ICT Update: August 1, 2019

ICT Update | August 1, 2019
Authors: Kim Yaeger, Ella Duangkaew, Chase Blazek
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Indonesia, Vietnam Look for Ways to Tax Online Services

Iwan Djuniardi, Director for ICT in Indonesia’s Taxation Directorate General, recently announced that the Directorate is preparing the means to collect taxes on all services and transactions related to the digital economy, including those occurring on social media and in the financial technologies sector. Since 2012, the Taxation Service Office has been engaged in a broader effort to improve data collection mechanisms for the sake of appropriately taxing online transactions, but obstacles to such data collection are still plentiful, including the difficulty of monitoring peer-to-peer transactions. In an effort to tax foreign companies participating in online sales, the tax directorate is also developing a system of value-added taxes (VATs) to collect revenue from online transactions. This VAT would apply to content providers, e-commerce participants, and startup companies, though the scope of activities targeted by such a VAT is unclear.  With the value of Indonesia’s digital economy projected to reach US$100 billion by 2025, Jakarta is hoping to emulate the success of Australia and Japan in collecting taxes from growing digital markets.

Officials in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) are also contemplating taxes on transactions over social media platforms in order to modernize revenue streams, according to the Deputy head of the HCMC Tax Department, Nguyen Nam Binh. The Law on Tax Management already mandates that companies engaged in e-commerce must cooperate with tax agencies, but the Tax Department intends to strengthen compliance by collaborating with banks to monitor revenues of online transactions.  In addition, officials intend to mandate the use of e-invoices to audit otherwise uncooperative companies. Last year, HCMC officials attempted to collect tax revenues from major American online service providers using written requests, but had only limited success. Currently, the HCMC Tax Department relies heavily on tax declarations and voluntary payments by online vendor, but this system is plagued by delinquency and underreporting.

In both Indonesia and Vietnam, American online vendors should expect stronger efforts by Government officials to collect elusive tax revenues on e-commerce activities. This appears to be a rising trend across the region, particularly following Thailand’s plans to pass a VAT on foreign e-commerce activity (which have not yet passed, but may be likely to with the new Government) and Malaysia’s passage of a digital services tax this past April (the bill will go into effect January 2020). The current mix of voluntary and ineffective collection methods could soon be replaced by stricter tax regulations with little leniency for tax evasion. In light of this, American firms would be wise to reconsider the exact combination of compliance and regulatory opposition with which they will respond to these newer and, assumedly, more effective online tax policies. It will also be important for all countries in the region, particularly those actively pursuing digital taxation such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, to ensure that their taxation approaches comply with the WTO moratorium on imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions. While the developments described above do not violate the moratorium, Indonesia has established a tariff line for “intangible goods” that raises compliance concerns, though the tariff line is currently set at zero. As countries become more aggressive in these approaches, it will be critical for industry to advocate for effective taxation practices that are in line with international standards and agreements.  

Thailand Releases Reporting Requirement for Digital Asset Trading

On July 11, the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that all parties planning to engage in digital asset trading would have to report transactions worth more than 5 million THB (approximately US$162,000) to the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO).  The aim of this new decree is to expedite criminal investigations for the SEC, whose leaders intend to crack down on money launderers in light of the recent high-profile bitcoin fraud of 979 million THB (approximately $31 million USD) by Jiratspisit “Boom” Jaravijit. Though Jaravijit was eventually arrested, his case solidified the Government’s commitment to better regulate digital asset trading.  By early August, the Finance Ministry is expected to issue a follow-up clause to this decree.

In May 2018, the Government announced that all parties wishing to host portals for initial coin offerings (ICOs) - the only Government-approved platforms for digital asset exchanges in Thailand - would have to first register with the SEC. To date, the SEC has granted licenses to 5 companies for hosting digital asset exchanges in Thailand, including Huapee Company Limited, whose license was just granted last week. Considerations for new licenses include whether the applicant has routine cybersecurity checks, a robust system for mitigating conflicts of interest, and a board of highly qualified management professionals. This latest licensure rounds out two years of reform and oversight efforts by the Government to both secure Thailand’s place as a global leader in digital asset trading and protect the people of Thailand from predation by money launders and other cyber criminals.

Though these reforms only apply to companies based in Thailand, American firms intent on participating in Thailand’s budding digital asset trading industry should take note of Bangkok’s proactive stance toward preventing foul play.  Given the limited roster of ICO hosting companies permitted to operate in Thailand, America’s digital asset traders would be wise to understand the regulatory guidelines of their Thai counterparts in order to better cooperate, or compete, in future transactions.

Malaysia Deploys its First 5G Cluster Trial

Celcom Axiata Bhd recently announced that they would be launching Malaysia’s first 5G live cluster field trial, which is meant to test real use cases of 5G technologies in various environments. The field trial is expected to last six months and will be conducted on new technological verticals like education, security, agriculture, and transportation. Office spaces, homes as well as indoor and outdoor locales will be included in the test area, while the affected population will include 4,600 individuals in a 1.22 square kilometer zone. The trial is a collaboration between Celcom and Huawei Technologies Sdn Bhd, and will leverage 5G non-standalone architectures that build off existing 4G systems. This initiative, however, is not the extent of these two firms’ collaboration. 

