ICT Update: October 10, 2019

ICT Update | October 10, 2019
Authors: Ella Duangkaew, Jamie Lim and Taylor Dumaine
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

October 16 SGT: 3rd Planning Call for 2019 TELMIN Business Mission: The US-ASEAN Business Council will be having our third planning call for our Business Mission to the ASEAN TELMIN. Register for the call here. For any questions contact Jamie Lim (jlim@usasean.org) or Ella Duangkaew (eduangkaew@usasean.org). 

October 23-25: 2019 Business Mission to the 19th ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers Meeting: The Council will be leading our third annual Business Mission to the TELMIN from October 23 to 25 in Vientiane, Laos. Registration has passed, but please contact Ella Duangkaew  (eduangkaew@usasea.org) or Jamie Lim (jlim@usasean.org) if you would still like to register

November 1 SGT: Monthly ICT Committee Meeting: The Council will be having out monthly ICT Committee call on November 1 9:30AM SGT (October 31 9:30PM ET). Register for the call here. Please contact Jamie Lim (jlim@usasean.org) or Ella Duangkaew (eduangkaew@usasean.org) with any questions. 

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Malaysia to Study Laws on Internet Regulation and Personal Data Protection

On October 6, Minister of Malaysia’s Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM), Gobind Singh, stated that many laws on internet regulation and personal data protection are under review. Minister Singh said that he will propose the formation of a parliamentary select committee dedicated to the misuse of the internet. The review is focused on the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA), and more specifically Section 233 of the CMA. This section of the law criminalizes the improper use of network facilities or services to say “offensive” statements with the intent to “annoy” another person, and penalties for violating this code are a maximum one-year jail term or RM 50,000 fine.  Many people have criticized this law due to potential abuse to silence political dissent or criticism. Minister Gobind spoke about plans to prevent arbitrary prosecution, including requiring “proof of intent” for prosecution.

Additionally, Malaysia plans to set up a bipartisan parliamentary panel to analyze how existing laws can be used to tackle fake news in the wake of repealing the Anti-Fake News Act (AFNA), and taking input on the subject. While Malaysia is still looking to address fake news in the country, it is taking a much more business-friendly approach to the problem compared with its neighbors. The KKMM is also currently reviewing the Personal Data Protection Act 2010, and taking input and recommendations from media and other stakeholders. Amendments to the act are expected to be before Parliament by mid-2020. Many countries throughout the region are implementing increasingly restrictive regulations on technology companies in an attempt to protect personal data. Certain provisions, such as data localization, do very little to increase data security while simultaneously placing an increased burden on business. Businesses operating in Malaysia stand to benefit from the proposed revisions to the act.

As an upper-middle-income country, Malaysia is an important market in Southeast Asia. The current momentum in revising laws on internet regulation and personal data protection will improve the business environment and spur investment. Laws such as Vietnam’s Amendments to Decree 06/2016, which extend the legacy broadcast regulation to cover OTT (Over-the-Top) services, are part of a larger wave of regulations that are placing increasing restrictions on businesses. Malaysia’s more business-friendly revisions may be able to show other countries in the region that deregulation can positively impact the ASEAN economy.

Singapore’s Fake News Law to Go in to Effect on October 2

On October 2, Singapore’s Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) went in to affect. The law, passed in May, gives every Minister the power to declare content false and demand that it be removed or have corrections published. Those found guilty of spreading fake news face a fine of S$100,000 for individuals and S$1 million for companies. Violators can appeal the decision of a Minister to the High Court. Prior to passage, there was much debate on the appeals process to ensure the Law is efficient and not cost prohibitive for individuals. People found in violation of the legislation will be able to file an appeal for S$200, and the appeal can be as fast as nine days. For more information on the development of the Law, see our past ICT Updates here and here.

Local independent media companies have fears that the new law will be used to control political discourse and censor dissenting opinions. Many technology companies have voiced concerns over the legislation, although it is not expected to affect their investment in the city-state. Some technology companies have been granted a temporary exemption in order to implement the proper technology required for compliance. Under the new law, companies may be required to confirm the identity of anyone who wants to put up paid political content. Companies may also be required to disclose the paid political content to the public. Many industry players have vowed to work with the government on implementation of the law and hope that enforcement is transparent and fair.

Many countries throughout the region have proposed laws and policies to combat fake news and misinformation. In Thailand, the government plans to open an anti-fake news center by November. Other counties such as Cambodia and Indonesia are in the process of developing similar laws to tackle fake news. Singapore is the first country in Southeast Asia to pass such broad legislation and could encourage other countries to pursue similar legislation. Fake news laws have the potential to place a large burden on businesses to regulate content, particularly if the penalties for non-compliance and false information on their platform are as steep as those in POFMA. Singapore’s legislation may set a dangerous foundation for content regulation and potential censorship in the region.

The Philippines Proposes Bill to Expand Powers of the National Telecommunication Commission

As of October 2, a Bill has been introduced into the Philippines House of Representatives that would expand the powers of the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC), giving the commission the ability to impose fines and sanctions on the telecommunications industry. Specifically, the NTC would be able to punish violations to the Republic Act 7925 (Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines), which privatized the telecommunications industry. The NTC claims that the existing law makes it difficult to regulate internet services. The NTC is currently the enforcement body for the three telecommunications providers operating in the Philippines, but does not have the power to impose fines or sanctions for its rulings against violators. These expanded powers will give the NTC more enforcement power over the existing telecommunications companies.

Spectrum allocation has been noted as needing reform and increased regulation as there are many unpaid and unused frequencies, leading to dead spots around the country. Secretary of Information and Communications Technology Gregorio Honasan has stated that the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will allow a fourth and fifth telecommunications company to begin operation soon. The NTC hopes to redistribute the unused frequencies to these companies in the near future with the goal to increase efficiency.

