How tech can help Southeast Asia keep up with surging tourist arrivals Tech in Asia 17th Jan 2019
Last year, popular tourist destinations Maya Bay in Thailand and Boracay in the Philippines were temporarily closed for rehabilitation, as both suffered from the environmental impact caused by a surge in tourist arrivals. In 2017, the Asia-Pacific region logged a 6 percent increase in inbound tourism, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Southeast Asia saw tremendous growth, welcoming over 120 million international visitors and US$130.7 billion worth of tourism receipts. That uptick continued in 2018, with tourist numbers in the region going up by 10 percent in the first quarter, exceeding the international average of 6 percent.
Tech-infused cooperatives rising to compete in digital era The Jakarta Post 17th Jan 2019
Saving and lending cooperatives, locally known as simpan-pinjam, have dominated grassroot-level financing for decades in Indonesia, but they are now tussling with technology as they compete with internet-based lenders. Some of the cooperatives are opening up to new technology by partnering with fintech lenders. For example, Koperasi Syariah Benteng Mikro Indonesia (Kopsyah BMI) in Tangerang, Banten, collaborates with nonprofit crowdfunding platform Kiva since 2014 to increase its capital and thereby issue more loans. The partnership helped more than double the cooperative’s cash account from Rp 17.6 billion (US$1.23 million) in 2014 to Rp 42 billion the following year.
Tax office to issue e-commerce taxation guideline The Jakarta Post 17th Jan 2019
Responding to recent confusion over a finance ministerial regulation on taxation for online transactions, the Director General of Taxation will issue a regulation as a guideline for traders who conduct business using e-commerce platforms. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Wednesday that the director general would ensure that online merchants would not have to provide their tax numbers (NPWPs) or citizenship identity numbers (NIKs). “We would like to convey [to the public] that there is no requirement [for merchants] to submit their NPWP or NIK [on e-commerce platforms]. Further details will be outlined in a regulation,” Sri Mulyani said in Jakarta on Wednesday.
New e-commerce tax won’t burden traders: Govt The Jakarta Post 16th Jan 2019
The government insists that a new regulation on e-commerce will not burden online traders, who are required to report their transactions and tax credentials in a move to improve tax compliance in the country. The regulation was criticized by e-commerce players of the Indonesian E-Commerce Association (IdEA), who claimed it might deter small businesses from trading via online platforms, defeating its intended purpose. They also protested the requirement for online traders to register for a taxpayer number (NPWP) as stipulated in the regulation.
Fintech can improve SME tax compliance: Experts The Jakarta Post 14th Jan 2019
Given that financial technology (fintech) helps ease the tax-payment process, experts agree it can improve tax compliance among the country’s 60 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which often complain about complex paperwork and ever-changing tax regulations. “The easier the administrative work, the higher the willingness to pay,” said Center for Indonesia Taxation Analysis (CITA) executive director Yustinus Prastowo during a discussion on finance and tax in Jakarta recently. Even tax authorities, he said, would benefit from fintech because it would automate their side of data processing as well as providing a platform to inform taxpayers about changing regulations.
E-commerce businesses subject to new tax law in April The Jakarta Post 13th Jan 2019
E-commerce businesses will soon be required to have tax numbers (NPWPs) and report their recapitulation of trade transactions to the Finance Ministry following its newly issued regulation on taxation for online trade transactions. Having been approved by the Law and Human Rights Ministry and signed by Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, the new e-commerce tax regulation will come into effect on April 1. Taxation director general spokesman Hestu Yoga Saksama said the ministry would familiarize the public with the regulation prior to its implementation.
App-facilitated Land Tax Payment Service Launched KPL: Lao News Agency 10th Jan 2019
The Department of Tax has launched a system that ensures land tax payment is bank-based, safe, and fast. “To improve tax payment mechanism and method for convenience, verifiability and ensure the integration of tax revenue information system, the Department of Tax in cooperation with a local IT company andBanque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao (BCEL) has conducted a research on bank-based payment of land taxes using smart phone app. Now, land owners can pay their land taxes using mobile banking application, BCEL One, or services provided by commercial banks,” said Mr Phouthanouphet Xaysomboun, Head of the Department of Tax, Ministry of Finance.
