ICT Update: June 6, 2019

ICT Update | June 6, 2019
Authors: Shay Wester, Kim Yaeger, Mario Masaya, Ella Duangkaew, Chase Blazek
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

ASEAN Countries Respond to Global Huawei Developments

ASEAN countries are responding differently to the United States Government’s recent ban of Huawei products for national security reasons, its campaign to encourage similar actions by US allies, and Google’s recent suspension of business with Huawei.  These developments have left Huawei phone users across the region with potentially impaired devices. Some countries have continued to demonstrate support for the Chinese telecommunications equipment provider, dismissing any claims of potential national security risks posed by Huawei. For example, Prime Minister Mahathir of Malaysia has stated that the Malaysian government will continue procuring Huawei products because of the company’s world-class technology and extensive research capabilities. Similarly, U Soe Naing of Myanmar’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications recently declared that the government plans to use Huawei to build the country’s communications networks, including future 5G capabilities. The Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) also released a statement on May 24 denying any present national security risks caused by Huawei’s equipment, adding that local telecommunications companies will likely diversify their equipment sources to avoid the most extreme effects of the Sino-American conflict.

Responses elsewhere in ASEAN have been more restrained.  Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong responded to media inquiries by stating that the internet allows groups to conduct risky operations in relative anonymity and that Singapore would reach a decision on these matters soon.  In addition, Prime Minister Lee added that Singapore, as a small country, has a modest research budget and, thus, views global tech collaboration as critical to Singapore’s development.  Meanwhile, mobile telephone shops in Singapore have stopped purchasing used Huawei phones due to fears of inventory devaluation. Vietnamese and Thai phone shops have been hit with reduced sales and increased customer concerns over effected Huawei devices, though their Governments have yet to declare clear stances on the issue.  VNDirect Securities Co, however, stated that Huawei’s market share in Vietnam is only around 4 percent, so the dispute is not expected to impact the phone market as much as in Thailand, where Huawei maintains a larger 14 percent market share. Likewise, these measures may impact US businesses by restricting the technology they can use and sell in the booming telecommunication markets of Asia.

Statements like Prime Minister Lee’s reveal that some regional leaders are strongly considering the security requirements of evolving technological infrastructures. Yet comments like Prime Minister Mahatir’s indicate that ASEAN governments may be less likely than the United States to invoke blanket bans on Huawei technologies as the company provides market-ready, inexpensive, and high-quality systems for ASEAN countries to leapfrog their technological development. Given strong regional emphases on the rapid development of 5G networks and smart cities initiatives, particularly to advance innovation, increase economic growth, and improve governments’ administrative capabilities, ASEAN nations may prefer to continue using Huawei technologies in some form or another.  This is especially true given the lack of any other market-ready solution available to ASEAN markets.  This difference in approaches between the United States and ASEAN member countries may require US firms- particularly joint ventures- to adjust their business models and manage stiffer competition from companies able to take advantage of Huawei’s premier technologies.  It will also be important for businesses and Governments to continue to monitor and adjust to changes in supply chains due to these developments, some of which may benefit ASEAN countries, as ASEAN leaders navigate a shifting landscape and attempt to strike the balance between security and innovation.

Singapore Government to Issue US$2 billion in ICT Contracts

In FY2019, the Singaporean government will award around US$2 billion of ICT contracts for the creation and maintenance of crucial digital platforms, with around 80 percent of the value of these contracts slated for SME contractors, according to Singapore’s Government Technology Agency (GovTech). As part of Singapore’s Digital Government Blueprint, 60 percent of these contracts will be dedicated to developing five national platforms: the Singapore Government Technology Stack (SGTS) – a general-purpose system for serving up a variety of secure government services; the National Digital Identity – a service which creates secure digital identities for users’ online transactions and government interactions; Smart Nation Sensor Platform (SNSP) – a data collection network meant to provide better public services to citizens; Moments of Life (MOL) – a system for delivering public services for young children and other citizens at critical stages of life; and Adaptive Digital Workplace (ADWP) – a platform meant to increase productivity and collaboration for public workers via cloud-based services. According to Indranee Rajah, the Second Minister for Finance, the delegation process for these contracts should be much faster and simpler for SMEs, as opposed to the complicated contractual processes typical of government tenders. The Second Minister’s statement indicates that priority may be given to SMEs for these contracts, which could help increase the growth and activity of SMEs in Singapore, particularly those in the public sector ICT space. Growth of local SMEs is a priority across the region, and giving SMEs higher priority in government contracting may be one method to accelerate this growth. Singapore would be one of the first countries in the region to reserve such large projects for SMEs, and it may be important for the Government to award some of the contracts to more established multi-nationals to ensure the quality of the platforms. However, ensuring that SMEs have equal, if not priority, access to these contracts may be a critical step to advancing the growth of SMEs in the country.

