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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

PH digital economy to reach $20b by end of 2022: report

Manila, Philippines – The trio Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company has finally released its overview of the SEA region’s digital economy for 2022. Titled ‘Through the waves, towards a sea of opportunity,’ the latest iteration of the annual e-Conomy SEA report projects that the Philippine digital economy is on track to hit $20b Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) by the end of the year. This is a $3b growth from last year’s $17b projected value. 

It is also projected to reach $35b GMV by 2025 and $100b to $150b GMV by 2030.

Despite the partial resumption of in-store shopping, e-commerce accounted for 70% of the overall Philippine digital economy. It is expected to reach $14b GMV by 2022 with a 17% growth from last year and is expected to amount to $22b GMV by 2025 as it continues to steer the local digital economy.

Aside from e-commerce, food delivery and video-on-demand round up the top three digital activities of Filipinos, showing an adoption rate of 88%, 69%, and 58% respectively amongst digital urban users.

Moreover, projections include transport and food delivery reaching $1.9b GMV, travel growing at $1b GMV, online media reaching $3.1b GMV, and digital financial services such as lending and remittance hitting $6b this year.

The report also stated that the Philippines will attract more investors across sectors in the years to come, as its digital investment sector grew 63% from last year. Digital financial services in the country continue to attract investor interest, garnering 56% of total investor funding in 2022. 

“The Philippine digital economy remains resilient despite headwinds and continues to provide boundless opportunities as it is projected to reach $20 billion GMV by end of year. This year’s e-Conomy SEA report also suggests that the country will be a leading investment destination with over 70% of investors expecting deal activity to increase in the period of 2025 to 2030,” said Bernadette Nacario, country director at Google Philippines.

Willy Chang, associate partner at Bain & Company, also said “The Philippines’ digital economy is one of the more attractive investment hubs in the region. Across internet sectors there remains tremendous whitespace for growth as the ecosystem drives greater digital inclusion in the country, particularly outside of metro areas.”

“The seventh edition of the e-Conomy SEA report shows that the digital future of the Philippines is bright as it has the fastest growing digital investments sector this year in the region,” said Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual.

e-Conomy SEA is an annual research programme that combines Google Trends, Temasek, and Bain & Company’s insights and analyses of the digital economies of six countries in SEA: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

MDEC bolsters ‘Reinvent’ agenda, unveils new chief digital business officer

Cyberjaya, Malaysia – Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), has appointed former SME Bank Malaysia’s Group Chief Strategy Officer (GCSO) Aiza Azreen as its new chief digital business officer (CDBO), still in line with the agency’sReinvent’ agenda, the mission to strengthen MDEC’s organization to further better its strategies in expanding the nation’s digital economy in the new normal. 

The ‘Reinvent’ agenda seeks to implement a strategic change in the agency’s management, aiming to inculcate a high-performing and high-impact organization. With this mission, the agency can build capabilities internally, identifying the right skills for managerial roles and ensuring that the departments have the best performances.

As the new CDBO, Azreen will be responsible for driving all business development, strategic, and operational aspects of the company. This also includes corporate and business development initiatives, strategic planning, budget development and control, commercial input into national digitalization development, and supporting investor relationships and fundraising.

Azreen will also be a member of the MDEC Operating Council (MOC) and will report directly to CEO Surina Shukri, overseeing and steering the digital adoption ecosystem in e-Commerce, data ecosystem development, and the digital infrastructure departments. She will also lead external innovation opportunities to expand commercial strategies and build corporate business and innovations for e-commerce, in line with MDEC’s focus on digitizing SMEs, MSMEs, and enterprises.

Azreen’s experience spans 20 years. She has worked in Australia and Malaysia across multiple industries in strategy development and execution of large-scale business transformation. She held leadership positions in organizations, such as Pertama Digital Berhad, Axiata Digital Services, and Axiata eCode Sdn Bhd, as well as Bank Rakyat, Sime Darby Group, and Media Prima Berhad and AmBank Berhad where she helped pioneer digital ecosystems. This includes pioneering Malaysia’s cashless ecosystem with Boost eWallet, deploying frontier technologies, innovating operating models, and commercializing businesses through mergers and acquisitions (M&As), venturing, building, and collaborating with strategic partners.