Celcom and Huawei signed an MOU on July 9 with the intent of creating a joint working group to explore new business opportunities available in Malaysia’s 5G market; Huawei’s existing commitment to establish a 5G Innovation Hub at Celcom will also support bilateral efforts to develop a robust 5G rollout plan. Though 5G trials like this are the early stages of network development, they display Malaysia’s commitment to turning 5G into an infrastructure reality for the country.  They also indicate China’s commitment to developing Southeast Asia’s 5G connectivity using Huawei’s equipment and expertise.

Malaysia’s 5G trial is just one of many underway in Southeast Asia as regional actors strive for 5G connectivity by as early as 2020. Singapore’s providers have started network trials with full support from the Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), and Singapore is also currently developing its Regulatory Framework for 5G Networks and Services (the Council participated in the most recent public consultation in May 2019). In addition, the Philippines’s PLDT has cooperated with Huawei and Ericcson since 2016 to deploy 5G cell sites in the Makati Central Business District.  Viettel is expected to lead Vietnam’s 5G trials this year, and Thailand has already launched a testbed in Chonburi for Huawei’s 5G technologies.  For more information on 5G initiatives like these, please see the Council’s Analytical Update on 5G Developments. There are many economic and technological benefits of 5G, including more efficient services for industry, better support for Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, and faster internet service for civilian use. In addition, 5G networks are seen as the linchpin in the ASEAN Smart Cities Network Initiative, as many smart cities goals are dependent on these faster, more reliable networks. Though regional 5G initiatives are just beginning, these trials demonstrate that ASEAN members are taking serious strides to integrate 5G into their plans for developing more productive, highly connected economies.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Final Call for Input on Vietnam's Regulation on Online Curated Content

The Council has developed a second draft industry submission for Vietnam's Online Curated Content (OCC) Regulation (Draft Decree to Amend Decree 06/2016) based on member comments. Thank you to all members that submitted comments for this draft.

Members may contact Ella Duangkaew (eduangkaew@usasean.org) or Jamie Lim (jlim@usasean.org) for copies of the Council's second draft submission, the original Decree 06/2016, the updated decree, and US-ABC's past submission on April 25 to MIC on amendments to Decree 06/2016. Please provide your revisions in tracked changes to the second draft by COB, Friday August 12 to Ella Duangkaew (eduangkaew@usasean.org) or Jamie Lim (jlim@usasean.org).

The Council will plan to send the final submission to the Government on August 15 (following translation).
Below are the Council's key takeaways from the updated decree on Vietnam's OCC Regulation:

Key Takeaways

The latest draft still contains key concerns, including:

  • A requirement that overseas businesses localize and seek an operating license from government;
  • 30% local content quota; and
  • Mandatory content editing.

Process and timeline: The Office of the Government is processing the draft and will send it to members of the cabinet for review and comments. A cabinet meeting to discuss the draft has not been scheduled but the earliest it could take place is at the end of August.

Data Governance Sub-Committee Submits White Paper on Key Elements for a Data-Driven Economy

Since April, the Council's Data Governance Sub-Committee has been working on a US-ABC White Paper on "Key Elements for a Data-Driven Economy". The deadline for final member feedback has passed and the document will be undergoing only design changed before final submission. The publication will be launched at our ASEAN-US Digital Policy Consultative Forum in Bangkok on August 23.

Background

The purpose of this Data Governance sub-committee is to develop regional and in-country guiding principles on data governance in ASEAN, in support of the ASEAN Framework on Digital Data Governance and its endorsed initiatives. The Data Governance Sub-Committee is open to all members of any committee of the Council (not exclusive to ICT). For questions, please contact Jamie Lim (jlim@usasean.org) and Ella Duangkaew (eduangkaew@usasean.org).

Second Draft of the Council's Submission for Vietnam's Draft Decree of the Law on Cybersecurity (LOCS) Pending

In July, the Council obtained a more recent draft of the cybersecurity decree (as of May 15, 2019), (herein referred to as the "July draft"). The Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security (MPS) will conduct a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on August 9, 2019, to share the LOCS and provide an opportunity for participants to ask about provisions of the July draft decree. The decree will not be issued by August 9.

The Council has received member comments on a first draft submission for this decree and will circulate the second draft submission on August 5. Please contact Jamie Lim (jlim@usasean.org) or Ella Duangkaew (eduangkaew@usasean.org) with any questions.

Members are also encouraged to attend the workshop on the LOCS on August 9 in HCMC. Please contact Vu Tu Thanh (tvu@usasean.org) or Jamie Lim (jlim@usasean.org) if you are interested.

Next Steps
The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi is planning to send U.S. government comments on this draft to the Vietnam government by the end of July. Members are encouraged to send comments via the US-ASEAN Business Council so we can forward them to the Embassy.

The Council will also plan to submit a position paper on this draft. The updated timeline for inputs is as follows:

  • August 5: Council to circulate second draft
  • August 7, 12PM SGT: Third deadline for member comments
  • August 9: Council to circulate third draft
  • August 13, 12PM SGT: Final deadline for member comments

It will take several days to translate the submission and the Council will plan to submit the document to the government by August 15, 2019.