The Philippines’ DICT Announces New Tower-Sharing Rules

On May 24, the Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) announced the rules for its country-wide tower-sharing initiative.  The aim of this plan is to connect unserved or underserved areas and encourage investment in the tower industry by converting around 2,500 independently owned towers into one publicly shared infrastructure system.  So far, 22 independent tower companies have signed MoUs with the DICT as part of this initiative.  Signatories must be independent of mobile network operators (MNOs) for the sake of non-discriminatory access, registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and have five years of expertise or a stock of at least 1,000 towers.  DICT plans to expand this pilot network of 2,500 towers to a potential 50,000 towers with construction costs estimated around 4.4 billion PHP (around US$85 million).  Part of this broader plan involves allowing MNOs to participate by sharing existing towers and suggesting sites for new towers.  In addition, this new set of rules will not restrict MNOs that share their towers voluntarily from constructing new towers.  This tower-sharing initiative mirrors telecom infrastructure sharing agreements in the United States and aligns with DICT’s priorities to increase mobile coverage and broadband access for remote areas. Furthermore, it will be important for DICT to be transparent in its plans to manage issues such as congestion – issues for which U.S. models might offer solutions.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Second Consultation on Singapore’s 5G Mobile Services and Networks Policies

On May 7, 2019, Singapore's Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) issued a second public consultation on its proposed regulatory frameworks and policies for 5G applications and services (full consultation paper found here), following its first public consultation which concluded on July 21, 2017 (for more background on the first consultation, see here).

The Council is seeking member input on its first draft industry submission for this second consultation. Please complete your revisions in tracked changes to the attached Word document and submit them to Ella Duangkaew (eduangkaew@usasean.org) or Jamie Lim (jlim@usasean.org) by EOD Friday, June 7, 2019 SGT. Following this deadline, the Council will circulate a final draft for review prior to submission to the Government of Singapore the following week.

Consultation on 2019 ASEAN Cybersecurity Ministerial Proposal

The Council, in partnership with the BSA | The Software Alliance, is looking to hold our second engagement with the 4th ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity (AMCC), which will be held alongside Singapore International Cyber Week on either October 2 or 3. The 2019 dialogue will aim to expand upon our 2018 dialogue, which provided a Cyber Threat Briefing and Business Dialogue on the Cyberthreat Landscape and Capabilities Building in ASEAN. 

The Council is seeking member input on its initial proposal for our engagement with the AMCC. Specifically, we are seeking member input on:

  1. The theme of engagement, on "Interoperable Regional Frameworks: The Future of ASEAN's Cyber Resilience Strategies"
  2. The topics for our proposed engagement
  3. The format of our proposed engagement

 Please complete your revisions in tracked changes to the attached Word document and submit them to Jamie Lim (jlim@usasean.org) or Ella Duangkaew (eduangkaew@usasean.org) by Noon on Friday, June 14, 2019 SGT. The draft proposal will be shared with Singapore's Cyber Security Agency and the ASEAN Secretariat as well for consideration to be included in the official agenda. Following any feedback, we will look to convene a planning meeting to discuss further the proposal and engagement with members.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
ASEAN
Asia Pacific leads digital commerce trend

Financial Services
Cybercrime targets finance sector
BI outlines Indonesian payment visions
Private firms encouraged to join credit information market

Indonesia
Insurance firms look to go digital to tap into millennial market
Automation to Help Indonesia Continue Growth Trajectory
KSEI Launches Refined Platform to Monitor Investment
Minister tells Indonesians to uninstall VPNs

