Published: Wed, November 21, 2018
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

SE Asia set for major internet explosion

SE Asia set for major internet explosion

Indonesia, the largest digital economy in the region, will continue its growth, also quadrupling from $27 billion in 2018 to a massive $100 billion in 2025 - more than double the next largest in the list, Thailand and its expected $43 billion internet economy in 2025.

Southeast Asia has 350 million internet users across its six largest countries - that's more than the entire US population - and the latest data suggests its internet economy will reach $72 billion this year, up from $50 billion last year and $19.1 billion in 2015.

This new "inflection point", as the study calls it, has made Google and Temasek raise their initial estimation of growth which was US$200 million in the next seven years to US$240 million. It's expected to exceed $100 billion by 2025. Indonesia and Vietnam have seen their respective digital economies more than triple since 2015, according to the data.

The report estimated that the GMV of the competitive ride-hailing sector, with the addition of online food delivery, has reached $7.7 billion in 2018. There are upwards of 350 million internet users spread across Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam as of June 2018 - 90 million more users than in 2015.

"2018 has been the year for e-commerce in Southeast Asia".

Online travel is the largest and most established among the four sectors of the Internet economy, accounting for about $30 billion in bookings in 2018. "This has been driven mostly by the top three players in the region - Lazada, Shopee and Tokopedia", Anand explained in a briefing on the report.

The report predicted that online food delivery would be the "next battleground" for ride-hailing players aiming to become "super apps", adding that companies like Grab and Go-Jek were leveraging their well-known brand names and larger user bases against food delivery companies like Deliveroo and Foodpanda. Indonesia, which is now the 4th most populated country, has the largest share in the market ($27B), followed by Thailand ($12B) and Singapore ($10B).

Among these sectors, Fintech was by far the most dynamic, attracting over $500 million of investments in the first half of 2018 alone, more than twice as much as in all of 2017.

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Southeast Asia's nine unicorns - Bukalapak, Go-Jek, Grab, Lazada, Razer, Sea Group, Traveloka, Tokopedia, and VNG, have received the majority of funds attracting US$16 billion of the US$24 billion invested in the region.

Singapore can play a significant role in the region's Internet economy despite its small size, according to a report out yesterday.

It is also worth noting that Grab is the region's first decacorn (company with US$10 billion-plus valuation), and took the lion's share of the investments (US$6 billion).

Since 2015, Southeast Asian tech companies have amassed an estimated $24 billion; hence, investor confidence grows with the industry as well.

The other countries raised a combined total of US$2 billion.

The report also presents the advances made by many regional tech companies in formulating their own digital payments platforms and mobile wallets.

It added that this year was on track to be a record year for fund-raising for the region's Internet economy companies, with US$9.1 billion raised in the first half of the year, almost as much as in all of last year.

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