Potential Draft Submission on Singapore IMDA's Review of the Electronic Transactions Act (ETA)

Last month, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) launched a public consultation to seek feedback on reviewing the Electronic Transactions Act (ETA). Members may access the Public Consultation paper at this link and a factsheet on the Public Consultation at this link. The Council's initial call for input has just ended and, pending member interest, we will be developing a first draft submission on ETA. The public consultation is expected to end on 27 August 2019 at 12 noon. For questions, please contact Jamie Lim (jlim@usasean.org) and Ella Duangkaew (eduangkaew@usasean.org).

IMDA is seeking feedback on key aspects of the review of the ETA, particularly on:

  • Including more transactions under the ETA. IMDA proposes to minimize the Exclusion List in the ETA to facilitate digitalization by removing documents such as contracts for immovable property, Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA), and negotiable instruments such as Bills of Lading from the Exclusion List.
  • Providing certainty over new technologies. IMDA affirms that the ETA is technology neutral and can apply to electronic transactions regardless of technology, including Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), Smart Contracts and Biometrics.
  • Updating its Certification Authority (CA) framework to ensure currency with latest international standards. IMDA proposes to update the Compliance Audit Checklist that accredited CAs must comply with, to adopt and align with established international standards such as WebTrust and those set by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.

Background

Singapore first enacted the ETA in 1998 to adopt the Model Law on Electronic Commerce from UNCITRAL. In 2010, the ETA was repealed and re-enacted, and implemented the 2005 UN Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts.

IMDA is conducting a review of the ETA as part of its efforts in ensuring that this policy remains progressive, encourage innovation in the Digital Economy and strengthen Singapore’s position as a hub for electronic transactions. In reviewing the ETA, IMDA has taken a whole-of-government approach in reviewing the ETA, collaborating closely with 14 Government Ministries and agencies and is also consulting industry stakeholders.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
APEC
APEC builds higher trust quotient with data protection system

Indonesia
Blockchain in logistics shows promise but local adoption continues to lag
Huawei Projects Adoption of 5G Network in Indonesia at the latest 2022
Home Ministry coordinates with Informatics Ministry on data
Kominfo to Rule Contents Allowed or Banned on Internet
Kadin: Blockchain Increases Competitiveness of National Companies in the Global
Indonesia Drafting Rules to Apply VAT on Online Products and Services
Rudiantara Proposes How to Reduce Import Floods through E-commerce
Govt completes personal data protection bill amid privacy concerns
Indonesia also to tax ads, trading in social media
Tech risks urge tighter financial cybersecurity

Laos
Lao delegates push for regional media cooperation
Laos Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband Market Growth Analysis
Laos Moves to Register Private Online News Sites in a Bid to Control ‘Fake News’

Malaysia
5G network service to be implemented by 1H20, says Gobind
Govt aims to establish robotics hub by year-end
Mida gives 187 firms tax incentives to move into automation
Disruption, network problems remain top telco issues
Getting SMEs to join e-commerce is a challenge, says MITI deputy minister
Report: Astro to gain from anti-piracy measures
Govt reassures data protection on digital economy expansion, says Gobind
Malaysia to expand 5G testbed areas to five more states

Myanmar
Mytel fined K300m, Telenor and another telecom company warned for violations
Myanmar Govt to Launch Satellite, Improve Communications

Philippines
US, PH sign 10-year pact on science and technology
Give Duterte emergency powers to resolve slow internet speed
PHSAT Expands Connectivity in Philippines With Hughes Jupiter System
Duterte hits the jackpot as China fuels online gambling boom
NOW Telecom inks deal for fiber rollout
SSS vows to hasten digitalization process
PLDT: No launching of 5G service in 2019
DOST pitches PHL resort to science diplomacy

Singapore
Singapore Telcos Demand Rethink of 5G Standalone Plan
SSA Forms Digital Transformation Committee
Singapore launches program to attract talent in 'frontier technologies'
IMDA and NRF injects $40m to boost 5G initiatives
Pilot programme to help tech firms in S'pore recruit talent

Thailand
NBTC looks to allay fears over conduit monopoly
China’s Huawei to host IoT summit in Bangkok
Smart city scheme tempts 20 candidates
NBTC seeks band recall for 5G service
NBTC: New ratings system costly
Depa project gets backing from 14 firms
Digital asset scope may grow

Vietnam
Facebook-like social media app launched in Việt Nam
Sandbox regulations to be sumitted for approval in Q3
PM calls for stronger efforts to build e-Government
HCMC taxman resolved to tax online vendors
Vietnam quietly avoids Huawei in building 5G network
Huge opportunities await foreign telco investors
VN banks undergoing digital transformation
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
APEC

APEC builds higher trust quotient with data protection system Antara News 24th Jul 2019
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has devoted serious effort to strengthen trust with the data protection system in the Asia-Pacific, noted a written statement issued by the APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group, received here on Wednesday. Data protection is a pressing issue for businesses in the region that is home to 45 percent of the world’s internet users, or some 1.99 billion people. People and businesses are connected globally, with more and more data flowing across borders.