Legislation
Singapore FinTech Association launches RegTech sub-committee

Malaysia
Telekom gets new CEO but it's not Imri, confirms Dr M
Huawei gains support in Malaysia
Local companies urged to make 'intelligent enterprise' transformation
Dr M worried about job losses from planned Telenor, Axiata merger
‘US can’t be supreme forever’: Malaysia’s Mahathir backs Huawei

Myanmar
Opportunities emerge as fixed broadband market heats up
Ooredoo Prepared, Seeks Approval to Bring 5G to Myanmar
Urbanisation to drive expansion of indoor network
Myanmar Reaches High with Satellite Plan
The war for truth in Myanmar’s cyberspace
Telenor eyes 5G opportunities in Myanmar
Spurned by the West, Embraced by Myanmar
What Industry 4.0 Demands of Myanmar

Philippines
PHL digital economy to expand 12-fold to P1.9 trillion in 2030–Hinrich
CIT shift means 80% operating cost hike
Information dept issues common-tower rules
DICT: Huawei issue to have little impact
Senate passes bill vs bank hackers
Data privacy protection fines levied so far: The lessons businesses can learn
Cashalo introduces pre-approved digital credit feature for Cashacart clients
UBX looking to launch stablecoin
House okays financial consumer protection bill

Singapore
Hong Kong and Singapore strengthen ties in personal data protection
Over three-fourths of firms fall prey to financial crime: study
Government to grant ICT contracts to businesses
Is Singapore's fake news law too powerful or not enough?
Singapore government to award up to S$2.7b worth of ICT contracts by March 2020

Thailand
Study: Thais ready for 5G provider jump
Our growing data dependence brings risks
Startups wait for next move up
Telecom bailouts unfair, experts say
Smartphone sales slipping
Minister wants to see policy continuity

Vietnam
Shared database needed to fight tax loss in e-commerce
Italian companies eye Vietnamese high-tech sector
Digital transformation offers development opportunities
VN, France cooperate in e-government building
MoIT goes online for administrative procedures
Six ICT executives join National e-Government Committee working group
Transformation of Industry Verticals Through 5G – Focus and Look Indoors, says Frost & Sullivan
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
ASEAN

Asia Pacific leads digital commerce trend The Star Online 27th May 2019
WITH the rapid spread of mobile technology in Asia Pacific, the region is expected to take the lead in shaping digital commerce trends over the next few years. A recent report by Euromonitor International found that the region accounted for 41% of global spending in digital commerce in 2018. The segment is expected to grow in line with the growth of Internet users in the region.

Financial Services

Cybercrime targets finance sector The Nation 1st Jun 2019
The information was released by deputy head of the Government Information Security Commission Nguyen Dang Dao at an international conference themed “Security World 2019” held in Hanoi on Wednesday. At the conference, participants focused on Vietnam’s cybersecurity and solutions to strengthen data protection in the public and finance-banking sectors. Major General Dao said that cyber-attacks, espionage and cybercrime had been on the increase resulting in the theft of state secrets and the destruction of information systems.

BI outlines Indonesian payment visions Antara News 31st May 2019
The Governor of Bank Indonesia, Perry Warjiyo, has outlined Indonesia’s Payment System (IPS) 2025 Visions to ensure the current trend of digitalisation develops within a conducive digital economic and financial ecosystem. The visions are a response to the recent proliferation of digitalisation that has significantly altered the risk landscape, through cyber threats, monopolistic competition and shadow banking, which could undermine the effectiveness of monetary controls, the stability of the financial system and sound payment systems, according to a statement released here on Thursday.

Private firms encouraged to join credit information market vietnamnews.vn 30th May 2019
Private organisations will be encouraged to provide credit information services in Việt Nam to improve transparency in the credit information market, under a new draft decree. The draft decree replacing Decree 10/2010/NĐ-CP was opened for public comments by the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV). Việt Nam’s market for credit information is considered underdeveloped and lacks competition.

Indonesia

Insurance firms look to go digital to tap into millennial market The Jakarta Post 3rd Jun 2019
The life insurance industry is looking to technological innovation to tap into Indonesia’s growing middle-class millennial market, which is expected to propel the sector’s growth over the next few years. Sun Life Financial Global CEO Dean A. Connor said recently that he saw “tremendous potential” in the Indonesian market given the rapidly increasing middle-income population. World Bank data also suggests that Indonesia will soon attain upper-middle income status, as the country’s per capita income reached US$3,846 in 2017.