The Philippines would be the first country in the region to grant these sort of regulatory powers to a body underneath the Ministry as opposed to the Ministry itself. There country is at an opportune time as the expansion of the telecommunications sector opens up new opportunities for business, and as access and connectivity continue to grow across the archipelago. Thus, it will be critical for NTC, if granted these unprecedented responsibilities as a body underneath a Ministry, to ensure that it imposes fines and sanctions in a fair and transparent manner that continues to enable the continued growth of the telco sector in the Philippines.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Cancellation of the Indonesia draft Cybersecurity Bill 

On September 27, the Indonesia House of Representatives (DPR) officially announced the cancellation of the Cybersecurity and Resilience Bill. Initially due in September 2019, the Bill has received feedback from the Council, local associations and other entities on the draft.  

Jointly with other associations, the Council has conveyed our member companies’ input on the Draft Bill to expert Parliament staff – particularly on product certification, licensing of service providers, and local content requirements, among others. Moreover, an increase in online media and social media campaigns actively advocated to postpone and improve the Bill. 

Though the Cybersecurity Bill was dropped, US-ABC and BSA| the Software Alliance will continue to monitor any future drafts an advocate for alignment with international best practices and standards on innovation and investment, while ensuring safety against cyber-attacks towards Indonesian consumers. 

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Brunei
Inputs sought for 5G Plan of Action

Cambodia
NA approves e-commerce draft law

Indonesia
Preparing Indonesia’s youth for 4IR
How technology will drive Indonesia's digital economy to new highs in 2020
Indonesia’s digital economy 'well on track' to dominate Southeast Asia
Indonesia On Track for $133b Digital Economy by 2025: Google
From tech to automotive classes, government wants more industry training at vocational schools
Mixed signals: as Indonesia's 5G race heats up, government says 'no rush'
Data Protection and Cybersecurity in Indonesia: Sensitive Data
Cybersecurity Bill Postponed Until House's Next Term

Laos
Viettel to test 5G broadcast in Laos

Malaysia
Malaysia Parliament passes law to scrap anti-fake news law again, abolishing it end of year
Anti-Fake News (Repeal) Bill re-tabled in Parliament
Malaysia: Current laws enough to deal with fake news
Malaysia to be among first in Asia to roll-out 5G demo projects
Gobind: Laws on internet regulation, personal data protection under study
Malaysia to be among first in Asia to roll out 5G demo projects
E-commerce players want extra incentives in Budget 2020
5G demonstration projects begin tomorrow in KL and 5 states
Digital tax can rake in RM2.4bil a year

Myanmar
Group wants to teach public how to stay safe online
Change to Unicode expected to boost e-government plan

Philippines
Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines named as likely 5G laggards
NOAH unveils business applications for controllership
Fitch: Affordable handsets needed for 5G takeoff
Study cites PHL’s digital economy potential
Trendy global online marketplace to help Philippine business owners grow their business
Automation likely to impact 18 Million PHL jobs
PH ranks very poor in OTT voice
House bill seeks to expand NTC enforcement powers
Filipino AI developers seeks end to frustration with the usual chatbot
PLDT to upgrade network in Cauayan City
DICT eyes regulating P36-B freight industry

Singapore
Singapore's Economic Development Board Focuses on Deep Tech
Cyber-security industry needs more women, urges Sim Ann
Singapore to decide what’s fake and what’s real
Universities play key role in harnessing technology, preparing 'world-ready' graduates: SM Teo
Companies should upgrade workers' skills to be ready for Industry 4.0: NTUC
Singapore's fake news law to come into effect Oct 2
S'pore firms must compete on innovation and quality: Chan
Technology, tourism among areas of interest in strengthening Singapore-India ties: DPM Heng

Thailand
WiFi rule sparks call for change
Blockchain and efficient government
Data centres in the spotlight
State agencies to become digitalised by 2022
Cabinet greenlights B24.6bn research budget
Adopt economies of intelligence or fall behind, Thai industry warned
New IoT devices considered to prevent crime, make roads safer
Bangkok occupies 75th place in ranking of smart cities
Digital Economy Fund expedience mandated
Thailand positions as trading hub for laboratory equipment
Thailand opens new I&T and entrepreneurship centre
AIT opens entrepreneur centre

Vietnam
How governments can manage the risks of digitalisation without hindering innovation
Smart city challenges Gov’t and localities
Việt Nam, Indonesia lead ASEAN in internet economy growth
Virtual telecom operators eye opportunities in Việt Nam
Việt Nam ready to embrace Industry 4.0
Politburo wants digital economy to account for 30% of GDP by 2030
Border provinces should develop economic connectivity system: PM
Vietnamese exporters urged to take advantage of e-commerce platform
4.0 Summit driving digital transformation
New drive in smart city development
Finance Ministry to tighten control of cross-border retail activities
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Brunei

Inputs sought for 5G Plan of Action Borneo Bulletin Online 5th Oct 2019
The Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) is conducting a public consultation on AITI’s 5G Plan of Action. This exercise aims to seek views from stakeholders and members of the public interested to contribute to the consultation paper on AITI’s 5G Plan of Action. Over the years, mobile technology is constantly evolving to keep up with the growing demand for data. 5G technology will bring about capabilities of handling traffic 1,000 times more than today’s networks with speeds that is 10 times faster than what we experience by using 4G technology today. However, this fifth generation technology is not just an extension of existing technologies but a system of systems which offers endless opportunities for innovation towards adoption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Cambodia

NA approves e-commerce draft law Phnom Penh Post 9th Oct 2019
The National Assembly on Tuesday approved the Kingdom’s draft law on e-commerce. The draft, which was prepared by the Ministry of Commerce with assistance from the Asian Development Bank, aims to regulate the Kingdom’s e-commerce in line with the international community, a National Assembly statement explained. It is expected to provide increased opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to connect their supply chains to domestic and international markets, and promote innovation and the creation of more goods and services, the statement continued.