Malaysia's B2B startup Supplycart raises US$2M funding ecInsider 17th Jan 2019
Supplycart has recently raised over USD 2 million in funding from FirstFloor Capital. The tech start-up aims to help Malaysian SMEs by enhancing company culture through a streamlined procurement platform.
Malaysian doctors band together to bust medical myths on social media The Star Online 17th Jan 2019
Back in 2016, Dr Khairul Hafidz Alkhair noticed that there were a lot of half-truths on health spreading widely on social media. On Facebook, he has seen users share unverified health tips or suggest do-it-yourself treatments that are more harmful than good. “I say half-truths because it starts with the correct information but then the reasonings are all wrong. That’s when I decided to jump in and start giving people the right information,” he said. Dr Khairul Hafidz created a personal Twitter account, @khairul_hafidz, so anyone can ask him a general health related question.
MyPay to offer government services under one platform The Star Online 16th Jan 2019
Malaysians will soon be able to access a slew of government services online via a new integrated platform, MyPay.The service works as a one-stop portal for agencies such as the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN), Election Commission, Road Transport Department (JPJ) and six others. MyPay chief executive officer Nick Liew says the service is still in beta and will be launched at the end of this month. It is also targeting to have a payment system that supports online banking, credit cards and e-wallets at launch.
Telcos urged to build more infrastructure in rural areas New Straits Times 13th Jan 2019
Telecommunication companies have been told to build more new infrastructure in rural areas, including fibre optic networks and communication towers to achieve the 98 per cent target covering Malaysia’s populated areas with average broadband speeds of up to 30Mbps by 2023. Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Eddin Syazlee Shith said this also needed the cooperation of all stakeholders including land owners, state governments and local authorities.
Tech boom to bring in a new era in Myanmar The Nation 14th Jan 2019
Mike Than Tun Win, founder and chief executive of BOD Tech Co which runs Flymya travel portal and Get digital services, said the coming tech disruption will be driven mainly by young entrepreneurs. “The government should place more focus on IT education in key universities. A better relation between the public and private sectors is critical,” he said. He stressed the need to open up more sectors to the private sector, so they could play an active role in the nation’s growth. He also encourages adopting more public-private partnerships to accelerate the growth momentum.
High e-commerce potential, but growth stunted, for now The Myanmar Times 6th Jan 2019
On November 11, 2018, online shoppers in Myanmar purchased goods worth US$90,000 on the Internet within the first hour of Alibaba Group’s global 11.11 sale. It was the first time the Chinese e-commerce giant had opened up the annual event to Myanmar, where just 1 percent of the population is exposed to e-commerce. Alibaba knows this and in May last year secured a foothold in Myanmar via the acquisition of Daraz Group, which operates the country’s largest e-commerce platform shop.com.mm.
Digital landscape rapidly changing The Myanmar Times 2nd Jan 2019
Today’s smartphones can now show people what apps they use most frequently, how much time they spend on them and remind them to take a break. Moreover some mobile applications can have different settings for use by adults and children and limit applications and games by age, because many children use their parents’ phones. “Nowadays people spend more and more time on their phones. It can be up four to five hours a day for city people. People in the phone industry can even spend longer than that. This is change from even just a few years ago. Many people, both adults and the young, spend less time outdoors being active. Give a phone to a child and they can spend the whole day on it, and this can be a problem, “ said Johansson Zhang, a senior marketing manager for the Huawei Consumer Business Group.
DA to launch farmer database by March | BusinessWorld Business World 14th Jan 2019
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to launch a database of farmers and fishermen containing information on assistance provided to them, within the current quarter. The project, which will be called National Farmers and Fishermen’s Database (NFFD), will geo-tag the locations of their farms and houses, and will seek to monitor improvements in their livelihood two years after the assistance was provided. “This program is expected to effectively assist the Department of Agriculture (DA) in targeting the real beneficiaries of its programs, especially the Easy Access Credit Program under the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC),” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said in a Facebook post on Monday.
DICT inks agreement with Singaporean tower firm Philstar Global 12th Jan 2019
The country continues to attract telecommunications infrastructure providers amid unsettled issues surrounding the proposed common tower policy. Documents obtained by The STAR showed that the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ISON ECP Tower Singapore Pte. Ltd.