Automation to Help Indonesia Continue Growth Trajectory Jakarta Globe 31st May 2019
It’s likely that few business owners in Indonesia today would be able to tell you what robotics process automation (RPA) is. And yet, over the next five years, it will likely be a significant driver of growth in the Indonesia economy. If handled well, it presents a huge opportunity for Indonesia to continue—and even accelerate—its economic growth.

KSEI Launches Refined Platform to Monitor Investment Forbes Indonesia 27th May 2019
The Indonesian Central Securities Depository (KSEI) launched its most-updated platform for investment monitoring. The platform named AKSes Next-G (Securities Ownership Reference Next Generation) allows the investors to monitor their portfolio and check the balance in their account. The investors are also able to compare KSEI data with account statements from securities companies and custodian banks through the platform.

Minister tells Indonesians to uninstall VPNs The Jakarta Post 26th May 2019
Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara has called Indonesians to uninstall virtual private networks (VPN) from their devices after the government ended its move to limit the use of social media in response to post-election riots. “The Communications and Information Ministry has called on users of cellular phones and other gadgets to uninstall VPNs to avoid the risk of monitoring, collection and piracy of their personal data,” Rudiantara said in a press statement on Saturday.

Legislation

Singapore FinTech Association launches RegTech sub-committee Singapore Business Review 31st May 2019
It aims to promote and adopt technologies to overcome regulatory challenges. The Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) has launched the SFA RegTech Sub-Committee which aims to promote the invention and adoption of technologies to overcome regulatory challenges in Singapore, an announcement revealed. The RegTech Sub-Committee is chaired by Chionh Chye Kit, CEO & co-founder of anti-money laundering (AML) software provider Cynopsis Solutions and Traceto.io.

Malaysia

Telekom gets new CEO but it's not Imri, confirms Dr M Free Malaysia Today 5th Jun 2019
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today confirmed that a new CEO for Telekom Malaysia (TM) has been appointed. This comes after an alleged stalemate over the appointment. However, Mahathir declined to name the person, stating only that it will not be acting CEO Imri Mokhtar. “He has been appointed. They have not announced yet, but I think he has been appointed,” he said at his Raya open house at his Seri Perdana residence here.

Huawei gains support in Malaysia The Star Online 4th Jun 2019
Sales increased in flagship product among local consumers and recognition by Prime Minister. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced the continued use of Huawei technology as much as possible during the 25th International Conference on The Future of Asia, held in Tokyo. Dr Mahathir said Huawei had access to research “far bigger than the whole of Malaysia’s research equivalent”. “So we try to make use of their technology as much as possible,” he told a media conference.

Local companies urged to make 'intelligent enterprise' transformation New Straits Times 3rd Jun 2019
Local companies have been encouraged to embrace latest technologies to better future-proof their business models and to make the transition into becoming 'intelligent enterprises'. Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) vice president (growth ecosystem development) Norhizam Kadir said with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) now in full-swing, companies can no longer second guess themselves as newer innovations continue to emerge and shake-up the existing state of affairs. “Industrial trends like artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced analytics have already broken the proverbial glass ceiling as they move to digitise the world,” said Norhizam at the Asian Innovators’ Summit organised by SAP Malaysia Sdn Bhd and held in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Dr M worried about job losses from planned Telenor, Axiata merger The Star Online 30th May 2019
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has asked for more details on the planned merger of the Asian telecommunications operations of Norway's Telenor ASA and Axiata Group Bhd on concerns over potential job losses. Telenor and Axiata announced the move earlier this month to create a company with 300 million customers in nine countries. This is a result of Telenor merging its Asian assets -- Digi -- with Axiata. A representative for Dr Mahathir's office confirmed his concerns over job cuts after Bloomberg sought comment. The representative, who asked not to be named citing policy, didn't provide further details.

