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Booming mobile internet industries will boost GDP and generate jobs in ASEAN countries

Great news today for graduates looking to join the mobile internet industries in ASEAN. A report by Oxford Economics has found that mobile internet penetration will boost ASEAN’s gross domestic product and increase employment, Computer Weekly wrote.

The report indicated that with each rising percentage point of mobile penetration, an extra $1.5bn will be added to the region’s overall GDP and carries with it the potential of creating a million jobs by 2020.

Mobile internet usage has trebled in the region since 2010 with an adoption rate of 38% being reported in 2014. This growth is in proportion to the global average, despite the lower income levels in certain areas of the region.

Asia already leads the way in the mobile industry, claiming an impressive five out of the world’s top 10 markets in terms of smartphone penetration.

Elsewhere, the report did find substantial disparities in adoption rates across the region. Singapore was found to have a mobile adoption rate double of that of other ASEAN countries. However, rather than being alarming, this indicates that there is room for considerable growth in these countries, it is simply a matter of unlocking them.

In fact, it is the least connected countries that will be leading the way.

The study suggested that growth in mobile internet penetration as well as its associated economic impact will be spearheaded by the countries that have “relatively underdeveloped but sizeable consumer markets,” such as Indonesia and the Philippines. As always, regional governments will be instrumental in these changes and will either forge forward with the economic opportunities or fall behind.

However, the report noted that governments must consider the impact of new regulation on investment and just what influence it will have on the potential growth of the mobile industry.

Furthermore, mobile internet usage is not ASEAN’s only developing industry. As Quah Mei Lee, industry principal, digital transformation Asia Pacific, at Frost & Sullivan, stated, the growth of mobile internet is not as “significant as the growth of internet to the economies of Southeast Asia.”

“Broadband internet or fibre to the home (FTTH) is a fast-growing market across Southeast Asia and is even being implemented in emerging countries such as Myanmar,” Quah continued.

Quah also noted that mobile internet usage is more significant in developed countries such as Singapore and Brunei and is less prominent in emerging countries such as Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

“Other challenges include the need for effective regulation, such as ensuring that mobile internet devices and data plans are priced to meet local affordability levels and are not subject to restrictive government taxes and fees,” Quah added. “The lack of mobile internet awareness, particularly in developing and emerging countries” will also be a significant hindrance.

Many of these challenges will be met head on by ASEAN’s emerging and returning graduates. Both the mobile and home internet industries indicate a huge potential for connectivity, development and employment. To get involved with making Asia’s tomorrow today, check out our ASEAN job listings.

By David Gee Published: August 23, 2016

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