Book Launch | Digitalising ASEAN: A Competitiveness Analysis

2021 has tested the ability of the AMS to weather a crisis. As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, disruptions to the global economy continue to cast a shadow upon the development of ASEAN. Amidst this, the economies of ASEAN have made the digital economy a key component of their strategy to achieve a new phase of growth and development for the region. This volume marks a significant refresh of ACI’s long-running Annual Competitiveness Analysis of ASEAN economies by introducing the newly developed ACI Digital Competitiveness Framework and accompanying pilot ASEAN+ Digital Competitiveness Index and analysis. The volume analyses the key developments and issues facing ASEAN and some of its Asian partners about the digital economy. Highlighting key issues of digital divides and development strategies.

This volume presents the extensive costs of the COVID-19 pandemic to the ASEAN region in quantitative terms as well as an examination of fundamental data pertaining to the digital economy. A further in-depth case study of the development of digital payment systems in Thailand and Singapore and an overview of ASEAN’s key digital economy policies past and present identifies key issues such as Digital Adoption, Digital Infrastructure, Cybersecurity and Digital Payments.

In delving deeper into the underlying factors in the Annual ASEAN Competitiveness Index, we observe evidence that the gap in Technological Infrastructure has narrowed. This finding is key to the broader discussion on digital economy in ASEAN. It provides empirical evidence supporting the development of the digital economy as a key strategy for the ASEAN members and prompted the development of the Framework

This new framework was developed in line with current leading global standards with regards to quantifying the digital economy. It compiles 60 indicators into 5 environments and 11 sub-environments to assess the strengths and weaknesses of 6 ASEAN members and 5 partner economies. The study analyses each economy in the context of its socio-economic trends and policies. Most importantly it finds that the various governments are cognizant of their own weakness and have put in place policies targeting these weaknesses. This provides validation of the utility of the framework. The Chapter also presents a case study of the digital infrastructure of Malaysia and Philippines, it uses both the Competitiveness Index and Digital Competitiveness Index to conduct an analysis into both countries to explain the performance of both countries.

By Kway Guan TAN

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