Southeast Asia’s Digital Decade

The newly released sixth edition of the e-Conomy SEA report makes a case for the region's Digital Decade, and identifies key multilateral drivers for growth.

On 10 November 2021,  Google, Temasek and Bain & Company released the sixth edition of the e-Conomy SEA report. Covering the same six Southeast Asian markets as the Tech For Good Institute Platform Economy Report 2021 released in October, the e-Conomy SEA 2021 report offers a strong case for the “Digital Decade” for the region, with the potential of a US$1T GMV economy by 2030. 

Both reports identify the pandemic as a driver of user growth, with 60M of 440M digital users newly joined in the last year. Many online-to-offline services strengthened, as consumer habits shifted due to safe distancing requirements. Both reports cited convenience, price and choice as reasons for satisfaction. Food delivery, in particular, met customers’ direct needs, resulting in 22% growth in 2021. The Platform Economy Report complements this view from the perspectives of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), with 84% of food MSMEs stating that sales would have declined during COVID-19 if not for platforms connecting them with customers. 

“The phenomenal growth we see in Southeast Asia reinforces our view that the region will define the future of global digital ecosystems,” said Stephanie Davis, Vice President, Google Southeast Asia. Both reports also identified the key drivers and enablers of the digital economy as multi-stakeholder and multilateral in nature, requiring cross-sector and cross-border coordination and collaboration. These include building trust, nurturing talent, ensuring access and inclusion, enabling sustainable growth, and aligning data infrastructure, frameworks and regulation. 

At the Tech For Good Institute, we welcome the opportunity to work together with partners and all stakeholders, so that Southeast Asia may realise the full potential of this Digital Decade. 

Ming Tan, Executive Director, Tech for Good Institute

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Mouna Aouri

Programme Fellow

Mouna Aouri is an Institute Fellow at the Tech For Good Institute. As a social entrepreneur, impact investor, and engineer, her experience spans over two decades in the MENA region, South East Asia, and Japan. She is founder of Woomentum, a Singapore-based platform dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs in APAC through skill development and access to growth capital through strategic collaborations with corporate entities, investors and government partners.

Dr Ming Tan

Founding Executive Director

Dr Ming Tan is founding Executive Director for the Tech for Good Institute, a non-profit founded to catalyse research and collaboration on social, economic and policy trends accelerated by the digital economy in Southeast Asia. She is concurrently a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Governance and Sustainability at the National University of Singapore and Advisor to the Founder of the COMO Group, a Singaporean portfolio of lifestyle companies operating in 15 countries worldwide.  Her research interests lie at the intersection of technology, business and society, including sustainability and innovation.

 

Ming was previously Managing Director of IPOS International, part of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, which supports Singapore’s future growth as a global innovation hub for intellectual property creation, commercialisation and management. Prior to joining the public sector, she was Head of Stewardship of the COMO Group and the founding Executive Director of COMO Foundation, a grantmaker focused on gender equity that has served over 47 million women and girls since 2003.

 

As a company director, she lends brand and strategic guidance to several companies within the COMO Group. Ming also serves as a Council Member of the Council for Board Diversity, on the boards of COMO Foundation and Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC), and on the Digital and Technology Advisory Panel for Esplanade–Theatres on the Bay, Singapore’s national performing arts centre.

 

In the non-profit, educational and government spheres, Ming is a director of COMO Foundation and Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC) and chairs the Asia Advisory board for Swiss hospitality business and management school EHL. She also serves on  the Council for Board Diversity and the Digital and Technology Advisory Panel for Esplanade–Theatres on the Bay, Singapore’s national performing arts centre.

 

Ming was educated in Singapore, the United States, and England. She obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and her doctorate from Oxford.