Leading U.S. Technology Firms Join ASEAN Telecommunications and IT Ministers to Reaffirm Partnership to Advance Cybersecurity, AI and Privacy

(Ubud) - Strategies for realizing opportunities that emerging technologies bring, the challenges they present, and how governments should be preparing for these technologies were the key themes in meetings between the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) delegation and ASEAN Telecommunications and IT Ministers over the past three days. The meetings took place in Ubud, Indonesia from December 4-6 as part of the annual ASEAN Telecommunications and IT Ministers Meeting (TELMIN).

The US-ABC delegation included 13 leading American technology companies led by President & CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council, Alexander Feldman; Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director, Ambassador Michael W. Michalak; and the Chair of the Council’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Committee, Naveen Menon, who is also President for Cisco Systems in ASEAN. President for Microsoft Asia and Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Corporation, Ralph Haupter, also presented on behalf of the delegation.

The delegation emphasized the priority of supporting and adapting to new digital trends and supporting innovative technology, which can help accelerate the growth of the ASEAN digital economy and better position the region as an attractive destination for investment. They also presented on the potential impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on different sectors of the economy, and how ASEAN could tackle job displacement and the skills gap while still capturing the rise of Industry 4.0. In advancing these themes, the delegation drew attention to the implications for ASEAN governments on policies surrounding cybersecurity, privacy, and big data, and emphasized the need for resilient regulatory frameworks that are in alignment with global best practices, which remain open to innovation and are conducive to the free flow of data.

"Our engagement with the ASEAN Telecommunications and IT Ministers reaffirms the American private sector’s commitment to the region and our shared desire to see ASEAN continue to grow and prosper,” said Alexander Feldman. “The ASEAN digital economy is valued at $72 billion by the end of 2018 and is predicted to grow to $240 billion by 2025. This new estimate is $40 billion more than last year’s and is a testament to the important need for ASEAN to develop regional data governance approaches that embrace this quick pace of growth and harness the benefits of digitization.”

"ASEAN is on the cusp of a digital revolution, and the U.S. technology industry is central to this digital revolution as we foster innovation, economic growth, and talent development across ASEAN’s local communities. The 18th ASEAN TELMIN is an opportunity for American businesses to demonstrate our continued commitment to align with governments’ ICT strategies, and their economic and social priorities. Cisco, as Chair of the US-ABC’s ICT Committee, is delighted to have engaged in discussions with the Ministers and senior officials on building awareness of emerging technology trends, sharing best practices around cyber resilience, and recommending policy actions that can maximize the impact of digital transformation in the region,” added Naveen Menon of Cisco Systems.


“With its 650 million population, expanding economic growth, rising income-levels, increased internet penetration and government-led policies and flagship programs, more ASEAN nations are now on the threshold of becoming truly digitally-empowered, knowledge-led economies. New technologies, such as Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence, create significant opportunities for enhanced experiences and increased levels of security - not only for businesses, but also for governments to better serve their citizens and create a more inclusive society. With these opportunities, however, comes responsibility. Important foundational principles – such as Security, Privacy, Transparency, Fairness and Inclusiveness - need to be factored into the design and deployment of AI and other new technologies. We were honored to meet with the ASEAN ICT Ministers to discuss the opportunities and challenges of this new era,” said Ralph Haupter of Microsoft Asia.

“Increased knowledge-sharing between ASEAN Member States and the private sector is essential to building capacity and fostering partnerships that can collaboratively develop regulatory environments to boost ICT investment in ASEAN,” added Ambassador Michael W. Michalak. “Through initiatives such as the ASEAN-US Digital Policy Consultative Forum, the US-ASEAN Business Council hopes to position ourselves as a trusted partner and consistent resource to ASEAN. We represent a spectrum of companies in a broad range of sectors and our industry experts are eager to share their technical expertise and experiences as governments continue to look at how they can address critical areas such as data privacy, cybersecurity and emerging technologies.”

In addition to formal events with the TELMIN, delegates also engaged the Ministers bilaterally to discuss mutual integration and investment interests. Companies participating on the mission included Amazon, Adobe, Apple, AT&T, Cisco Systems, Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Netflix, Qualcomm, Salesforce, and Stripe.


For 35 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership, more than 160 companies, generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people globally. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.