14 - 15 September 2018

Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore

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Plenary Session 3: Southeast Asia: Rise of the Digital Economy and a Single Consumer Market

Seizing the opportunities of Southeast Asia’s digital economy

The digital economy has enabled the growth and emergence of ASEAN companies, and demonstrated the power of ASEAN’s consumer market.  Optimistic about Southeast Asia's digital economy, companies have displayed a strong appetite for diverse approaches to seize the region’s opportunities.  These include investing and taking bets in start-ups, building new digital businesses, and transforming existing business pillars.

How digital technologies will impact the economy and society

Digital technologies have enabled companies to better analyse and serve their customers’ needs; increase efficiency and reduce transaction costs; and reduced price points thereby allowing for a wider spectrum of consumers. They have accelerated the flow of information and ideas, leading to shorter learning cycles for businesses and more rapid innovation. Policy-makers should take an agile regulatory approach which matches the speed of technology change, and allow space for experimentation and failure.

Importance of partnerships

Unlike Chinese firms which operated within a single large market, Southeast Asian firms had to navigate market heterogeneity and complexities.  To succeed, companies needed to be ‘hyperlocal’ in understanding market needs, while seeking out world-leading technology and capabilities to enable their business models. Partnerships were thus key for companies seeking to tap into the region’s growth in a speedy manner.

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