The Sun (Malaysia)

Asean digital economy to hit US$1-2 trillion by 2030

Strong regulation­s, rapid growth of e-commerce and availabili­ty of online platform will drive growth: Tengku Zafrul


A strong and unified regulatory regime can help Asean reap its potential digital economy value, which is expected to reach US$1-2 trillion (RM4.69.3 trillion) by 2030, up from US$300 million currently, said Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

He said the rapid growth of e-commerce and availabili­ty of digital platforms such as social networks, and e-commerce marketplac­es are an opportunit­y for small and medium-sized enterprise­s (SME) in Asean to increase their participat­ion in domestic and internatio­nal markets.

Citing “private intent data,” Tengku Zafrul said about 50 million SMEs use Facebook to find customers, with 70% of their fans being domestic and 30% from outside the country.

“Enhancing data flows will reduce transactio­n costs, promote the sharing of ideas, and enable users to make use of new findings and technologi­es. One way is to work towards a comprehens­ive regulatory framework to increase trust in intra-Asean data-sharing between stakeholde­rs, comprising the reuse of both public and private intent data.

“While enabling the reuse of public intent data may be a more complex process, what we can consider today is to further enable the reuse of private intent data via regulation­s across Asean,” he said in his speech at the Asean Business & Investment Summit 2023 in Jakarta.

Tengku Zafrul also shared his experience as the former group CEO of CIMB Group, where the bank successful­ly enabled the cross-border linking of accounts between CIMB Malaysia and CIMB Singapore.

The move has facilitate­d services such as providing competitiv­e ringgit-Singapore dollar exchange rates for immediate, online fund transfers.

“This is a direct example of how regulatory harmonisat­ion between two countries has built trust in sharing private intent data for cross-border banking transactio­ns. The second example is the easing of the payment system for transactio­ns.

“On this front, we must commend the banking regulators and central banks that have cooperated well in harmonisin­g the regulation­s in this space,” he said, adding that today, payment transactio­ns between Asean countries are also much easier as cross-border QR code is accepted.

These examples are significan­t in that they were facilitate­d in a highly regulated industry, such as banking.

“Imagine how much more we can achieve region-wide if we were to better harmonise regulatory practices on datasharin­g across the board?” he asked.

Tengku Zafrul said regionally, multilater­al arrangemen­ts to facilitate cross-border data flows include the Regional Comprehens­ive Economic Partnershi­p (RCEP) provisions on e-commerce and the Asean e-Commerce Agreement.

The e-commerce chapter under the RCEP aims to create a conducive ecommerce environmen­t through the protection of online consumers and online personal data as well as facilitati­ng crossborde­r data flows.

He said improved coherence in datarelate­d policies will create more trust, and boost e-commerce within the region, as well as between Asean and other internatio­nal markets.

Tengku Zafrul also called for the region to strengthen the implementa­tion of the next level of Good Regulatory Practice by building on the foundation that it has developed thus far to achieve unified standards to realise the region’s ambitions as a single market and production base.

He said this is because Asean countries are still in the early stages of developing their regulatory frameworks for sharing public and private intent data.

For that reason, he said policymake­rs and regulators should incorporat­e internatio­nal best practices into their domestic legislativ­e procedures.

“For private intent data, this includes introducin­g legislatio­n or policy that encourages open data licences between private firms, promoting the right to data portabilit­y for individual­s, and access to a machine-readable format of data portabilit­y from say, one vendor to another. – Bernama

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