‘US can’t be supreme forever’: Malaysia’s Mahathir backs Huawei South China Morning Post 30th May 2019
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday offered a forceful defence of embattled Chinese tech giant Huawei, suggesting Western nations bent on shutting it down were being hypocritical in their concerns over the company’s ties to Chinese cyber espionage. In back-to-back public appearances in Tokyo, the 93-year-old premier dismissed the prospect of his country joining the likes of the United States and its allies – including Japan – in banning government purchases of the Shenzhen-based company’s telecommunications products

Myanmar

Opportunities emerge as fixed broadband market heats up The Myanmar Times 30th May 2019
As subscription numbers soar in Myanmar, internet users are demanding faster connection speeds to support greater volumes of content, such as high-quality videos and live streaming. That opens up opportunities for ISPs, particularly in fixed broadband, U Thein Than Toe said. “Internet subscription prices are falling. For example, the installation charge was nearly K300,000 in the past, but now there is no installation charge and we offer users cheap prices via promotions,” he said. 

Ooredoo Prepared, Seeks Approval to Bring 5G to Myanmar Myanmar Business Today 30th May 2019
Ooredoo Myanmar has announced that once it gets approval and licenses from the government, it will build and provide 5G services here. To do this, it announced a partnership with ZTE Corporation, as it signed a Memorandum of Understanding [MoU] to collaborate on 5G development in this country. The two companies will jointly test the new 5G network in some townships of Yangon and Mandalay, and then hope to expand the 5G service across the country.

Urbanisation to drive expansion of indoor network Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 29th May 2019
With morepeople moving to major cities for better opportunities, Myanmar is planning to improve the quality of its indoor network coverage as part of preparing for the fifth generation of wireless technology (5G), officials say. Soe Naing, deputy director-general of the Posts and Telecommunications Department, told the recent Myanmar Indoor Coverage Digitalisation Summit 2019 that the country would focus on improving the indoor experience of users, given that more than 70 per cent of the traffic occurs indoors, especially in urban areas.

Myanmar Reaches High with Satellite Plan Myanmar Business Today 24th May 2019
Myanmar will start implementing a long-term project to launch its own Earth Observation Satellite in Fis-cal Year (FY) 2020, according to the Ministry of Transport and Communication. "Hokkaido University [Japan] and Myanmar Aerospace Engineering University are collaborating in order to launch an Earth Observation Satellite (EOS) in the third phase of Myanmar’s satellite plan," said U Win Khant, the permanent secretary of Ministry of Transport and Communication.

The war for truth in Myanmar’s cyberspace Coda Story 4th Jun 2019
On February 20, a stream of photos of arrived via WhatsApp. The first was of a young woman with the traditional thanakha tree bark paste carefully applied on her cheeks. She was resting her chin on her palm and smiling sweetly at the camera: the sort of photo a loved one might keep as their phone background. The photos that followed showed her dead on the floor, her left cheek shattered by a bullet, her face spattered with blood. According to the sender, her name was Ma Ye Ye Soe, she was 19, belonged to the Rakhine Buddhist ethnic group, and lived in a village called Myin Hpu in the remote west of northern Rakhine State’s Rathedaung Township.

Telenor eyes 5G opportunities in Myanmar The Nation 31st May 2019
Sharad Mehrotra, chief executive of Telenor Myanmar, said at a briefing on Wednesday that Myanmar has more than enough capacity with the telco’s modern 4G network, and that Telenor always tries to bring the latest technology to the country. “When the technology is mature and fully tested, we will look at business opportunities for 5G in Myanmar,” he said. “As a company in Telenor Group having already initiated pilots in countries like Norway, Denmark and Malaysia, we have access to the latest knowledge and experience from 5G.”

Spurned by the West, Embraced by Myanmar The Irrawaddy 27th May 2019
As the U.S. government hit it with severe sanctions in its escalating trade spat with China, Myanmar government officials showed their eager embrace of Chinese tech giant Huawei, pledging to allow the controversial company to help build the Myanmar’s communication network. The pledge was made on Friday at the Myanmar Indoor Coverage Digitalization Summit 2019, jointly organized by the Federation of Myanmar Engineering Societies (Fed. MES) and Huawei and attended by officials from the Ministry of Construction, the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Fed. MEM. Despite the U.S cutting relations with Huawei over national security concerns, Deputy Director General of the Posts and Telecommunications Department, Ministry of Transport and Communications U Soe Naing praised Huawei for its “support and trusted network solutions for Myanmar’s communication network development.”