Indonesia

The New World of Virtual Banks: Profitable Growth Will Define Success Jakarta Globe 1st Aug 2019
Progressive regulation is creating open and collaborative ecosystems with both banks and customers moving up the technological maturity scale. With customer sentiment ripe for a new way of banking, virtual banks need to grow at scale, leveraging open, cloud-based platforms.

Blockchain in logistics shows promise but local adoption continues to lag The Jakarta Post 31st Jul 2019
While news of an international blockchain summit in Jakarta has brought a sense of optimism, the adoption of blockchain technology in the country’s logistics sector is still very far from a reality, industry players and officials have said. One of the reasons for this is that the country lacks blockchain standards.

Huawei Projects Adoption of 5G Network in Indonesia at the latest 2022 Katadata 31st Jul 2019
Huawei estimates that the internet adoption of fifth generation or 5G networks in Indonesia can be faster than 2022. One of the supporting factors is infrastructure that has been built, such as Palapa Ring or known as Sky Highway . In addition, the network of fibers or fiber to the transmitter tower alias base transceiver station (BTS) is already available in the country. "The most important thing now is the regulation and the spectrum. Now that's a challenge," Huawei Indonesia ICT Strategy Director Mohamad Rosidi told Katadata.co.id on Wednesday (7/31).

Criticism mounts over plan for more industrial zones across Java The Jakarta Post 30th Jul 2019
The government’s plan to develop new special economic zones on Java has run up against opposition, with critics saying it would not only hamper the goal of creating equal economic development across the country but also put an additional burden on the densely populated island. The idea comes from Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution, who recently said the government would allow the development of industrial special economic zones (SEZ) in Java as long as they were export-oriented, facilitated import substitution or were hi-tech industries.

Kadin and Singaporean forum kick off blockchain learning center The Jakarta Post 30th Jul 2019
Indonesia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) and the Singapore-based Blockchain Asia Forum (BAF) announced on Monday the establishment of a joint venture, the Blockchain Center of Excellence and Education (BCEE). Kadin official Rico Rustombi, who is deputy chairman for logistics and supply chains, said at the Global Blockchain Investment Summit in Jakarta that the center’s mission was to “provide investment opportunities, education and vocational training to the stakeholders of the businesses applying blockchain technology".

Home Ministry coordinates with Informatics Ministry on data Antara News 30th Jul 2019
The Home Affairs Ministry has coordinated with the Communication and Informatics Ministry concerning illegal trading of citizens' personal data on social media, according to Zudan Arif Fakrulloh, the ministry's Population and Civil Registry Director General. The ministry has asked the Communication and Informatics Ministry to erase pictures containing personal data such as on electronic ID cards and Family Cards (KK) posted on the Internet.

Kominfo to Rule Contents Allowed or Banned on Internet Tempo 29th Jul 2019
The Communication and Information (Kominfo) Ministry is currently amending the Ministerial Regulation No. 19/2014 concerning the handling of internet sites containing negative contents. The ministry's spokesperson, Ferdinandus Setu, said the latest regulation would detail the rules of contents allowed and prohibited to be uploaded on the internet. “There will be do’s and don'ts,” said Ferdinandus at the ministry office, Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat, Central Jakarta, Monday, July 29.

Because of Kimi Hime, Kominfo Will Revise Creative Content Rules Katadata 29th Jul 2019
The Ministry of Communication and Information ( Kominfo ) will revise the rules on creative content in Ministerial Regulation (Permen) Number 19 of 2014 concerning Handling Negatively-charged Internet Sites. This is because of the case of YouTuber Kimi Hime aka Kimberly Khoe who reportedly violated immoral acts in her content.

Kadin: Blockchain Increases Competitiveness of National Companies in the Global Katadata 29th Jul 2019
The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( Kadin ) considers that blockchain adoption can increase the competitiveness of national companies in the global arena. Because, this technology can accelerate transactions. Blockchain is considered to be very potential to be used by companies in the financial sector, especially related to updates in the transaction system.

Indonesia Drafting Rules to Apply VAT on Online Products and Services Myanmar Business Today 29th Jul 2019
Indonesia is drafting new rules to impose value added tax to online products and services provided by offshore companies, as authorities target a bigger slice of revenue from the country's fast-growing digital market, a top tax official told Reuters. Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous country with 260 million people and, according to a joint study by Google and Temasek Holdings, the value of its internet economy reached $27 billion last year and is poised to grow to $100 billion by 2025.

Kadin recommends blockchain application in operation of ports Antara News 29th Jul 2019
The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) has recommended the use of blockchain technology in the operation of ports, especially those in big cities. "Blockchain is a technology which I believe, needs to be considered for application in port operations, whether in Jakarta or maybe in the new capital city," Deputy Chairman of Kadin for Logistical and Supply Chain, Rico Rustombi said here Monday.

