As technology becomes more widespread post-pandemic, it’s having a transformative effect on society as a whole. Southeast Asia tech trends are beginning to take hold as tech companies become more prevalent in the region and tech-focused millennials begin to make their mark on society. Here’s what to look out for in 2022 and over the next few years:
Southeast Asian e-commerce has seen tremendous success in the region over the last two years, with Indonesia leading the way in 2021. In fact, Statista predicts that by 2025, Indonesia will account for over 50% of the Southeast Asian e-commerce market due to a growing middle class and increased internet access. Other emerging markets include Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The future of e-commerce in Southeast Asia comes down to two things: logistics and payments. With more consumers purchasing online, the speed and security of deliveries are key factors in whether people leave reviews or repeat purchases. The second imperative is secure and flexible payment systems and options that are widely accessible to all, such as BNPL and crypto.
Investment in Southeast Asian startups topped $20 billion last year, following robust growth in 2020. In 2021, we saw 19 startups reach unicorn status, thanks to increased funding from private equity and the region’s growing middle class.
More unicorns are expected to emerge from the region, which will positively affect the regional and local economies.
2021 saw the rise of electric vehicles in the region, and this trend is expected to continue for the next decade. According to forecasts from Maybank Kim Eng, electric vehicles will outsell gasoline-powered cars in ASEAN by 2035.
With Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam all pushing towards the adoption of electric vehicles to improve the environment and cut costs, it’s one trend that we should definitely look out for in 2022.
China is expected to continue its aggressive crackdown on local and foreign big tech. As a result, China’s influence will spread in Southeast Asia, where countries are more accepting of Chinese tech and innovation.
5G is likely to become widely available in Southeast Asia during 2022, with most countries eyeing complete rollouts within the next three to five years. In particular, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore are moving fast to make 5G a reality in their countries.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things is a revolution that’s already underway – we can expect to see millions more devices connecting to the internet by 2022. As well as the usual suspects like phones and laptops, we can expect to see more devices such as cars and home appliances incorporating internet connectivity.
The future of IoT is particularly exciting in Southeast Asia for two reasons: first, many consumers still do not have access to bank accounts or credit cards; and second, the region’s smart cities initiative will be a huge boost for makers and app developers looking to fuse technology with urban living.
In 2022, Southeast Asia will continue to grow as a global tech hub, with more tech startups, unicorns, and big tech companies pushing the envelope of innovation. We can also expect to see more entrepreneurs in the region leveraging technology to solve real-world problems governments and individuals face.
The challenge now for governments and companies is to make sure that they are on top of data security, aware of privacy concerns, ready to deal with the challenges of technology-related fraud, and more.