Jukhee Hong, CARI’s Executive Director, leads the panel discussion on “Leveraging on the Digital Wave: The Roadmap to ASEAN Digital Transformation” at the ASEAN STARTUP FORUM 2020



Jukhee Hong, CARI’s Executive Director, leads the panel discussion on “Leveraging on the Digital Wave: The Roadmap to ASEAN Digital Transformation” at the ASEAN STARTUP FORUM 2020

The ASEAN STARTUP FORUM 2020 was organised by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council Vietnam as the Chair of ASEAN BAC 2020 together with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Hanoi on 16 October 2020.

The panel discussion on “Leveraging on the Digital Wave: The Roadmap to ASEAN Digital Transformation”, was led by Jukhee Hong, Executive Director of CIMB ASEAN Research Institute (CARI) and consisted of the following distinguished panellists:

  1. Bountheung Douangsavanh, Chair of the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME)
  2. Fadzli Shah Anuar, Head of Strategy, The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)
  3. Adrian Gunadi, Co-Founder & CEO Investree, ASEAN BAC Indonesia
  4. Yoav Elgrichi, Founder & CEO, Impactech
  5. Pham Kim Hung, Founder & CEO, Base.vn
  6. Vivek Lath, Partner at McKinsey & Company
  7. Ngo Dien Hy, Director General of Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Corporation Information Technology Company (VNPT-IT)

The session generated insightful discussion around how COVID-19 serves as a trigger to the digital transformation of the regional businesses and highlighted the importance of collaboration and cooperation between ASEAN member states in ensuring the success of digitalisation in the region. Key facts and messages derived from the session are as follows:

  • MSME is an important part of the ASEAN economy. Almost a third (30%) of the world’s top startup ecosystems are now in Southeast Asia (compared to 20% in 2012). MSMEs contribute almost 60% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in many ASEAN countries and employ over 90% of the region’s workforce.
  • Most SMEs still use manual means in running their business, where managing their data and miscalculation are their main pain points. SMEs reluctantance to fully digitise their processes, either due to lack of knowledge or due to perceived investment cost. The solutions market for this problem is fragmented, but with collaborative efforts, an integrated solution can be achieved with cooperation from various stakeholders.
  • The diverse maturity and readiness across MSMEs in their digitalisation journey demand an agile organisation to cater to their needs. The support required by MSMEs to digitally transform their organisation requires a departure from the traditional or legacy operating models and favours startups which are generally more agile and flexible compared to large enterprises.

For more information on the ASEAN Startup Forum 2020 and to view the recording on the Panel discussion, please visit here.