Rudiantara Proposes How to Reduce Import Floods through E-commerce Katadata 26th Jul 2019
Minister of Communication and Information (Kominfo) Rudiantara did not fully agree that e-commerce imports contributed to the trade balance deficit. Because, traders who sell offline also import consumer goods. "Yes and no ( e-commerce contributes to the trade balance deficit). Yes, if the model is Business to Business (BTOB) and bring goods from abroad, "he said at Blibli.com's 8th Anniversary event in Jakarta, Friday (26/7).

Soon Indonesia will have a Personal Data Protection Act Katadata 25th Jul 2019
The Ministry of Communication and Information together with the House of Representatives (DPR) have discussed the draft Personal Data Protection Act (PDP Bill). The ministry is optimistic that the regulation will be launched soon. Director General of Informatics Applications (Aptika) Ministry of Communication and Information Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan said, several related ministers had signed the bill. "Harmonization has been done. Only need reviews from related institutions, "he told Katadata.co.id , Thursday (7/25).

Govt completes personal data protection bill amid privacy concerns The Jakarta Post 25th Jul 2019
The Communications and Information Ministry has completed the personal data protection bill, pushing closer to a more stringent electronic data law in the country. The ministry’s information applications director general, Semuel Pangerapan, said that the bill had been drawn up by the relevant ministries and state institutions and that he expected the bill to soon be approved by the House of Representatives (DPR). 

Indonesia also to tax ads, trading in social media The Jakarta Post 24th Jul 2019
The Taxation Directorate General is now preparing a mechanism to collect taxes from all activities in the digital economy, not only trading in marketplaces, but also all activities in social media and other platforms, including financial technology (fintech). Communication and information technology transformation director Iwan Djuniardi said the directorate was now working on data analysis of the digital economy, so that the tax potential in digital economy activities could be mapped easily.

Tech risks urge tighter financial cybersecurity The Jakarta Post 22nd Jul 2019
Financial institutions are urged to gear up to anticipate future digital hazards as a recent technical glitch shakes the industry. Over the weekend, an error in state-owned lender Bank Mandiri’s system puzzled customers as they found out the balance of their bank accounts had shrunk or mysteriously multiplied. The bank later apologized and explained that data relocation during system maintenance at the time had caused the data glitch.

Laos

Lao delegates push for regional media cooperation Vientiane Times 24th Jul 2019
Lao delegates have voiced their support for greater regional media cooperation towards a better future, while attending the Asean-China High Level Conference on Media Cooperation in Jakarta, Indonesia. Speaking at the conference on Tuesday, Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Savankhone Razmountry, said Laos strongly supports and promotes the development of the media so that it gradually becomes more proficient.

Laos Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband Market Growth Analysis Financial Planning 24 19th Jul 2019
The telecom sector in Laos still has numerous issues to address. For a number of years, the rate of regulatory reform has been well behind wider industry development. However, Laos has started to make significant progress in strengthening of its telecommunications infrastructure. As a result, it attracted more foreign investment into the sector.

Laos Moves to Register Private Online News Sites in a Bid to Control ‘Fake News’ Radio Free Asia 19th Jul 2019
Government authorities in Laos have ordered the administrators of news outlets carried on Facebook and other social media platforms to register their accounts or face jail time and fines, sources in the communist Southeast Asian country say. The move comes as Lao residents have increasingly abandoned state-controlled news sources in recent years and are turning more to the internet and social media to get news not previously screened by the communist government’s censors.

Malaysia

5G network service to be implemented by 1H20, says Gobind The Malaysian Reserve 1st Aug 2019
The 5G network service will soon be a reality in Malaysia by the first half of next year (1H20), depending on the testbed demonstrations in five states — Selangor, Perak, Terengganu, the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Kedah. According to Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo (picture), a total of RM50 million have been contributed by the private sector for the testbeds in these states.

Govt aims to establish robotics hub by year-end The Malaysian Reserve 1st Aug 2019
The government, through the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and its agency, Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii), aims to establish a robotics hub by year-end. MARii CEO Datuk Madani Sahari (picture) said the hub will promote the development of robotics, both hardware and software, including the back-end as well as the interface to robotic applications.

Mida gives 187 firms tax incentives to move into automation Free Malaysia Today 1st Aug 2019
The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) has approved 187 applications for tax incentives from labour-intensive industries venturing into automation. Mida’s strategic planning and development senior executive director Ahmad Khairuddin Abdul Rahim said 212 applications had been received and that another 25 were pending approval.

Disruption, network problems remain top telco issues The Malaysian Reserve 1st Aug 2019
Telecommunication services disruption and network problems drew the highest number of complaints from the public for the first six months of the year, the Communications and Multimedia Consumer Forum of Malaysia (CFM) said yesterday. Deputy chairman Mohamad Yusrizal Yusoff (picture) said there were 1,938 complaints on service disruptions and network issues from January to June this year, the top complaint received for the fourth year running.

Getting SMEs to join e-commerce is a challenge, says MITI deputy minister The Malaysian Reserve 31st Jul 2019
Getting small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to be part of the e-commerce ecosystem remains one of the main challenges for the government. Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Deputy Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming said the government is embarking on initiatives that could build the e-commerce ecosystem via various business opportunities.

