Asean Economic Community

AEC Wishlist: Opt for digital transformation

KUALA LUMPUR • The year 2016 is slated to be a watershed year for Asean economies, especially with the establishment of the Asean Economic Community (AEC).

By 2020, the combined GDP of the Asean economies is expected to grow to US$4.7 trillion (S$6.4 trillion), with the region having the potential of becoming the world's fourth-largest economy as a bloc as early as 2030.

Digital technology has the potential to create the right springboard for commerce and substantial economic growth for the AEC.

According to a GSMA Intelligence report, the Asia-Pacific will add almost 1.7 billion smartphone connections by 2020, over half of the global total and emerging markets in Asean will be a key driver of this growth. The millennial generation has grown accustomed to the transformative digital technologies and will play an important role, especially when 50 million people from the Asean region are estimated to enter the workforce from 2010 to 2020.

These are among the main consumers today with little tolerance for delays. The players who deliver high-quality and secure applications to market faster will stand out in the marketplace.

New opportunities also means new competition. Given the application economy potential in the AEC, businesses need to adopt an agile management approach to thrive.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2016, with the headline 'Opt for digital transformation'. Print Edition | Subscribe