Improving digital connectivity, and investment into ASEAN’s digital space to support the region’s burgeoning consumer base, could be another game-changer – both to shore up the region's supply chain potential and to increase the gravitational pull for multi-nationals and companies.
The Masterplan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 has stated that between US$220-650 billion in additional annual economic impact in ASEAN by 2030 could be injected into ASEAN through new technology and the internet economy4.
ASEAN members signed the ASEAN Agreement on E-Commerce in November; however, converting this into tangibles will be crucial including
- Developing regional electronic payment infrastructure.
- Enabling the cross-border movement of business.
- Collaboration on cyber security to instil consumer and government confidence.
In Malaysia, the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) as an example is an initiative that will enable SMEs in the country to capitalize on the convergence of the exponential growth of the internet economy and cross-border trade. DFTZ provides a holistic approach key to SME growth by connecting them to eMarketplaces, government agencies, cross border logistic providers and cross border payment providers5. According to MDEC, DFTZ has shown a positive impact in realising the national objective of increasing SME participation in cross-border e-commerce transactions. Since the implementation of the project, more than 5,000 Malaysian SMEs have registered with and started exporting through the platform6.
HSBC specifically continues to leverage on technology and innovation to provide customers with digital products and services that are simple, convenient and secure. In Malaysia, the company recently introduced the HSBCnet Trade Transaction Tracker; an innovative mobile tool that allows businesses to better manage global trade flows.