Report: Astro to gain from anti-piracy measures The Star Online 23rd Jul 2019
After pushing Internet service providers (ISP) to lower broadband prices last year, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is said to be focused on combating content piracy this year. According to Maybank Investment Bank (IB) Research, the regulator is in talks with ISPs to deny Internet access to Android TV boxes - a move that will ultimately benefit players such as Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd.

Govt reassures data protection on digital economy expansion, says Gobind The Malaysian Reserve 23rd Jul 2019
THE government will strengthen the security of digital economy as the nation embraces Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0). Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo (picture) said with the dynamic nature of technology, the government must constantly study ways to strengthen its current security measures. “I think we are ready and capable of dealing with security. Of course, one of the main focus areas is data protection and one thing that most people are concerned about is privacy,” he told reporters at the Macrokiosk Townhall Session in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Malaysia to expand 5G testbed areas to five more states SoyaCincau 29th Jul 2019
Gobind Singh, the Malaysian Minister for Communications and Multimedia has announced that the 5G testbed areas will be expanded beyond Putrajaya and Cyberjaya. This will include five more states such as Selangor, Perak, Terengganu, Kuala Lumpur and Kedah. Just last week, Celcom has announced its 5G live cluster field trial which will cover an area of 1.22 sq km for a period of six months. This will cover PJ Seksyen 14, Menara Celcom, Crystal Crown Hotel, MBPJ Tower and Taman Jaya LRT station. With this announcement, we can expect similar trials to be conducted in more states very soon.

Myanmar

Mytel fined K300m, Telenor and another telecom company warned for violations Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 29th Jul 2019
Telecom International Myanmar Co Ltd (Mytel) has been fined K300 million for discipline violations,  while Telenor Myanmar Limited and Amara Communication Co Ltd have faced warnings, according to the Directorate of Telecommunications. Mytel was fined for violating the rules and disciplines included in the pricing and tariff regulatory framework. 

Myanmar Govt to Launch Satellite, Improve Communications The Irrawaddy 31st Jul 2019
Myanmar is planning to launch its own satellite system, Myanmar Sat 2, next week; the satellite is expected to provide a better communication system across the country, according to a communications ministry engineer. Chief Engineer of the Ministry of Transport and Communications’ Information Technology and Cyber Security Department U Win Aung told the government newspaper that the satellite will provide a high-speed communication system across the country, including far-flung areas. The satellite will reinforce the capacity of communication operators particularly in mobile and internet networks, he said.

Philippines

US, PH sign 10-year pact on science and technology The Manila Times 1st Aug 2019
US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim and Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Peña signed an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation at the close of the Bilateral Strategic Dialogue on July 16. Under the agreement, the two nations commit to promote scientific collaboration, build relationships between their respective scientific institutions and communities, and provide opportunities to exchange ideas and information in order to advance common goals.

Give Duterte emergency powers to resolve slow internet speed Politiko 1st Aug 2019
President Rodrigo Duterte should be given emergency powers to finally resolve the poor internet service being rendered by giant telco companies, House Ways and Means Committee chair Joey Salceda said. Salceda said the Philippines has remained “the cellar-staying laggard in terms of internet speed and affordability” and the Congress should render emergency powers to Mr. Duterte “authority to adopt measures that would address the problem of poor and inadequate telecommunication infrastructure resulting in slow internet speed.”

PHSAT Expands Connectivity in Philippines With Hughes Jupiter System Via Satellite 31st Jul 2019
PHSAT Telecom Solutions chose the Hughes Network Systems‘ Jupiter System to enable internet services for its Small-to-Medium Enterprise (SME) customers. PHSAT, providing domestic and international telecommunication services to businesses throughout the Philippines, selected the Jupiter System to help improve the efficiency and performance of satellite broadband services to its customer base while laying the foundation for future 4G implementations.

Duterte hits the jackpot as China fuels online gambling boom Nikkei Asian Review 29th Jul 2019
Dancing showgirls in bunny outfits, women in barely-there minidresses draped over 200-odd exhibition booths, and a colorful crowd of 30,000 gaming identities crammed into a Manila Bay convention center. Welcome to the coming-out party earlier this month for the Philippines' offshore gaming industry.

NOW Telecom inks deal for fiber rollout PhilStar 27th Jul 2019
NOW Telecom Co. Inc., an affiliate of publicly-listed NOW Corp., has entered into a partnership with a Singapore-based company for the rollout of a shared fiber optic cable network that will support the government’s National Broadband Program. NOW told the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday that its affiliate has executed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Philippine Fiber Optic Cable Network Ltd. Inc. (PFOCN).

SSS vows to hasten digitalization process BusinessMirror 26th Jul 2019
THE Social Security System (SSS) has vowed to hasten the digitalization of its core and business processes to streamline further its processes in line with the ease of doing business law. In a statement issued on Thursday, SSS President and CEO Aurora C. Ignacio was quoted as saying she aims to fast-track the full computerization of the pension fund’s core and business processes under her term.

