ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Digital economy capable of adding US$1 trillion to ASEAN GDP in next decade

ASEAN has so much potential.

The growth of the Digital Economy could add US$1 trillion to the GDP of the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) bloc over the next 10 years.

According to a release from A. T. Kearney, this is based on a report it released in conjunction with Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata).

The report, titled ASEAN Digital Revolution, focuses on the growth opportunities, the hurdles that need to be overcome and policy initiatives that will help the sector fulfil its growth potential and contribute to the bloc’s overall economic expansion.

The report highlights the following factors that could see ASEAN become one of the world’s top-five digital economies by 2025: A robust economy with a combined GDP of US$2.5 trillion growing at 6% per annum; a literate population of more than 600 million, of which 50% are below 30 years of age; and a well-developed ICT cluster with a track record of innovation and investment into new technology.

Here's more from A. T. Kearney:

“When it comes to market size and growth opportunities, there are few economic regions that can match ASEAN’s potential, especially when it comes to the digital economy. More than half of the bloc’s population is aged 30 or below. This is the consumer group which is most likely to contribute to digital economy as they are most tech savvy,” says Naveen Menon, Partner and Asia-Pacific Head of Communications, Media & Technology Practice at A.T. Kearney and one of the authors of the report.

“The confluence of technology innovation, a youthful population and robust economies can help ASEAN leapfrog into the vanguard of the digital economy” he added.

Jamaludin Ibrahim, President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Axiata said, “Through accelerated innovation, mobile network operators are ready to support and grow the ASEAN digital economies of cashless societies, smart cities, borderless digital services and financial inclusion.

However, for mass adoption of the services to drive digital economies, policies and a strong digital agenda is required in the region with visionary government and industry collaboration. It is our hope, therefore, to see operators and governments quickly come together to accelerate this development. I believe a ‘revolution’ is required!”

The report adds that the impending implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which promises to promote free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labor and freer flow of capital, is also likely to provide a big boost to the sector.

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