Digital decade delivering for Southeast Asia

China Daily

Region’s internet economy on track to hit $1t as e-commerce, logistics boom

Southeast Asia is embracing its “digital decade” with the region’s internet economy expected to soar on the back of a fast-growing base of digital consumers and merchants.

James Tan, a Singaporean businessman with more than 10 years’ experience in the digital economy, said Southeast Asian countries are at different levels of development in their digital industries.

“In the Philippines, for example, online shopping is no rare thing. But people can do a lot more things on the internet in some other places such as Indonesia’s Jakarta. Digitization of small and medium enterprises in Jakarta has made progress over the recent years,” said Tan, the managing partner and founder of Quest Ventures, a venture capital firm focusing on the digital economy industry across Asia.

Digital technology innovations are happening in Singapore and parts of Vietnam, said Tan, adding that many digitalized companies are developing and commercializing their products in Singapore before expanding and landing in other countries across Southeast Asia.

The development of the digital economy in Southeast Asia is uneven, as the different countries have their unique advantages and weaknesses, said Tan.

“The RECP could serve as a boost with China’s involvement. Another thing to bear in mind is that only when countries in Southeast Asia give full play of their unique strengths, digital industry development and regional integration could go further in the future.”

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