PLDT: No launching of 5G service in 2019 The Manila Times Online 19th Jul 2019
PLDT Inc. is deferring the rollout of fifth generation (5G) services for its home and enterprise subscribers next year pending the selection of the network’s technology vendor, its top official said on Thursday. “I don’t think it will happen this year but certainly… next year… early next year,” PLDT Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said at the media launch of the Philippine Digital Convention 2019 in Pasay City.

DOST pitches PHL resort to science diplomacy BusinessMirror 19th Jul 2019
THE Philippines can resort to “Science Diplomacy” in order to meet its commitments in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Science Secretary Fortunato de la Peña told BusinessMirror that forging ties is needed mainly because of the common development challenges that countries face. De la Peña said countries like the Philippines can also benefit fromthese partnerships by tapping into the expertise of various countries.

Singapore

Singapore Telcos Demand Rethink of 5G Standalone Plan Light Reading 1st Aug 2019
Singapore's biggest operators are pushing back against the government's ambitious plan to launch 5G with standalone networks next year. SingTel, the biggest local operator, has told regulator IMDA that "there is no confirmed roadmap for chipset and network equipment for mmWave devices on a [standalone] 5G network architecture." In launching a consultation on 5G licensing in May, the IMDA stipulated that to "achieve the full benefits of 5G, standalone 5G networks that do not ride on existing 4G networks will be required."

SSA Forms Digital Transformation Committee MarineLink 31st Jul 2019
The Singapore Shipping Association (SSA)—the industry voice of Singapore’s maritime community—today organized its inaugural Tech and Demo Day, during which it announced the formation of a new Digital Transformation Committee. The association said that the Tech and Demo Day aims to help shipping companies—including the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)—catalyze their adoption of technological innovations by bridging the industry with technology start-ups.

Singapore launches program to attract talent in 'frontier technologies' Nikkei Asian Review 31st Jul 2019
Singapore will pilot a program called Tech@SG to help high-potential tech companies grow in Singapore and expand in the region. Tech@SG is a collaboration between the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Enterprise Singapore. It is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2019.

IMDA and NRF injects $40m to boost 5G initiatives Singapore Business Review 29th Jul 2019
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and National Research Foundation (NRF) have set aside $40m to push through 5G technology trials for enterprise use-cases and to create a series of new open testbeds. The initiative also aims to boost R&D efforts in 5G, which is looking to enhance cybersecurity as well. IMDA will explore clusters such as maritime operations, urban mobility, smart estates, Industry 4.0, consumer applications and government applications.

Pilot programme to help tech firms in S'pore recruit talent Bangkok Post 31st Jul 2019
Technology companies in Singapore may soon find it easier to woo tech professionals from around the world into their teams to build expertise and expand their presence in the region. The Economic Development Board (EDB) and Enterprise Singapore announced on Tuesday a two-year pilot programme — Tech@SG — which aims to provide “high-potential” tech firms access to business networks and the talent needed to set up new teams in Singapore, TODAY reported on Wednesday. The pilot, which will start in the fourth quarter of this year, targets companies in growth areas such as digital, medtech, biotech, cleantech, agritech and fintech.  Qualifying firms will have the Employment Pass (EP) applications of “core team members” facilitated under the programme, the agencies said. These include professionals with skills in “frontier technology” such as Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things.etitive.

Thailand

NBTC looks to allay fears over conduit monopoly Bangkok Post 1st Aug 2019
The telecom regulator is assuaging concerns about a monopoly firm controlling the 20-billion-baht underground cable conduits project, saying city hall's business arm Krungthep Thanakom Co (KT) would be responsible for investing in and operating the scheme. Telecoms voiced their concern after reports that KT had granted True Corporation the right to operate the project, something critics say would give the company an advantage over other telecom operators. True has dismissed the allegation.

China’s Huawei to host IoT summit in Bangkok The Nation Thailand 1st Aug 2019
The Thailand IoT Industry Summit 2019 will be held in Bangkok‪ on August 7.‬ The summit, under the theme “IoT, the Engine of Thailand 4.0 to Drive the Digital Economy”, will bring together government officials, international organisations and industry experts to share IoT innovations, and explore their contributions to the Thailand 4.0 initiative and the digital economy.

Smart city scheme tempts 20 candidates Bangkok Post 31st Jul 2019
Twenty cities in nine provinces have submitted proposals to apply for the government's smart city project, according to the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa). The nine provinces are Phuket, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Bangkok, Chon Buri, Rayong, Chachoengsao, Yala and Nakhon Ratchasima. Depa president Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin said the National Smart City Committee has opened the door to cities that want to join the scheme to submit their proposals for evaluation and approval since May. He said these cities need to meet five criterion: have clear geographical boundaries and smart city goals; have infrastructure investment and a development plan; have a design for an open and secure city data platform; provide smart city solutions; and have a sustainable management model.

NBTC seeks band recall for 5G service The Nation Thailand 30th Jul 2019
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will propose to the board a partial recall of satellite spectrum band 3400-3700MHz, for reallocation to provide 5G service. The band is currently occupied by Thaicom, the operator of Thaicom satellites.  NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said today (July 30) that he would ask the board to recall the band from the Digital Economy and Society Ministry, which granted it to Thaicom for the company's satellite services.