Indonesia

Preparing Indonesia’s youth for 4IR The ASEAN Post 9th Oct 2019
Based on a recent figure by SHARE, a flagship project of the ASEAN Education Sector, there are 7,000 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Southeast Asia with around 12 million students currently being enrolled. To date, Indonesia accounts for at least seven million students in the 4,735 HEIs across the country, according to the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education (MoRTHE).  In the 2019 QS World University Rankings, three of Indonesia’s top HEIs managed to rank in the top 400; University of Indonesia (292), Institute Technology of Bandung (359) and Universitas Gadjah Mada (391). The country also devotes 20 percent of government expenditure to education, allowing it considerable space to grow.

How technology will drive Indonesia's digital economy to new highs in 2020 Tech Wire Asia 9th Oct 2019
DIGITAL transformation has helped businesses in Southeast Asia realize the importance of redefining and revolutionizing their operations with technology. As we inch closer to 2020, the region is gearing up to innovation faster and more effectively. In this economic climate, Indonesia, one of the emerging markets in Southeast Asia, is making headlines. A recent report said that the country’s internet economy is growing incredibly quickly, compared to neighbors such as Malaysia and the Philippines.

Indonesia’s digital economy 'well on track' to dominate Southeast Asia The Jakarta Post 8th Oct 2019
Indonesia’s digital economy is well on track to dominate Southeast Asia as its market value triples to US$130 billion by 2025 from $40 billion in 2019, with e-commerce and ride-hailing sectors spearheading the growth. According to the annual “e-Conomy Southeast Asia” study, conducted by American tech giant Google, Singaporean holding company Temasek and management consulting firm Bain & Company, the e-commerce and ride-hailing sectors are firing on all cylinders with the former growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 88 percent from 2015 to 2019 with a gross merchandise value (GMV) of $21 billion and the latter grew at a CAGR of 57 percent with a GMV of $6 billion.

Indonesia On Track for $133b Digital Economy by 2025: Google Jakarta Globe 8th Oct 2019
Tech giant Google and Singaporean wealth fund Temasek have updated their projection for Indonesia's internet economy to reach $133 billion in total value by 2025, 33 percent higher than previously estimated. Expansion of e-commerce to smaller cities and rural areas and growing adoption of digital payment services will drive most of the growth.  The figure was mentioned in a report titled "e-Conomy SEA 2019: Swipe Up and to The Right, Southeast Asia's $100 Billion Internet Economy," prepared in collaboration with consulting firm Bain & Company.  It also shows that Indonesian e-commerce will be worth a total of $82 billion by 2025, making up almost two-thirds of the country's digital economy. 

From tech to automotive classes, government wants more industry training at vocational schools The Jakarta Post 8th Oct 2019
More activities are expected at SMK 2 Bangkalan state vocational school in Madura, East Java, after the school sealed a partnership with Honda motorcycle distributor Mitra Pinasthika Mulia. “Under this partnership, we’ve been entrusted to open a services unit, namely the AHASS Workshop Partner, in the school area,” SMK 2 public relations deputy head M. Fakhrur Rohman told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday. “On that basis, people who own Honda motorcycles can get routine maintenance work done at our school’s workshop,” he added.

Mixed signals: as Indonesia's 5G race heats up, government says 'no rush' Nikkei Asian Review 2nd Oct 2019
When Indonesian mobile operator XL Axiata showed off its latest 5G technology at a recent event, it added a bit of showmanship to the proceedings: during an onstage interview with the country's communications minister, Axiata's director for technology "joined" him as a holographic projection. "We continue to prepare ourselves to adopt 5G technology. Our preparations are very serious across all aspects," Axiata's Yessie Yosetya told the audience at the event in Jakarta in late August. XL Axiata, Indonesia's second-largest mobile operator by subscriber numbers, is not the only player that is serious about 5G development in one of South East Asia's biggest markets. Drawn by Indonesia's tech startup dynamism, industry giants such as Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia are also piling in.

Data Protection and Cybersecurity in Indonesia: Sensitive Data SSEK 30th Sep 2019
Indoensia’s Electronic Information Law, Government Regulation 82 regarding the Implementation of Electronic Systems and Transactions, and MOCI Regulation 20 regarding the Pro­tection of Personal Data in Electronic Systems (jointly referred to as the PDP Regulations) do not provide a specific definition of sensitive data, and consequently no special issues apply. There are, however, several laws in a number of specific areas that indirectly deal with data privacy relating to financial, health and communications data.

Cybersecurity Bill Postponed Until House's Next Term Jakarta Globe 30th Sep 2019
The House of Representatives has postponed its plan to pass the cybersecurity and defense bill, leaving it to the new term of the national legislature, set to start next month.

Laos

Viettel to test 5G broadcast in Laos VnExpress International 8th Oct 2019
Its Laos subsidiary, Unitel, will be the first network operator in the country to broadcast 5G, Viettel said in a release Tuesday. Unitel has been active in Laos for 13 years and is now the biggest network operator here with over 3 million subscribers, which accounts for 56 percent of the country’s telecom market. Viettel’s Myanmar unit, Mytel, tested its 5G broadcast in Yangon in August, while its unit in Cambodia, Metfone, did so in Phnom Penh in July.