What Industry 4.0 Demands of Myanmar The Irrawaddy 24th May 2019
It is of primary importance, Myanmar Minister of Industry U Khin Maung Cho told the more than 100 gathered at the Novotel Yangon Max hotel Friday morning for the Industry 4.0 in Myanmar conference, to create an inclusive digital economy. Industry 4.0—a term with a fluid definition but that generally refers to commercial and industrial advances in automation and digital connectivity, and their resulting social and economic impacts—will “affect more than just manufacturing,” U Khin Maung Cho said. “We have to develop our country to match with the other countries surrounding Myanmar.”

Philippines

PHL digital economy to expand 12-fold to P1.9 trillion in 2030–Hinrich BusinessMirror 31st May 2019
The country’s digital economy could expand 12-fold to P1.9 trillion by 2030 if the government would hike investments in information and communications technology (ICT), and ease border frictions to facilitate greater trade within the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Hinrich Foundation (HF). In its study, titled “The Data Revolution: How the Philippines Can Capture the Digital Trade Opportunity at Home and Abroad,” the HF estimated that the country’s digital economy today is valued at about P160 billion.

CIT shift means 80% operating cost hike BusinessMirror 31st May 2019
Semiconductor firms on Thursday said their operating cost will increase by as much as 80 percent if they are stripped of their tax incentives under the government’s rationalization plan. In a news briefing, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc. (Seipi) President Danilo C. Lachica said industry players prefer to pay higher tax on gross income than to transition to corporate income tax (CIT).

Information dept issues common-tower rules The Manila Times Online 25th May 2019
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) released on Friday the rules on the rollout of common tower, pushing forward its plan to pursue the tower-sharing market in the country. Amid the government’s vision to increase the number of cell sites in the country, the DICT said at least 2,500 common towers identified in DICT-owned and other government agencies’ properties, and areas named by existing telcos PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom will be initially built or converted by independent tower companies (ITCs).

DICT: Huawei issue to have little impact The Manila Times Online 24th May 2019
THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Thursday shrugged off worries about rising tensions between the United States and China-based Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., saying they only had minimal impact on the local telecommunications sector. “Local telcos have made pronouncements that they will diversify in their present and future procurements of equipment to make their networks more robust and future-proof,” the department said in a statement.

Senate passes bill vs bank hackers The Manila Times Online 5th Jun 2019
The Senate has approved on third and final reading a measure that seeks to classify the hacking of bank systems as economic sabotage, punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of up to P5 million... The rapid development of information technology, and the economic impact of financial fraud and crimes committed through the use of electronic devices and gadgets necessitate the need to provide more teeth to RA 8484, Escudero said.

Data privacy protection fines levied so far: The lessons businesses can learn BusinessMirror 4th Jun 2019
After one year of enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), businesses can learn much from how the provisions of the regulation have been applied and how organizations have been fined. Enforcement of the  GDPR went into effect on May 25, 2018. In the approximate span of one year since that date, European data protection authorities confirm that almost 90,000 separate data breach notifications have been received. Note, that’s just the notifications received from organization’s attempting to comply with the GDPR. Those same data protection authorities report that during the same year almost 145,000 complaints and inquiries have been reported by concerned citizens.

Cashalo introduces pre-approved digital credit feature for Cashacart clients Business World 28th May 2019
MOBILE LENDING platform Cashalo launched an in-app feature granting clients pre-approved digital credit, in line with its push for responsible financial behavior among Filipinos. In a statement, financial technology (fintech) firm Cashalo introduced a pre-approved digital credit feature on its consumer basket financing product Cashacart, providing a credit limit to clients in order for them to know how much and over what period of time they are required to repay the borrowed funds.

UBX looking to launch stablecoin Business World 28th May 2019
UBX, the newly launched financial technology (fintech) platform of UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc., is eyeing to launch stablecoins. “We have BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) approval to launch stablecoin,” UnionBank President and Chief Executive Officer Edwin R. Bautista told reporters on Monday at the launch of UBX. “We will eventually link i2i Philippines to similar clearing systems in other countries. All you have to do is to move tokens across the different platforms,” Mr. Bautista added.

