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.
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.
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.