SEC defers issuance of final rules on ICOs Philippine Star 31st Dec 2018
MANILA, Philippines — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is still not ready to issue its final rules on initial coin offerings (ICOs), which it was hoping to release before the end of 2018. This after the different shareholders asked for more time to study the draft ICO rules. ICO is the cryptocurrency equivalent to an initial public offering. It is a fundraiser of sorts wherein a company looking to create a new coin, app or service launches an ICO. The SEC has revised anew the proposed ICO rules, taking into consideration the inputs of the different shareholders. According to the latest draft rules which are awaiting public comments, ICOs must be registered with the SEC 45 days before the pre-sale date.Under the draft rules, the SEC said the tokens issued by the startups or companies conducting the ICO may follow the nature of a security under Section 3.1 of the Securities Regulation Code.
GoJek to start services in Philippines, Singapore, Thailand Philippine Daily Inquirer 30th Dec 2018
MEDAN, North Sumatra — GoJek, formally PT Aplikasi Karya Anak Bangsa, plans to further expand into its target markets in Asean countries next year, continuing the growth of the app-based ride-hailing service that was established eight years ago. Teuku Parvinanda, the head of regional corporate communications of GoJek’s Sumatra chapter, said the company had started implementing its Asean expansion plans last year and it would continue to do so in 2019. “GoJeK has been penetrating the Asean region. It is in Vietnam and will start in Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. GoFood is the largest app-based food delivery service in the world, so hopefully it could give Indonesia more leverage because this product originated in Indonesia,” said Parvinanda.
Labor dep’t study sees IT-BPM as key jobs generator until 2022 Business World 28th Dec 2018
THE labor department said the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) will remain the Philippines’ top job generator until 2022.
23% jump in the Philippines' online hiring in November Monster Employment Index 27th Dec 2018
The Philippines witnessed a 23% year-on-year growth in online recruitment between November 2017 and November 2018, as per the latest Monster Employment Index (MEI). Retail and Healthcare emerged as the industries with the most notable rise in online hiring, with 38% and 33% year-on-year growth, respectively. The only industry in the Philippines to witness a decline in online hiring in November 2018 was Education, with a 5% drop from November 2017. In terms of job roles, all occupations witnessed positive growth, and Purchase/Logistics/Supply Chain professionals were found to be most in-demand with a 46% y-o-y jump.
New facility at Singapore Polytechnic offers live testbed for companies' 5G innovations The Straits Times 17th Jan 2019
The fifth generation of wireless networking technology may not be commercially available here yet, but companies will soon be able to test the 5G innovations they are developing at a facility that was launched Thursday (Jan 17). Located at the Singapore Polytechnic, the 5G Garage will also be the testbed for promising projects by students, including autonomous cars that "know" the perfect route to avoid traffic jams, surveillance drones that can identify intruders using facial recognition and robots that can scale cranes to inspect for damage.
Singapore’s Minister for Health outlines key responses to COI report’s recommendations Healthcare IT News 16th Jan 2019
Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong delivered a ministerial statement on the Committee of Inquiry (COI) report on the SingHealth cyberattack in the Singapore Parliament on January 15 2019. In the statement, he said that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has appointed a Cybersecurity Advisory Committee to conduct a horizontal review of the cybersecurity governance structures and processes across the public healthcare clusters and Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS), the IT agency for the Ministry. He also outlined four key responses to the COI report’s recommendations. The first is enhancing governance and organisational structures as there is a “need for clearer cybersecurity risk ownership and accountability between IHiS and the public healthcare clusters, underpinned by a strong relationship to avoid fragmenting the Ministry’s healthcare IT strategy.”
Report: Singapore could be among best places to hire tech talent The Straits Times 16th Jan 2019
Singapore could become one of the world's top destinations for tech hiring in the coming decade, given its highly educated workforce, proximity to large Asian markets and pro-tech-investment policy stance. A report on Singapore hiring trends released today by jobs website Glassdoor shows that hiring in the tech industry here outpaced that in the finance sector last year, based on job postings on the platform.
Data leaks are serious business and other lessons to learn from SingHealth breach The Straits Times 15th Jan 2019
The heavy fines and penalties meted out to two organisations and some of their staff responsible for Singapore's worst data breach have concluded six months of intense scrutiny of the episode. But the lessons learnt will continue to be felt across all sectors in Singapore.
