Recovery Insights: Digitalisation
Each week, Weber Shandwick’s COVID-19 Asia Pacific Recovery Report shares the strategies, perspectives and case studies of the COVID-19 era. With Recovery Insights, we examine how a specific sector or industry is tackling the many challenges of pandemic recovery in the Asia Pacific region. Today, inside the rapid digitalisation processes unfolding throughout the region.
Companies are shifting their focus towards digitalisation, helping them meet the needs of the great digital migration brought about by the pandemic. There has been a radical shift in the way businesses operate, with years’ worth of digital transformation taking place within a compressed period.
Government showing the way
The Japanese government has taken its commitment to undergo digitalisation seriously, expressing a commitment to go paperless within the next twelve months. Companies such as SMBC have announced that they will allow clients to open brokerage accounts without providing Hanko seals (used in Japan in place of signatures on some documents).
Singapore has also relaunched the government LifeSG mobile app to encourage citizens toward digital transactions. The revamped app will provide citizens access to over 40 government services including passport renewals, school registration, skill upgrading, and payment of taxes.
Supporting people on a digital transformation journey
In New Zealand, reskilling and redeploying workers for a digitally-driven future is a key focus for businesses and the government, with local employers making a public commitment to double their on-the-job training hours by 2025. The government has also committed to supporting the digital transformation of businesses through facilitating processes such as e-invoicing.
To support the digitalisation of Indonesian state-owned enterprises, MDI Ventures, the largest local corporate-backed multi-fund venture capital, has launched a US$500 million technology investment fund. The government has also partnered with Bukalapak, an Indonesian e-commerce company, to facilitate e-government services such as tax and utility payments.
In Malaysia, a Digital Economy Corporation survey found that 37% of SMEs and 32% of large and listed companies had taken steps to expand or upgrade their technology capabilities during the pandemic. The Malaysian Ministry for Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDAC) have developed various courses and programmes on business digitisation to assist entrepreneurs.
Government acting as catalyst
Singapore’s government has launched the SG Digital Office, with the goal of connecting 100,000 seniors with digital capabilities as part of the Seniors Go Digital scheme. The government has also launched GoBusiness Gov Assist, a portal for businesses to navigate the numerous government support schemes available in the changed business environment.
Thailand’s appetite for digital technology has rapidly increased, with the country’s Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion enhancing grant offerings to the country’s SMEs. The Thai government has also committed to hand out a total of 45 billion baht (USD 1.4 billion) to 15 million people to encourage consumption via the state e-wallet app Pao Tang.
Vietnam’s government experienced surges in traffic to digital tools used to disseminate information about the pandemic and new normal. However, according to an e-commerce and digital economy agency, 90% of enterprises were undergoing digital transformation at slower rates than required. Vietnam aims to have 100,000 digital companies by 2030.
The Australian government will provide a US$467,200 grant to Vietnam as it develops AI technologies to drive the country’s post-pandemic recovery. The grant will enable Vietnam to develop innovative AI solutions to address the impact of the virus and support long-term training and development.
The Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry shared that 73,276 online businesses had registered between March 16 and August 31. Filipino SMEs surveyed by SAP and Oxford Economics also reported the highest adoption of digital, remote working at 89%, surpassing other APAC markets. To support the growth of e-commerce purchases, the government has supported the passing of the “Internet Transactions Act” to protect online consumers.
Media analysis of stories covering Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Malaysia, Macau, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam from 7 August to 10 September 2020
For more insights, case studies, and data on recovery efforts throughout the Asia Pacific region, subscribe to Weber Shandwick’s COVID-19 Asia Pacific Recovery Report.