drive development of Thailand Cyberport. Hong Kong Cyberport is a digital community whose management company is wholly owned by the Hong Kong government.

Dozens of foreign firms forecast to get on VAT train Bangkok Post 19th Jul 2018
The Revenue Department anticipates that 80-100 large foreign-based digital platform operators that render services to Thai consumers will sign up as value-added tax (VAT) registrants in Thailand after the e-business tax comes into force. These foreign e-business operators, dominating 80-90% of Thailand's e-business service value, will be willing to register for VAT payment to avoid tarnishing their corporate governance image, said Patricia Mongkhonvanit, principal adviser on strategic tax administration at the Revenue Department. The cabinet on Tuesday approved an amended Revenue Code related to VAT collection on e-business operators with a physical presence outside of Thailand but earning income here.

Vietnam

Vietnam to focus on developing modern IT system: Deputy PM Nhan Dan 25th Jul 2018
Dam made his statement at a reception for visiting General Secretary of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Zhao Houlin in Hanoi on July 24. The ITU is the United Nations’ specialised agency for information and communication technologies. At the meeting, the Deputy PM praised the ITU’s role in the global telecommunication growth, saying its support has become increasingly important to member countries, particularly in terms of forming policy and strategies, building legal frameworks, and boosting residents’ digital capacity. Vietnam supports Zhao Houlin to run for his re-election as General Secretary of the ITU, he added.

Hà Nội promotes modernisation of warehouse management in customs process vietnamnews.vn 25th Jul 2018
The Customs Department of Hà Nội has been implementing solutions to remove difficulties and promote modern management of warehouse and customs clearance sites. According to the department, 24 out of 31 warehouses managed by the department have not reached requirements on business conditions for tax-exemption goods, warehouses and places of customs clearance, inspection and supervision.

Minister of Information and Communications suspended vietnamnews.vn 23rd Jul 2018
President Trần Đại Quang suspended Trương Minh Tuấn from his position as the Minister of Information and Communications on Monday. Tuấn was suspended due to his wrongdoings in the illegal purchase of private TV firm AVG Audiovisual JSC. The Politburo had imposed disciplinary measures against him under a decision dated July 16.

VNCERT warns of malicious code targeting banks and Gov’t offices vietnamnews.vn 23rd Jul 2018
The Vietnam Computer Emergency Response Team (VNCERT) has issued a warning of attacks by malicious code, which the organisation believe is targeting banks and the country’s vital infrastructure networks. VNCERT said there had been a series of organised attacks targeting a number of banks and the country’s key infrastructures. Hackers were likely to have carefully studied their victims and employed advanced tactics to hijack their systems to steal information.

Digital transformation imperative for industry 4.0 Việt Nam News 23rd Jul 2018
“For five years I went to many countries to study this issue and found that digital transformation was the best way for the company to survive and grow. It helps cut costs and improve efficiency.” The company decided to invest in digital transformation by acquiring advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and using them in raising and processing shrimps. Minh Phu is not the only Vietnamese company to embrace digital transformation in production.

Vietnam says controversial cybersecurity law aims to protect online rights Reuters 19th Jul 2018
Vietnam’s new cybersecurity law is designed to protect online rights and create a “safe and healthy cyberspace,” the foreign ministry said on Thursday, although critics have warned it gives the Communist-ruled state more power to crack down on dissent. Seventeen U.S. lawmakers wrote to the chief executives of Facebook and Google on Wednesday, urging them to resist changes wrought by the new law that require foreign tech firms to store locally personal data on users in Vietnam and open offices there.

Vietnam go for e-government with vision Khmer Times 19th Jul 2018
The Government needs to change itself in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) in order to be able to govern the country in the digital age, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said. Addressing the Vietnam ICT Summit here yesterday, he said Vietnam has recorded marked achievements in e-Government building which began since 2000. He, however, admitted shortcomings in the work such as incomplete legal framework, lack of high-quality human resources, low safety level of the information infrastructure and low rate of public service users.