Malaysia

Malaysia Parliament passes law to scrap anti-fake news law again, abolishing it end of year The Straits Times 9th Oct 2019
The Malaysian Parliament on Wednesday (Oct 9) voted to repeal the Anti-Fake News Act (AFNA), the second time the Lower House had done so in just 14 months. The Lower House, which is controlled by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, had attempted to repeal the controversial AFNA - which makes "fake news" a crime - last year. But Malaysia's Upper House, or the Senate, which is controlled by the opposition Barisan Nasional coalition, had blocked the Bill.

Anti-Fake News (Repeal) Bill re-tabled in Parliament Malay Mail 7th Oct 2019
The government today re-tabled the Anti-Fake News (Repeal) Bill 2019 in the Dewan Rakyat. The government first tabled the Bill in September last year and it got past the Dewan Rakyat but was rejected by the Dewan Negara. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong re-tabled the Bill for first reading before Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Yusof. Debate of the Bill for second reading is also expected to be done at this sitting of the Dewan Rakyat, which is scheduled to end on December 5. The Bill seeks to repeal the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 (Act 803) which was passed by Parliament during the previous (Barisan Nasional) administration.

Malaysia: Current laws enough to deal with fake news The Straits Times 7th Oct 2019
Malaysia is poised to set up a bipartisan parliamentary panel to look into how to deal with fake news using current laws or other methods, as it goes ahead with repealing the Anti-Fake News Act (AFNA). The Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition came into power after the May 2018 election, promising to do away with a raft of laws it claims were put in place to suppress freedom under the six-decade-long Barisan Nasional regime.

Malaysia to be among first in Asia to roll-out 5G demo projects Borneo Bulletin Online 7th Oct 2019
Malaysia is set to be among the first in Asia to deploy the fifth generation network (5G) technology with the nationwide roll-out of 5G project demonstrations next month. However, GSM Association (GSMA) director-general Mats Granryd said Malaysia should take gradual and cautious steps in embarking on 5G to have more room and time to experiment and learn from countries which are already in the advanced phase of the 5G roll-out.

Gobind: Laws on internet regulation, personal data protection under study Malay Mail 6th Oct 2019
Minister Gobind Singh Deo has that studies are ongoing to possibly review various laws on internet regulation and to protect personal data. In an interview with local daily The Star, the communications and multimedia minister said he will propose a parliamentary select committee relating to misuse of the Internet when Dewan Rakyat reconvenes. Gobind said the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) was still required as it gives the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) the necessary legal powers to carry out investigations.

Malaysia to be among first in Asia to roll out 5G demo projects Malay Mail 6th Oct 2019
Malaysia is set to be among the first in Asia to deploy the fifth generation network (5G) technology with the nationwide roll-out of 5G project demonstrations next month. However, GSM Association (GSMA) director-general Mats Granryd said Malaysia should take gradual and cautious steps in embarking on 5G to have more room and time to experiment and learn from countries which are already in the advanced phase of the 5G roll-out.

E-commerce players want extra incentives in Budget 2020 NST Online 2nd Oct 2019
E-commerce industry players want extra incentives in Budget 2020 to help the government achieve growth of 20.8 per cent to RM170 billion next year. The industry’s contribution to Malaysia’s gross domestic product has continuously improved over a seven-year period from RM37.7 billion in 2010 to RM85.8 billion in 2017, with an average annual growth rate of 12.5 per cent. Shopback Malaysia country general manager Eddy Han said the cashback platform hoped that policymakers could provide a one-year tax exemption for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that start online operations for the first time, to help them sustain their businesses by investing in training, marketing and talent.

5G demonstration projects begin tomorrow in KL and 5 states NST Online 30th Sep 2019
5G demonstration projects will be rolled out for a period of six months, starting tomorrow until March 30, next year. Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said the projects involved an initial investment of RM116 million by eight telecommunications companies — Maxis, Petronas, Celcom, U Mobile, edotco, Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM), Altel and Digi. MCMC chairman Al-Ishal Ishak said the companies would demonstrate 5G use cases across nine sectors in Kedah, Perak, Penang, Selangor, Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur.

Digital tax can rake in RM2.4bil a year The Star Online 2nd Oct 2019
PETALING JAYA: Tax revenue could increase by more than RM2.4bil a year should foreign digital service providers register for the 6% service tax that is set to be implemented from Jan 1 next year.

Myanmar

Group wants to teach public how to stay safe online The Myanmar Times 8th Oct 2019
U Mike Phone Myint, secretary of the Myanmar Information Security Association, said the campaign was launched in Yangon last week to teach people how to safely use e-commerce, such as online payments and shopping, among others.  Under the theme, Stop, Think, Connect, Myanmar will be the first country to hold the campaign in Southeast Asia with the aim of becoming the first Cyber-Readiness Institute Champion.

Change to Unicode expected to boost e-government plan The Myanmar Times 3rd Oct 2019
“The reason for the delays is that the online application system is weak and people lack skills and knowledge. This has delayed the transition to Unicode by the entire nation,” she said at a ceremony to launch Myanmar’s migration to Unicode in Nay Pyi Taw on Tuesday. The transition to Unicode, an international encoding standard for use with different languages and scripts, is an important part of the E-Government Master Plan. Myanmar was ranked 157th in the e-government development index in 2018, a 12-point increase from 169th in 2016.