Singapore and Britain launch new partnership to forge broader, deeper ties The Straits Times 4th Jan 2019
The Singapore-United Kingdom Partnership for the Future was launched by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt during Mr Hunt's two-day official visit, which ends on Saturday (Jan 5). The bilateral relationship "is as broad as it is deep", both ministers said in a joint statement that highlighted their countries' shared belief in free trade and international law, as well as their commitment to the rules-based multilateral system and to peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific. The partnership will see both sides build on existing links and strengthen collaboration, especially in these four areas: the digital economy; sustainable business and innovation; security and defence; and education, culture and youth.
Hackers get invite to find holes in Singapore Govt's digital systems in 2nd bug bounty exercise Channel NewsAsia 21st Dec 2018
A second bug bounty programme targeting five Government systems and websites in Singapore is currently underway, according to a joint release by the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) and Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA). Issued on Friday (Dec 21), both agencies said they will partner local and overseas ethical, or white hat, hackers to search for vulnerabilities in these systems in return for rewards.
Caught in a clash of the titans Bangkok Post 14th Jan 2019
Thais are among the most tech-savvy, social-media-obsessed people on the planet, as seen by how they are constantly on their phones for hours, sharing their lives on apps like Facebook, Line and Instagram. But all this personal data is not staying in Thailand. Instead it goes to data servers in foreign countries such as Singapore and the US, where most social media companies store information from Thailand. This potential problem is only exacerbated by a "tech war" between China and the US, in which both superpowers compete for influence over how the future digital world will operate.
Private, public sectors keen on new app to promote tourism Bangkok Post 11th Jan 2019
Some 49 private and public institutes have entered into an agreement to establish a new social enterprise called Thai Digital Platform Co to provide integrated tourism information about Thailand. Under the plan, a new mobile application, TagThai, pronounced similar to takthai (greetings) in Thai, will be introduced in April. The service is scheduled to be fully operational in June, said Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat. The app will feature information in Thai, English and Chinese.
E-business levy draft bill stuck in limbo Bangkok Post 9th Jan 2019
A draft bill on e-business tax, a levy on foreign-based online platform operators earning income in Thailand, is at risk of not being vetted by lawmakers before the government leaves office. The draft bill is being deliberated by the Council of State, said permanent secretary for finance Prasong Poontaneat. The bill should have been on the National Legislative Assembly's (NLA) agenda before Dec 25, 2018 to be vetted by lawmakers before the general election, he said.
K-Research predicts growth in hard disk drive exports Bangkok Post 9th Jan 2019
Kasikorn Research Center (K-Research) forecasts Thai shipments of hard disk drives (HDDs) to grow by 3.6-7.8% this year, making up 252-262 million pieces. The research house projects export value for the overall HDD segment to increase by 0.9-5% to US$12.6-13.1 billion (404-420 billion baht) in 2019. K-Research said computer HDDs will be a key driver of exports, representing 55% of total HDD exports. There are four categories of HDDs.
NBTC targets digital literacy Bangkok Post 7th Jan 2019
The telecom regulator plans to start a digital literacy programme for the public, spanning 18 months, to mitigate the impact of unemployment from digital disruption and prepare the workforce for 5G wireless broadband adoption in 2020. The move is in collaboration with telecom vendors Huawei Technologies and Ericsson, the three major mobile operators, and Chulalongkorn University. 5G technology infrastructure will bring benefits to vertical industries, but also create disruption to existing workforces and organisational management, said Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).
New copyright protection centre debuts Bangkok Post 19th Dec 2018
A new government centre was launched yesterday to protect parties affected by widespread infringement of intellectual property online, with the goal of stopping offenders' activities over the course of one to three days while waiting for the results of a formal investigation. The centre is being established so that police and other concerned state agencies can take immediate action to stop illegal online activities that are reported to the centre.