House okays financial consumer protection bill Business World 28th May 2019
THE HOUSE of Representatives approved on third and final reading on Monday a bill providing a framework for regulating financial products and services for consumer protection. House Bill 9054 or the “Act Providing for the Protection of Financial Consumers” received 164 affirmative votes and zero negatives or abstention. The bill aims to ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place for the protection of financial consumers under conditions of transparency, fair and sound market conduct, and rational and effective handling of consumer disputes.

Singapore

Hong Kong and Singapore strengthen ties in personal data protection Singapore Business Review 31st May 2019
The two nations will do joint research projects and cross-share experiences and best practices. Hong Kong’s and Singapore’s data protection authorities signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to engage in collaborations involving personal data protection in the two jurisdictions, an announcement revealed. Under the MOU, the Hong Kong SAR’s Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) and Singapore’s Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PDPC) will initiate in the cross-sharing of experiences...

Over three-fourths of firms fall prey to financial crime: study Singapore Business Review 29th May 2019
Companies now plan to spend on average 46% more to adopt technologies to counter it. About 82% of Singapore companies have surveyed that they’ve been victims of financial crimes over the past 12 months, which has led to 69% of them adopting technologies to counter it, according to a study by financial markets data and infrastructure provider Refinitiv.

Government to grant ICT contracts to businesses Singapore Business Review 28th May 2019
The government will grant a series of information and communication technology (ICT) contracts throughout the year, in which over 80% of the contract value will be for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), according to Government Technology Agency. Of the total contract value, 60% will be allotted to five digital platforms, which are Singapore Government Technology Stack (SGTS), National Digital Identity (NDI), Smart Nation Sensor Platform (SNSP), Moments of Life (MOL), and Adaptive Digital Workplace (ADWP) for public officers.

Is Singapore's fake news law too powerful or not enough? The Straits Times 26th May 2019
When I first read reports about the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma), my initial reaction was negative. Why is the Government introducing laws that give already powerful Cabinet ministers even more power? Under Pofma, a minister can issue a correction or take-down order for online falsehoods that he or she deems to be against the public interest. The party receiving such an order can appeal to the minister to cancel or vary the order; and if this fails, the party can go to court to challenge the order.

Singapore government to award up to S$2.7b worth of ICT contracts by March 2020 The Business Times 28th May 2019
The government will award an estimated S$2.5 billion to S$2.7 billion worth of info-communications and technology (ICT) contracts in FY2019, which lasts from April 2019 to March 2020. Small and medium enterprises will be able to participate in over 80 per cent of the contracts, said Singapore's Government Technology Agency (GovTech). Over 60 per cent of ICT contract value will go towards further developing five platforms that are key to meeting the outcomes of the Digital Government Blueprint, which sets out digital transformation targets for the government to achieve by 2023.

Thailand

Study: Thais ready for 5G provider jump Bangkok Post 5th Jun 2019
Half of smartphone users in Thailand would switch mobile operators within six months to one that offered 5G wireless services if their own provider did not offer the technology, according to a recent report. Some 40% of respondents expect Thailand to switch to 5G within the next year, according to the study carried out by Ericsson Consumer Lab. The study was conducted in March, drawing on 35,000 respondents from 22 countries, of which 1,500 respondents were Thais.

Our growing data dependence brings risks The Nation 1st Jun 2019
While these discussions have proved insightful and, in many cases, improved business knowledge and value – they have overlooked one critical aspect. Our growing dependence on the data around us. Many of the other aspects of data have been viewed as a choice. A sort of ‘take it or leave it”. That is not the case with dependency. We are all increasingly dependent on data. And as more and more devices become connected to the internet that dependency, and the implications for all of us, will also increase.

Startups wait for next move up The Nation 1st Jun 2019
Panachit Kittipanya-ngam, president of the Thailand Tech Startup Association, said that more startups turned from B2C to B2B organisations to offer business and service technology services. Those vertical tech startups are growing. especially in the education, travel and health business, Panachit said. In 2018, more corporate venture capital (CVC) funds were established, and there were more seed and series A investments – with funding mainly from CVCs. 

Telecom bailouts unfair, experts say Bangkok Post 30th May 2019
Academics and consumer advocates have slammed the regime's decision to invoke Section 44 to ease the financial burden on three telecom operators and digital TV broadcasters, saying the move offers favourable treatment to private firms at the expense of public benefit. Somkiat Tangkitvanich, president of the Thailand Development Research Institute, estimated that helping the digital TV operators will cost 32 billion baht in money that could otherwise remain in the state's coffers, while the package of measures to help the three mobile phone operators will cost another 20 billion baht.