Philippines

Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines named as likely 5G laggards Nikkei Asian Review 3rd Oct 2019
Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines will lag behind other Asian countries in the deployment of fifth-generation mobile networks, although Singapore is poised to lead the race, a recent report said. Management consulting firm A.T. Kearney published a report in late September that projected that 5G penetration will reach at most 40% within almost all of the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations by 2025. Singapore will outperform its peers, with an expected penetration rate of close to 60% by 2025. The report said countries like Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines could find themselves in a "lose-lose" situation where 5G is selectively rolled out and enterprises are unwilling to pay a premium for the network. Under this scenario, consumers and businesses would be reluctant to fork out extra cash because they perceive limited benefits over existing 3G or 4G networks. Operators would respond by focusing on recouping their investments in the existing networks, limiting the expansion of 5G infrastructure.

NOAH unveils business applications for controllership The Manila Times 9th Oct 2019
To address the emerging requirements of a digital-focused society, NOAH is offering business applications that could provide organizations with the capability to invoke artificial intelligence by having an end-to-end application software. This was revealed during the “NOAH Business Applications Digital Transformation Forum for Controllership” at the Grand Hyatt Manila hotel in Taguig City on Tuesday. It was third leg of the company’s events about digital transformation, with the first two focusing on digital transformation on real estate and production.

Fitch: Affordable handsets needed for 5G takeoff The Manila Times 9th Oct 2019
AFFORDABLE Fifth Generation (5G)-enabled devices must be in place before telecommunications firms in developing economies, like the Philippines, could capture the masses with prepaid 5G service, Fitch Ratings said. In a report released on Tuesday, the debt watcher said industry giant Globe Telecom Inc. was initially tapping the household market, allowing it to bolster its position in the fixed-broadband space.

Study cites PHL’s digital economy potential Business World 6th Oct 2019
POTENTIAL for developing the Internet economy in the Philippines remains the biggest in Southeast Asia, according to an annual Google-led report that said the region can be expected to breach the $100-billion mark in gross merchandise value (GMV) this year. The 2019 e-Conomy report released on Thursday, which Google conducted in partnership with Temasek Holdings Pte. and Bain & Co., said Southeast Asia’s Internet economy shot up almost 40% to break the $100-billion mark this year. Growth was fueled by online travel, e-commerce, online media and ride hailing sectors. “This pace of growth has exceeded all expectations. At this rate, the Southeast Asian Internet economy is on track to hit $300 billion by 2025, topping our initial projection in 2016 by $100 billion,” it said.

Trendy global online marketplace to help Philippine business owners grow their business BusinessMirror 4th Oct 2019
“The Philippines is a hugely important market for us, and is currently undergoing lots of change to meet the needs of a rapidly growing base of savvy online shoppers,” explained Kevin Kwan, Head of Strategy and Operations for eBay Southeast Asia. “We want to ensure we are well positioned here by offering Filipino SMEs a global brand, a trusted platform, and a local management team to help grow their business.” He added that they are attracting a new generation of online shoppers by featuring tightly curated deals, offering new and seasonal products at friendly prices. In many cases, eBay sellers source their products from other markets so that they can offer brand new global releases not available anywhere else in the Philippines.

Automation likely to impact 18 Million PHL jobs Business World 3rd Oct 2019
AT least 18.2 million jobs are expected to be impacted if the Philippines maximizes its potential for automation, according to management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company. Kaushik Das, McKinsey managing partner for Southeast Asia, said on Wednesday the agriculture and retail & wholesale sectors are likely to take the biggest hit from the next wave of automation. “We looked at all the major sectors in the Philippines that can actually employ (automation)… We see that on average, between 40-50% of jobs will get impacted in the Philippines because of what technology gives… Roughly about 18 million jobs will be impacted,” Mr. Das said at the Decoded Philippines forum at Shangri-La at the Fort, Taguig City.

PH ranks very poor in OTT voice Malaya 3rd Oct 2019
Despite the aggressive network expansion of telecommunication companies, the Philippines’ over-the-top (OTT) voice service on apps such as WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger is considered “very poor,” with most users dissatisfied with the quality of service, according to the latest report of OpenSignal. The State of Mobile Voice App Experience showed that out of 80 countries surveyed worldwide, the Philippines ranked 75th among the lowest score of 62.9 points. The Philippines is however ahead of Ghana with 62.6 points, Cambodia with 62.1 points and Kenya, Libya and Uzbekistan with 61.2, 56.5 and 56.1 points, respectively.The country’s score falls between 60 to 66 points and is considered “very poor,” which means most users are dissatisfied.

House bill seeks to expand NTC enforcement powers Business World 2nd Oct 2019
A LEGISLATOR has filed a bill which seeks to expand the power of the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) to impose fines and sanctions on the telecommunications industry.Representative Michael L. Romero of the 1-Pacman Party-list filed House Bill No. 4886, aiming to give NTC the power to punish violations of Republic Act 7925 or the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines. “My bill amends RA 7925 with a whole set of law enforcement teeth because the 1995 law does not have penalty provisions and no means to hold erring entities and people liable for wrongdoing and not doing when they should have acted decisively,” Mr. Romero said in a statement. Mr. Romero said one particular issue where enforcement capacity is needed is spectrum allocation.

Filipino AI developers seeks end to frustration with the usual chatbot Business World 2nd Oct 2019
In the Philippines, there are more than a million people employed in business process outsourcing (BPO), an industry that makes more than $20 billion a year. Many of these employees are call center agents answering queries and calming down exasperated customers. But Victor is not one of them. Once faced with a question he hasn’t been trained to answer, he simply replies: “I think my human colleagues can answer this for you.” ChatbotPH, a 20-employee company in Pasig City, creates artificial intelligence (AI) units like Victor. Using natural language processing, the bot is trained to understand and respond to human speech. The company collaborates with the client to build a personality for Victor, deciding whether interjections such as “Awesome!” or “Great!” fit the company brand.