NBTC: New ratings system costly Bangkok Post 26th Jul 2019
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has conceded the inclusion of online platforms in the new system for TV viewership ratings would be expensive to survey. Yesterday, the broadcasting regulator held a meeting with concerned parties, ranging from TV digital operators and media agencies to rating surveyors, to gauge their opinions about the new system for ratings. "The new ratings system must reflect what people are actually watching to help broadcasters survive," said Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the NBTC. The NBTC wants to combine TV viewing via all platforms in the new system, including terrestrial digital TV, satellite TV and over-the-top platforms, such as YouTube and Netflix, showing the results in real time.

Depa project gets backing from 14 firms Bangkok Post 24th Jul 2019
Fourteen companies will provide financial support for the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) to help support the country's technology and innovation development. These 14 partners include PTT Group, Advanced Info Service, Total Access Communication, True Corporation, Krung Thai Bank and Toyota Thailand, said Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin, president and chief executive of the Depa. They will be working with Depa under the "Digital Economy Go 2Gether" project, meant to serve as a strong network of partners who share a common goal of driving digital technology and innovation in the country. Each will provide Depa with 150,000 baht a year to help it mobilise the digital economy. They will also work with the Depa to boost digital development in the economy, society, culture and security, pushing forward digital infrastructure and enhancing manpower skills in this area.

Digital asset scope may grow Bangkok Post 23rd Jul 2019
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is conducting a public hearing to expand the scope of businesses under the digital asset royal decree. Digital asset advisers and digital asset fund managers are the additional businesses pending official approval, said the SEC statement. These businesses are categorised into two types: digital tokens and cryptocurrency. Existing operating licences under the digital asset royal decree cover digital asset exchanges, digital asset traders and digital asset dealers.

Vietnam

Facebook-like social media app launched in Việt Nam vietnamnews.vn 29th Jul 2019
Gapo Technology JSC on Tuesday officially launched a “made in Việt Nam” social network, called Gapo, in an effort to shift users to a local platform amid a strong presence of global players in the market. The mobile app lets users create personal profiles, upload video, images and share posts to a Facebook style “news feed”. It also has functions of livestream and blogging. In addition, it allows users to identify accounts to protect information, pay online or use public services.

Sandbox regulations to be sumitted for approval in Q3 vietnamnews.vn 29th Jul 2019
The legal framework on sandbox development will be submitted to the Government for approval in the third quarter of the year to foster new models of business and service. A sandbox is a space where new financial technology products are developed and tested. When tested, any mistakes and errors may appear and they will be fixed at once to make sure the applications are of good quality for practical usage.

PM calls for stronger efforts to build e-Government The Saigon Times 29th Jul 2019
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged ministries, agencies and localities to make more efforts to accelerate the building of the nation’s e-Government, with a vision toward developing a digital Government and digital economy. At a teleconference on the development of e-Government today, July 23, PM Phuc, who is also chairman of the National E-Government Committee, stressed the determination to develop e-Government services, the Government news site reported.

HCMC taxman resolved to tax online vendors The Saigon Times 29th Jul 2019
The HCMC Tax Department will continue to look for new ways to collect taxes from individuals and organizations selling goods and services on social networks, said Nguyen Nam Binh, the deputy head of the department. Binh told Lao Dong newspaper that despite the department’s strong efforts towards collecting taxes from online vendors, previous solutions have proved ineffective. Therefore, the department is working out more efficient solutions to force online traders to make tax declarations and payments.

Vietnam quietly avoids Huawei in building 5G network Bangkok Post 29th Jul 2019
The battle for technological dominance between the United States and China is splitting the world in two, though not always along the lines you might expect. US allies like Britain and Germany have signalled that they are unlikely to back Washington’s effort to stop countries from working with Chinese technology giant Huawei, which US officials call a Trojan Horse for Beijing’s cyberspies. Australia has barred it from building its next-generation 5G cellphone networks, even though its economy depends on China’s appetite for natural resources. South Korea and the Philippines have not, despite past frictions with China.

Huge opportunities await foreign telco investors VietNamNet 27th Jul 2019
Vietnam’s telecommunications market has, in one sense, become saturated in recent years. The latest information available reveals that total revenue in the industry decreased from $8.4 billion in 2012 to $7.4 billion in 2013. In 2015, it dropped to $6 billion and then rose slightly to $6.1 billion in 2016. These trends continue. In 2016, the number of mobile subscribers exceeded the population (139 mobile subscribers per 100 people). The three largest operators account for more than 90 per cent of market share in mobile services and broadband services.

VN banks undergoing digital transformation VietNamNet 31st Jul 2019
Customers and clients are increasingly comparing their banking experiences with their “best-of-life” experiences, as banking should be as easy and as seamless as hailing an online taxi. As a result, banks are significantly accelerating their speed to market with new digital products, features, and capabilities by deploying new technology and using an agile operating methodology to do so. Citi, for example, spends over $8 billion on technology every year A digital leader, Citi comes at this from many different angles, actively building, partnering, and buying capabilities as it makes sense to create the most compelling value propositions and solutions for our customers and clients.