Smartphone sales slipping Bangkok Post 30th May 2019
A lack of new technology, a saturated smartphone market and uneasy consumer confidence in Chinese smartphone maker Huawei may shrink the overall local smartphone market by 4% in 2019. The replacement cycle for mobile phones may rise from 18 to 24-36 months, according to estimates by Total Access Communication (DTAC). One week after Huawei's struggle with the US and losing its Android OS licence, sales are down by double-digit rates, say retailers and mobile operators.

Minister wants to see policy continuity Bangkok Post 28th May 2019
Pichet Durongkaveroj, the digital economy and society (DE) minister, is urging his replacement to continue the government's digital infrastructure push along with its roadmap of promoting digital literacy, Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) projects and e-commerce. The government began implementing digital economy development in 2016 and hopes it will lift the country out of the middle-income trap. The ministry has been pushing development through five core strategies: digital infrastructure development including digital-related laws, digital government, cybersecurity, tech innovation and digital talent development.

Vietnam

Shared database needed to fight tax loss in e-commerce vietnamnews.vn 5th Jun 2019
There should be a shared database of online sellers to make sure tax collection in e-commerce activities is sufficient, officials have said. A shared database was necessary because there is no specific measure to calculate revenues, sales and expenses of organisations and individuals selling goods and services online, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam E-commerce and Information Technology Agency deputy director Lại Việt Anh.

Italian companies eye Vietnamese high-tech sector The Saigon Times 5th Jun 2019
The Italian Trade Agency (ITA), in cooperation with the Embassy of Italy in Hanoi, organized a workshop to promote and develop new opportunities of trade, investment and technological collaboration between Italy and Vietnam as part of a partnership for innovation and sustainability. Giuseppe Conte, the prime minister of Italy, attended the event as part of his ongoing visit to Vietnam.

Digital transformation offers development opportunities vietnamnews.vn 1st Jun 2019
Digital transformation is considered an opportunity for Vietnamese enterprises to avoid falling behind their competitors, but many firms, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises, remain unaware of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, experts have said. At a workshop in Hà Nội on Friday, participants said the digital transformation had occurred around the world as governments and large businesses use new technologies to promote development. The trend was already increasing customer satisfaction and opening new markets.

VN, France cooperate in e-government building vietnamnews.vn 31st May 2019
The Government Office of Việt Nam and the French Development Agency (AFD) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in e-government development in Hà Nội on Thursday. Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and French Ambassador to Việt Nam Bertrand Lortholary attended the ceremony. The MoU aims to build bilateral cooperative between the Government Office and the AFD in implementing e-government in Việt Nam, thereby supporting the Government’s digitalisation, administrative modernisation and reform process.

MoIT goes online for administrative procedures vietnamnews.vn 30th May 2019
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has moved to put more public administrative services online to achieve a more simplified and transparent administration. As of the end of January, ministry’s Foreign Trade Agency had 47 of its public services available online at level 3 (forms that can be downloaded and processed online) and level 4 (forms and payments that can be processed online) on the website online.moit.gov.vn.

Six ICT executives join National e-Government Committee working group vietnamnews.vn 29th May 2019
The heads of six leading information and communications technology (ICT) companies will join a working group for the chairman of the National Committee on E-Government. The firms are DTT, Viettel, VNPT, FPT, CMC and VietnamPost, and their chiefs are among the 18 members of the network security and technology solutions team formed under the working group.

Transformation of Industry Verticals Through 5G – Focus and Look Indoors, says Frost & Sullivan vietnamnews.vn 24th May 2019
Now that 5G is here, the much anticipated infrastructure will enable a smarter and more connected world promised to drive digital economies for governments, to create new monetization opportunities for businesses and offer a real perceivable difference over 4G for consumers. According to a recent Frost & Sullivan survey conducted at the 5th Annual Asia Pacific Spectrum Management Conference held in Kuala Lumpur in March 2019, 79% of respondents said that they will rate their mobile operator according to the indoor network quality that they experience.