PLDT to upgrade network in Cauayan City Business World 30th Sep 2019
PLDT, Inc. and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the Cauayan City government in Isabela province to help boost the latter’s efforts to become a “smart city.” “Under the MoA, PLDT and Smart will upgrade their fixed and mobile network services to transform Cauayan, an agro-industrial hub in Northern Luzon, into a fully fiberized and Smart LTE-powered city that provides efficient digital services to its constituents,” the company said in a statement. PLDT is committing to deliver internet speeds of up to 1 gigabits per second (Gbps) for its fixed broadband network in the area. Existing cell sites are also being upgraded to provide fourth-generation (4G) mobile data services.

DICT eyes regulating P36-B freight industry BusinessMirror 30th Sep 2019
THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has urged  Congress to pass a law regulating freight and courier services in the country, which has now grown to P36 billion. During a recent hearing at the House of Representatives, DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan said Congress should pass a law regulating or institutionalizing freight activities in order to protect customers.

Singapore

Singapore's Economic Development Board Focuses on Deep Tech finews.asia 9th Oct 2019
Deep tech is a key focus area for Singapore's Economic Development Board's investment arm, amongst other sectors that could assist in the country's strategic goals. A third of Economic Development Board Investment (EDBI)'s portfolio is in firms within deep tech at varying growth stages, from Series A to Series C. One recent investment was in San Francisco-based Bright Machines, which enables «programmable and autonomous factories» by providing robotic cells and software,  said Chu Swee Yeok, EDBI's chief executive officer.

Cyber-security industry needs more women, urges Sim Ann The Straits Times 4th Oct 2019
The Republic needs more women to take up positions in cyber security, a sector that is facing a shortfall of talent. Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Sim Ann said more women can be encouraged to join the cyber-security industry and thrive in it. "Given the high demand for cyber-security talent, it would be a pity to draw from only half the population," she said, noting that estimates of the proportion of women in cyber security globally range from as low as 10 per cent to about 25 per cent.

Singapore to decide what’s fake and what’s real Asia Times 4th Oct 2019
Five months after it was passed into law, Singapore’s anti-fake news legislation has taken draconian effect, representing a new threat to online expression and new wrinkle for big technology companies with operations in the city-state. The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act, more commonly known as POFMA, sparked sharp civil society, academia and large tech company criticism ahead of its passage.

Universities play key role in harnessing technology, preparing 'world-ready' graduates: SM Teo The Straits Times 3rd Oct 2019
Universities have a key role to play in harnessing the potential of technology and dealing with its challenges to prepare young people to be "world-ready", said Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean on Thursday (Oct 3) in Brunei. "We will need new scientific and engineering solutions to help combat climate change, cure diseases, strengthen our cyber defences and tackle national security issues," said Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security. To enable graduates to contribute and create new value in whatever career they pursue, universities need to equip them with key attributes.

Companies should upgrade workers' skills to be ready for Industry 4.0: NTUC The Straits Times 3rd Oct 2019
With technology set to disrupt industries, companies should increase their investment in training to ensure their workers are ready for a more automated future. Labour chief Ng Chee Meng said this investment - to prepare workers for Industry 4.0, which will see various sectors impacted by automation - is a win-win for employers and workers. Speaking on Thursday (Oct 3) at an awards dinner hosted by professional services organisation EY, Mr Ng said it is inevitable that technology will disrupt businesses.

Singapore's fake news law to come into effect Oct 2 The Straits Times 1st Oct 2019
It could cost as little as $200 and take as fast as nine days for people to challenge a minister’s decision under Singapore’s fake news laws, which takes effect on Wednesday (Oct 2). The cost and speed of the appeals process, which were among the sticking points at the parliamentary debate on the proposed legislation, have been set out in the subsidiary legislation of the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma).

S'pore firms must compete on innovation and quality: Chan The Straits Times 9th Oct 2019
The multilateral trading system is under stress and Singapore can no longer take its access to overseas markets for granted, said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing yesterday. "This is going to be the new normal," he added. But there remain opportunities for Singapore businesses, which must compete not on price, but on quality and innovation. Speaking at the 25th Business Excellence Awards ceremony at Resorts World Sentosa Convention Centre yesterday, Mr Chan cited the challenges for which Singapore must prepare. He said changes in the global economy would likely result in permanent shifts that have an enduring impact.

Technology, tourism among areas of interest in strengthening Singapore-India ties: DPM Heng CNA 5th Oct 2019
Technology is one of the areas in which Singapore and India can work on together closely, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Friday (Oct 4). Mr Heng was speaking to the media following his four-day visit to India, during which he met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman, and Minister of Railways and Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal. “I think the advances in the fourth industrial revolution, and in particular in the digital revolution, have very significant impact on many different industry sectors and spheres of activity,” he said.

Thailand

WiFi rule sparks call for change Bangkok Post 10th Oct 2019
Activists defending free speech online say they will push for changes to the controversial computer crime law following an uproar over its data retention requirement. Arthit Suriyawongkul, coordinator of Thai Netizen, said the group will mobilise support for the law amendment from the House committee on telecommunications, digital economy and society.

Blockchain and efficient government Bangkok Post 4th Oct 2019
Whenever we talk about blockchain, the applications are usually limited to the private sector. It makes sense: the most famous example of blockchain technology is bitcoin, which many governments oppose. Yet blockchain could change the public sector just as much or even more than it could the private sector. The potential number of uses for blockchain in government is enormous and the number of applications governments around the world currently use it for would surprise you. Eugene McCarthy, a former US senator, once said: "The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty." If you've ever attempted to get a driver's licence, you know this first-hand. But thanks to blockchain, bureaucracy is about to get much more efficient.

