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“The digital transformation has been significantly accelerated during the pandemic, speeding up business changes. Indonesia endeavours to expand digital economy to achieve social recovery and digital transformation. I would love to witness how Huawei adds value in the face of fast-growing digitalisation,” he said.

Based on digital knowledge and infrastructure, the digital economy has powered a growing proportion of regional GDP and boosted resilience amid the pandemic. ASEAN predicts that the digital economy will contribute $ 1 trillion to regional GDP by the next year.

Countries from the region have released future-oriented roadmaps on removing trade barriers, improving digital coverage and ensuring ubiquitous access to digital services to facilitate the implementation of the digital economy.

“The development of digital economy ecosystem is a process that involves active participation of multiple stakeholders including those from the private sectors. We welcome the initiative of Huawei to organise this dialogue to practically advocate the process,” said Le Quang Lan, assistant director for the ICT and Tourism Division, ASEAN secretariat, when referring to enabling a digital economy ecosystem to accelerate social recovery and regional integration.

Being part of the ecosystem, Huawei is committed to enabling ASEAN’s “Digital Masterplan 2025” in three key areas, namely ICT connectivity, talent empowerment and ecosystem incubation, said Jay Chen, vice-president at Huawei Asia Pacific.

The digital economy unfolding in the region addresses inclusive access to digital service, a landscape facilitating startup scale-up, and a circular and sustainable economy.

Tan Khee Giap, chairman of the Singapore National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation (SINCPEC), stressed the importance of the social considerations of digitalising the economy during the panel discussion.

He said, “Digitalisation is not just about technology progress, but quality empowerment of digitalisation to the public at large is paramount if inclusive integration is to be achieved. The role of the government is providing digital capability as public goods, which also can be complemented by private ICT companies such as Huawei with quality connectivity.”

Alvin P Ang from Ateneo de Manila University agreed with the openly accessible approach on up-skilling people with digital knowledge. “The education system must put in context at the foundational elements of digitalisation. Whether it’s in the basic education level or in the middle ages or those who are working already, trying to learn and upgrade themselves. We have to invest in them and give our rural areas an opportunity to catch up by at least providing them with the basic skills to get through the technology highway,” he said.

Over the years, Huawei has launched multiple programmes to train over 100,000 people with ICT empowerments in the region in cooperation with governments, universities, and NGOs.

Conveying the business perspective, prof Jose Decolongon, COO & managing director of Corporate Foresight, Embiggen Consulting Philippines, said “Micro, small, medium enterprises need to have understanding on digitalisation to perceive the opportunities when it comes to exploring the digital side of the business. Challenges are faced by these enterprises but also the large organisations. It's related to coverage and speed of digital infrastructure. This is where telecom players such as Huawei and our local players can play an important role.”

For a sustainable digital economic ecosystem, new technologies such as 5G, Internet of Things and Cloud provide great promise in terms of enhancing de-carbonisation and the circular economy. In Asia Pacific, Huawei has increased investment in sustainable green solutions, leveraging clean power generation, electric transportation, and smart energy storage.

This sustainable trend is captured in Vietnam. “Vietnam is at the turning point for catching up fourth industrial revolution and our economy is very open, relying more on innovation and sustainability. And the digital transformation in Vietnam has linked with inclusive integration in ASEAN and Asia Pacific, in which Huawei can play an important role,” said Vo Tri Thanh, director of the Institute for Brand Strategy and Competition.

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