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Digital trade

Charting ASEAN's digital future: Emerging policy challenges

Published 01 June 2022

ASEAN’s digital future offers much promise, as markets broaden for businesses. While much has been said about Southeast Asia's digital economy prospects, policymakers must also address the emerging challenges.

ASEAN states have a large literate population, a high smartphone penetration rate, and increased investments in broadband infrastructure to support the “digital revolution”. In the next 10 years, the bloc's digital economy is expected to add as much as US$1 trillion to the region's gross domestic product (GDP). However, challenges may continue to impede the fruition of the region's full potential.

This report by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) examines the emerging trends in ASEAN’s digital economy and charts ASEAN’s efforts to drive digital growth, with snapshots of the digital economy plans of key ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam - projected to be the largest in ASEAN by gross merchandise value by the year 2025. The report also analyzes the policy risks and commercial concerns in digitalizing ASEAN, the importance of digital inclusion, and the digital-sustainability nexus. Lastly, the report will conclude with a list of recommendations and government interventions that will help address the emerging policy risks.

This Special Report from the SIIA was partially supported by the Hinrich Foundation. Highlights are available in this press release.

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