Data centres in the spotlight Bangkok Post 30th Sep 2019
Thailand needs more undersea cables and clarity on the Cybersecurity Act (CSA) to serve as a potential digital hub in the Indochina region, says W.Media. Vincent Liew, founder and director of the Singapore-based tech marketing agency, said the CSA could encourage businesses to keep data in the country through the use of local data centres to make auditing the data easier. In Indonesia and Vietnam, the laws oblige cloud providers to only establish data centres in their countries.

State agencies to become digitalised by 2022 Bangkok Post 9th Oct 2019
The government aims to transform all state agencies to become fully digitalised within three years. Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak announced on Wednesday a time frame for the digital government development roadmap (2020-2022) that calls for all government agencies to become fully digitalised. The roadmap is to be submitted to the cabinet to make it official policy.

Cabinet greenlights B24.6bn research budget Bangkok Post 8th Oct 2019
The cabinet has approved a budget of 24.6 billion baht to support research and innovation to transition the country into a fully-fledged technology-based society, according to the National Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Policy Council. The fund, drawn from the current fiscal year budget, will finance projects to realise the goals of achieving a technology-based society. The money will go towards developing manpower and institutions, undertaking research and creating innovations to solve major problems in the country, commissioning research and innovations to increase the country's competitiveness and reducing social disparities, according to the council director Kittipong Promwong. 

Adopt economies of intelligence or fall behind, Thai industry warned The Nation Thailand 8th Oct 2019
Thailand’s manufacturing sector will lag behind unless it takes steps to embrace the emerging economies of intelligence for which data and the capacity to synthesize contents are key success factors. According to Robert Parker, a senior executive of IDC, a global provider of market intelligence and other services, about 50 per cent of the world’s businesses will be digital by 2022, while worldwide growth in digital and related investment is estimated to be 17.5 per cent per year.

New IoT devices considered to prevent crime, make roads safer The Nation Thailand 8th Oct 2019
The Royal Thai Police is cooperating with the Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Ministry to create an IoT (internet of things) GPS tracker and smart checkpoint to efficiently deliver public services and prevent crime. Pol Major Phuritpach Nantasitangoon, a forensic scientist at Ang Thong’s Scientific Crime Detection Centre 7, said: “This cooperation will help boost national security and new technology created to help the society can also be sold to other countries and help generate revenue for the country.”

Bangkok occupies 75th place in ranking of smart cities Bangkok Post 5th Oct 2019
Bangkok ranks 75th out of 102 cities worldwide in smart city rankings, according to the IMD Smart City (SCI) Index for 2019. It's the first edition of the index, jointly commissioned by the World Competitiveness Center's Smart City Observatory, under the IMD Business School in Switzerland and Singapore, and Singapore University of Technology and Design. The top 10 smart cities are Singapore, Zurich, Oslo, Geneva, Copenhagen, Auckland, Taipei, Helsinki, Bilbao and Dusseldorf. The SCI focuses on how citizens perceive the scope and impact of efforts to make their cities "smart", balancing "economic and technological aspects" with "humane dimensions".

Digital Economy Fund expedience mandated Bangkok Post 2nd Oct 2019
The Digital Economy and Society Ministry and related agencies have been ordered to speed up approving applications for the Digital Economy and Society Development Fund (Digital Economy Fund), set up a couple of years ago to upgrade Thailand's telecom infrastructure. Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said on Monday the approval process should take only 1-2 months. The Digital Economy Fund was established in 2017 as required by the Act on Digital Development for Economy and Society enacted in January 2017. The Digital Development Act is a consolidation of the three bills -- the Digital Economy and Society Committee Bill, the Digital Economy and Society Development Fund Bill and the Promotion of Digital Economy and Society Bill. The Digital Economy Fund is to upgrade Thailand's telecom infrastructure using seed money from the government, funding from the government's annual budget, with 15% of proceeds available from frequency allocation by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) and 15% from the NBTC's annual income.

Thailand positions as trading hub for laboratory equipment BioSpectrum 2nd Oct 2019
Thailand LAB INTERNATIONAL 2019, the 9th international trade exhibition and conference on Analytical Laboratory Equipment & Technology, Biotechnology & Life Sciences and Chemicals & Safety, opened on September 25th and will continue till Sept 27th, 2019, at BITEC HALL 102-103, BITEC, Bangkok.  This year, the organizer, VNU Exhibitions Asia Pacific Co. Ltd., in cooperation with Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS), is driving the latest exhibition to promote trading and investment in life sciences and biotechnology through BIO Investment Asia 2019 at Hall 104 BITEC, which will be held during the same time.

Thailand opens new I&T and entrepreneurship centre OpenGov Asia 1st Oct 2019
The Asia Institute of Technology (AIT) recently announced the opening of a new entrepreneurship centre for graduate and doctorate students at its campus in Rangsit. The centre to offer students real-world business experience, promote innovation and provide collaboration opportunities with private business. Much of AIT’s programmes and degree opportunities focus on social impact fields like sustainable development and civil engineering, with many of the students moving on to work in consulting firms. The new entrepreneurship centre, which opened last week, allows students an opportunity to bring what they learned from other fields and apply it to starting a business and working in business settings.

AIT opens entrepreneur centre Bangkok Post 29th Sep 2019
The Asia Institute of Technology (AIT) is opening an entrepreneurship centre for graduate and doctorate students at its campus in Rangsit to offer students real-world business experience, promote innovation and provide collaboration opportunities with private business.