Cyberbill to be tabled next week Bangkok Post 19th Dec 2018
The cybersecurity bill, which critics say could give ways for authorities to violate citizens' rights, is expected to be tabled before the cabinet meeting next week. Paiboon Amonpinyokeat, a member of the national cyber preparation committee, said the bill has been redressed to standardise the appeal process with the court. He did not elaborate on the details. The bill, he said, will usher in three main structures -- an administrative unit, a security surveillance panel, chaired by a deputy prime minister in charge of security affairs, as well as a committee dealing with economic measures. "It is likely to be forwarded to the cabinet next week," said Mr Paiboon.
New Regulations for Sale of Life and Non-Life Insurance Products Lexology 10th Jan 2019
The Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) has issued Notifications re: Rules and Procedures for the Issuing and Offering for Sale of Insurance Products by Life and Non-Life Insurance Companies, and the Operations of Insurance Agents and Licensed Brokers (Notifications). The Notifications came into effect on 1 January 2019 and have replaced its previous drafts.
PM asks ministry to enhance Vietnam’s rankings in ICT Vietnam News 16th Jan 2019
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has asked the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) to increase Việt Nam’s rankings in information and communication technology (ICT). The Government leader made the request while addressing a conference organised by the MIC in Hà Nội on Tuesday to allocate tasks for 2019. The PM recognised the significant contributions of the ICT industry to the country’s development in recent times, but expressed his dissatisfaction with Việt Nam’s low rankings in the field. He said ICT should be a leading sector for the nation, but had slowed in recent years. The World Economic Forum (WEF) had lowered Việt Nam’s rankings in the field due to the country’s poor preparations for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), the PM said, adding that this was the ministry’s responsibility.
More than 50 per cent of IT companies need to recruit heavily in 2019 vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2019
Up to 53.6 per cent of information technology (IT) companies said they hope to increase their workforce by 10-30 per cent this year. This number was included in the results of a recent survey by ITviec.com, a leading IT recruitment site in Việt Nam. In the survey, about 26 per cent of IT companies said they needed to recruit 30-50 per cent more workers. In addition, 8.7 per cent of companies wanted to recruit more than 50 per cent this year.
Trends in VN’s network safety, security vietnamnews.vn 8th Jan 2019
The Authority of Information Security, under Việt Nam’s Ministry of Information and Communications, has forecast five major trends in network safety and security to watch in 2019. These five trends include network attacks, especially malicious code attacks using artificial intelligence (AI); attacking e-commerce and financial-banking systems with the aim of stealing personal information and data from users; attacks on infrastructure, internet of things (IoT) equipment, smart urban areas, and taking advantage of these devices to carry out network attacks; intentional network attacks on state agencies and organisations in order to steal information and data; and the tendency to smear, defame and spread malicious information against agencies, organisations and individuals.
HCM City partners with UK in building smart city vietnamnews.vn 7th Jan 2019
The HCM City People’s Committee and the Consulate General of the UK in the city on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on co-operation in implementing the future global city programme. Its aim is to turn the city into a smart city, in the 2019-22 period. The signing ceremony, held in HCM City, was attended by Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Trần Vĩnh Tuyến and UK Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field.
Việt Nam to test 5G mobile network this year vietnamnews.vn 5th Jan 2019
Việt Nam will enhance its telecommunications infrastructure, expand its broadband network and develop 5G mobile connectivity this year. The latter is a key component of the Government’s Resolution 01, in which the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) will grant test 5G frequencies to operators this year and expand them in 2020.
Việt Nam to introduce code of conduct on social networks vietnamnews.vn 24th Dec 2018
The Ministry of Information and Communications is building a Code of Conduct on social media, Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper reports. The details were released at a conference on Tuesday in Hà Nội. “The drawbacks of social networks cannot be eliminated, only limited by the behaviours of users and service providers,” said Deputy Minister Hoàng Vĩnh Bảo at the event.
PM agrees to the use of telecommunication accounts for payment Vietnam News 16th Jan 2019
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said the Government had agreed to pilot the use of mobile phone accounts to pay for goods and services. Speaking at a conference with the Ministry of Information and Communications on Tuesday, the Prime Minister asked units to begin the use of payments via mobile phone. “The government agrees to the use of telecommunication accounts in order to boost e-payment services, making it not the sole responsibility of banks,” the Prime Minister stressed. Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, Minister of Information and Communications, said that the telecommunication infrastructure was not only for communications, but had become the infrastructure of the digital economy, digital society and of the fourth industrial revolution.