Azreen commented that she had “the good fortune” of having conversations with the leadership team at MDEC on what is required to accelerate Malaysia’s digital economy and on the execution of MDEC’s ‘Reinvent’ as well as the inherent and future challenges in these efforts. 

“At the end of these conversations, taking leave from the private sector to be part of MDEC’s journey was not a difficult decision to make. Today, I join the best-in-class team to contribute not just to MDEC, but to the country as well. With the recent launch of MyDIGITAL initiative and the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint, I am excited with what lies ahead,” said Azreen.

YBhg. Datuk Wira Dr Hj. Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff, chairman of MDEC, said that with Azreen addition to the team, the organization aims to strengthen its expertise and experience as part of our relentless effort in fulfilling Malaysia 5.0.

“Increasing number of distinguished talents are now gravitating towards MDEC and this augurs well for our stakeholders, adding new perspectives and dimensions in a rapidly-changing landscape during unprecedented times like these. Her appointment will enable us to further expand and solidify our business development initiatives and reach in the digital economy sphere, allowing us to fulfill our goals and Malaysia’s digital vision as espoused in the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL),” said Hussin.

Meanwhile, Shukri said, “The appointment of Aiza will strengthen our line-up as we expand our business capabilities and opportunities, both domestically and globally, in our resolve to create and bolster impactful digital outreach for Malaysia. I’m excited to work with Aiza and I am confident that she will further add value to MDEC as we strive towards driving digital outreach for the society and economy. Aiza’s appointment is a reflection of MDEC’s commitment to create technocrats and a people-first society in the age of 4IR technology, leading to shared prosperity for all.”

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Grab ties up with IMDA, DISG to bolster tech talent, R&D capabilities

Singapore – Ride-hailing platform Grab has signed a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) with Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Digital Industry Singapore (DISG) to support the development of Singapore’s tech ecosystem. 

The signed MOI will see Grab working with IMDA and DISG to grow its core product and engineering teams’ capabilities through the support of talent development programs like the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA), seeking to enhance professionals’ technical skills and to provide hands-on training opportunities to individuals in the tech sector.

Meanwhile, Grab will also be creating new job opportunities, hiring around 350 employees in Singapore this year. This move covers the expansion of products and services to support the digitalization of micro SMEs, the delivery of digital financial services across Southeast Asia, as well as the development of the upcoming ‘digibank’, which will be managed by a Grab-Singtel consortium.

New job opportunities will come from areas of AI, Cybersecurity, Data Science, Software Engineering, as well as Product Management and Design. Some of the new hires will be involved in projects that aim to develop merchants’ products, and improve the user experience of the merchant app, which will be an all-in-one solution featuring modularized Grab services to select from.

A majority of the new hires, on the other hand, will be involved in powering Grab’s innovation engine that uses deep tech to build and enhance services for its users. Besides tech roles, Grab will also be offering employment opportunities in areas such as finance, operations, legal, public affairs, and business development. 

Co-founder of Grab Tan Hooi-Ling commented that despite the challenges brought forth by COVID-19, the tech industry continues to hold promise for new and renewed opportunities for talent. 

“As a Singapore-based tech company, Grab fully supports the development of the tech ecosystem here. We are building products that positively impact millions across Southeast Asia, and we want to continue deepening our R&D capabilities and push the boundaries of innovation, right here at our strategic base,” said Ling.

Meanwhile, Lew Chuen Hong, chief executive of IMDA, said that to secure a digital future, Singapore must be the place where companies choose to build unique digital products that cater for global markets.

“We are pleased to partner Grab, to strengthen Singapore’s tech ecosystem in these two key areas – to build our local talent in product development, and grow Singapore as the base for high-end R&D in tech,” Hong added.

Vice President and Head of DISG Ang Chin Tah also commented, “We are excited that industry leaders like Grab are stepping up to deepen their R&D activities here while providing more job and skills development opportunities for Singaporeans. Together, we will continue to build a vibrant and sustainable tech ecosystem to drive innovation and capture growth opportunities.”