expressed opinion entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on many fronts — disrupting the economies, supply chains and daily lives of millions of Southeast Asians. However, we can say for sure that there is a silver lining: it is an incredible driver of the digital economy.
With millions of people forced to work, shop and live to some extent online, the penetration of online platforms and services in the region has exploded, and Southeast Asia’s digital economy is expected to grow Up 28% to $222 billion This year.
While consumers are rapidly embracing digital solutions, governments across Southeast Asia are working to develop cutting-edge policies This will further fuel the growth of this emerging sector.
While this sounds very positive, other regions are also working hard to develop their digital economies. I believe there are some areas of improvement that deserve our special attention if we are to realize our full digital potential.
related: Why Southeast Asia will see stronger growth in 2022
Improve our digital infrastructure
One of the key areas we need to focus on is improving our digital infrastructure if we want to see Southeast Asia’s digital economy reach its full potential. This ensures that everyone in the area has access to high-quality internet.
Unfortunately, Southeast Asia still lags behind other regions in terms of digital infrastructure.The latest statistics tell us that only three Southeast Asian countries (Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia) have Over 80% Internet penetrationwhile the entire European Union (EU) has 91%.
Additionally, average broadband speeds across much of Southeast Asia are only a fraction of those in countries such as South Korea, Japan, and Singapore. This is a huge hurdle for businesses looking to migrate or expand their digital operations online.
To address this, we need to prioritize investments in our digital infrastructure and ensure that consumers and businesses alike have the world-class connectivity they need to thrive.
new customer development
With the digital economy growing at an unprecedented rate, Southeast Asia is placing more emphasis than ever on improving customer development. This means encouraging businesses and consumers to embrace digital solutions and making it as easy as possible for them to do so.
There are several ways Southeast Asia can achieve this. One is to increase digital literacy levels across the region through initiatives such as offering free or discounted online courses and hosting digital literacy workshops.
Another way to improve customer development is to simplify your business’ digital processes. this means:
Streamline the process of building an online business and make it easier for businesses to accept digital payments
Provide them with the necessary support and resources to succeed in the digital economy
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Improve information security
Information security is critical for businesses looking to migrate or expand their digital businesses online. Without proper protection, their confidential data can easily be compromised, resulting in lost customers, revenue and reputation damage. No one wants to do business with a company that leaks data.
Businesses can take steps to improve their information security, such as:
Invest in data encryption
Implement strong authentication protocols
back up their data regularly
Yet perhaps the most important thing a business can do is Educate employees on best practices for keeping information secure. This goes back to our earlier point about encouraging digital literacy across the board.
In addition to improving information security for businesses, Southeast Asian governments and regulators must provide guidance on cybersecurity best practices and create initiatives that incentivize businesses to prioritize data protection.
We can ensure that the digital economy in Southeast Asia thrives without compromising the security of our critical data.
Southeast Asian countries can take advantage of cross-border cooperation, such as Digital ASEAN, to encourage the growth of the digital economy, even in the most digitally poor regions. This is a great way for countries in the region to share knowledge and best practices and to identify and address common challenges.
One of the main benefits of cross-border cooperation is that they can help countries in the region to better understand and meet consumer needs. Reaching out to different stakeholders and gathering feedback can help them develop digital solutions that meet real business needs, while ensuring that those solutions are available to everyone.
At the same time, cross-border cooperation can help companies seize new growth opportunities by providing access to new markets and resources. They can also help businesses network and form partnerships with key stakeholders, which in turn will allow them to grow their businesses at a faster pace.
Ultimately, cross-border cooperation is critical to the continued growth of Southeast Asia’s digital economy. Working together to leverage our strengths and address our weaknesses can ensure that our digital economy continues to thrive for years to come.
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None of the above solutions are easy. They all need to invest and collaborate on a scale unprecedented in the region. But if we can achieve these goals, the future of Southeast Asia’s digital economy looks bright and will benefit every citizen. This is what we should all expect.