Vietnam

How governments can manage the risks of digitalisation without hindering innovation vietnamnews.vn 10th Oct 2019
The United States Embassy in Hà Nội yesterday held a discussion on data mobilisation and how authorities can manage the risks of digitalisation without hindering innovation. The speaker of the event, Daniel Castro, vice president at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and director of ITIF's Center for Data Innovation, said in the past 10 years, the world had been shifting to a data-based economy. Read more at http://vietnamnews.vn/economy/536715/how-governments-can-manage-the-risk...

Smart city challenges Gov’t and localities vietnamnews.vn 7th Oct 2019
In efforts to embrace the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), cities and provinces in Việt Nam are pushing smart city programmes, combining technology with internet-connected devices to enhance municipal management and economy. Smart cities, with new technologies and integration based on sensor collection and analysis of data, are expected to drive economic, environmental and social benefits in many cities and provinces in Việt Nam – optimising traffic flows in real time, reducing energy consumption and automating waste management.

Việt Nam, Indonesia lead ASEAN in internet economy growth vietnamnews.vn 5th Oct 2019
The Southeast Asian internet economy has expanded by 39 per cent this year to hit US$100 billion for the first time, according to a report released by Google, Temasek and new partner Bain & Company on Thursday. Indonesia and Việt Nam lead with growth rates of more than 40 per cent, while Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines registered 20-30 per cent growth. The e-Conomy Southeast Asia report for 2019 highlights the most significant industry trends observed in 2019 and analyses the current and future potential of the Southeast Asian internet economy across its six largest markets (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Việt Nam).

Virtual telecom operators eye opportunities in Việt Nam vietnamnews.vn 5th Oct 2019
irtual telecom carriers have a great opportunity to gain a foothold in Việt Nam’s market thanks to the country’s open regulatory environment and young and tech-savvy population. Việt Nam is one of the youngest mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) markets in the world, with the first virtual operator launched in April this year. A virtual network operator does not own network infrastructure, instead it purchases telecommunication services from traditional mobile network operators (MNO) and resells network services after repackaging at lower prices.

Việt Nam ready to embrace Industry 4.0 vietnamnews.vn 4th Oct 2019
Việt Nam is taking strong actions from the central to the grassroots level to speed up the application of Industry 4.0 technology, making changes in fields of production, business, cultural and social life, as well as national defence and security. The statement was released by Head of the Party Central Committee (PCC)'s Economic Commission Nguyễn Văn Bình at the Industry 4.0 Summit – the largest digital transformation conference and export event in Việt Nam – held in Hà Nội on Thursday. Bình said over 40 countries and territories, including developing countries, have issued strategies and action programmes related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0). Many of them have also developed and implemented national digital transformation strategies, which is one of the core contents of participation in Industry 4.0.

Politburo wants digital economy to account for 30% of GDP by 2030 The Saigon Times 2nd Oct 2019
Vietnam's Politburo has set a target of raising the digital economy’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) to some 20% by 2025 and 30% five years later. Representing the Politburo, Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong on September 27 signed Resolution 52 detailing a number of guidelines and policies intended to make the country actively engage in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0).

Border provinces should develop economic connectivity system: PM The Saigon Times 2nd Oct 2019
Border provinces, including Lang Son, should jointly build an economic connectivity system to form a strong economic corridor, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at an investment promotion conference held today, September 30. The conference, themed “Lang Son: Successful destination for investors,” gathered 500 delegates who are investors and representatives of companies at home and abroad. The event was held in Lang Son, which is on the path to becoming a key economic zone in the north, especially in terms of border trade.

Vietnamese exporters urged to take advantage of e-commerce platform VOV - VOV Online Newspaper 2nd Oct 2019
Many small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) have little experience in e-commerce and lack information about the field, experts said at the recent “Digital Transformation - Gateway to the Global Market” forum in HCM City. Nguyen Thi Phuong Trang, business development director at Innovative Hub, the event’s organiser, said there is high demand for online sales of Vietnamese products and urged SMEs to place products on such platforms. One of the challenges facing SMEs in using e-commerce platforms for exports is the lack of quality human resources.

4.0 Summit driving digital transformation VOV - VOV Online Newspaper 30th Sep 2019
Successfully launched in 2018 and catching the attention of more than 2,000 visitors, the Industry 4.0 Summit has gained a reputation not only as one of the most prestigious industry events but also a premium platform for knowledge-sharing, discussion, and networking. Nguyen Van Anh, CEO of event organiser IEC Group, sheds light on the unique features this year’s event will have in order to benefit the diverse participant ecosystem.

New drive in smart city development VOV - VOV Online Newspaper 30th Sep 2019
A modern city with many public facilities and utilities serving people, suitable investment attraction, and effectively supporting the policy of relaxing Hanoi’s inner city are the targets of a smart city project in accordance with the development master plan of the Nhat Tan-Noi Bai area. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution era, investing in smart cities is not only a trend but also a new drive for developing urban areas. Already many countries in the ASEAN bloc have announced ambitious plans. Besides the pioneering Singapore, Myanmar and the Philippines are also building high-tech green cities with unmanned vehicles, and robots. Elsewhere, Thailand has the goal of creating 100 smart cities by 2022.

Finance Ministry to tighten control of cross-border retail activities VOV - VOV Online Newspaper 29th Sep 2019
As online commerce has boomed, agencies fear that it will be difficult to prevent banned goods, goods restricted for import and export, and origin fraud. The Ministry of Finance (MOF) has developed a draft plan on e-commerce management for imports and exports in the context of an average growth rate of 25-30 percent per annum of the e-commerce sector. Vietnam’s e-commerce is predicted to rank third in Southeast Asia by 2025.