A snapshot of seven emerging industries in the formative stages of growth within ASEAN and neighbouring nations


Horton J, Devaraj D, McLaughlin J, Pham H, Naughtin C and Hajkowicz S (2018) Sunrise Industries: A snapshot of seven emerging industries in the formative stages of growth within ASEAN and neighbouring nations. CSIRO, Brisbane.


© Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 2018.
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Executive summary

Countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and their neighbours will undergo significant social, economic and industrial change over the coming decades. Consumer incomes will rise, advanced technologies will be cheaper and more accessible, and economies will shift from industrial production to the provision of services. These factors, among others, will drive future population and economic growth across the region. In the face of these changes, some industries will decline, while new ‘sunrise industries’ will emerge, generating new sources of long-term economic development. This report identifies and profiles the following set of potential sunrise industries:

1 Introduction

The global economy is moving eastwards. By 2050, the world’s economic ‘centre of gravity’ – the average location of economic activity across geographies on Earth – is predicted to fall between China and India.1 China’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2060 is projected to reach almost $70 trillion and India’s almost $51 trillion, while the projected 2060 GDP of the United States is just over $48 trillion.2 Indonesia, with an expected national output of about 30 percent of the United States, will be the world’s fourth largest economy.3 Other emerging economies, like Vietnam and the Philippines, are also expected to make significant advancements. While not all economic growth in the region is predicted to occur within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), developments in neighbouring countries will likely have broader regional effects and contribute to shaping the future of ASEAN.

At the same time as their economies advance, many Asian nations are transitioning from industrial production to service-based economies. This transition is aided by increasingly cheaper and more capable technologies, including advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, quantum computing, 3D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science and chemical engineering. Economic development, industrial transition, and technological advancement within and around the ASEAN region are creating an environment where there is much scope for first-mover advantage and for small and large companies alike to establish a foothold in new territory.

This report assesses this environment and identifies a set of potential emerging industries (‘sunrise industries’) for ASEAN members and neighbouring nations. Sunrise industries are defined as new industries arising due to technological, regulatory, economic, or social change. They may be existing industries which are reappearing after a period of dormancy due to changing conditions within the industry or the environment. Or they may be entirely new industries born from new market drivers and trends, or from the intersection of two or more existing industries. In both instances, sunrise industries are associated with high potential for growth in the near future.

Seven emerging industries in the formative stages of growth within ASEAN countries and neighbouring nations are identified in this report (discussed in detail in Chapter 4). These sunrise industries are:

This report describes the nature of each of these industries in terms of likely function, size and composition over the coming decades, and the evidence supporting their future growth. It aims to inform government, industry and other stakeholders around potential future areas of growth, and to assist decision makers in making strategic choices around the best ways to capitalise on the opportunities presented. We do not intend for the list of sunrise industries identified here to be exhaustive; rather, the report is designed to provide an indication of some significant opportunities for future regional growth and job creation. In a time of significant economic, industrial, technological, and social change, these industries could foster economic development and prosperity across ASEAN countries in decades to come.

2 ASEAN and its neighbouring nations

This report focuses on the ten member states of ASEAN – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The populations and economies of these nations are expected to grow considerably over the coming decades (Table 1). ASEAN had the world’s third largest population in 2016, and is set to become the equivalent of the world’s fourth largest economy by 2030, with economic growth rates that outpace the global average.4 It is strategically well-positioned to capture trade opportunities with other economic powerhouses, including China, India, and the US.

While this report explores the emergence of sunrise industries within ASEAN, we note that ASEAN-specific data are not available for all the trends and drivers impacting the emergence of these industries. As such, we have treated data from neighbouring economies as weak signals for what could plausibly occur in the ASEAN region, now and in the future. In other words, we assume that developments within non-ASEAN nations will likely have flow-on effects for ASEAN in terms of economic development, technological advancement and costs,
and industry emergence.

Significant economic growth is already occurring in the broader Asia Pacific region. China and India are now the world’s two fastest-growing large economies,10 and Asia’s share of the global economy continues to rise, increasing from 12.7 percent in 1960 to 31 percent in 2015.11 The IMF’s World Economic Outlook projects year-over-year growth rates of more than 6 percent in the emerging and developing Asia region, compared to roughly 2 percent in advanced economies and around 3 percent globally.12

Table 1. Current and long-range forecasts for ASEAN


GDP (in billions)

GDP per capita




























Lao, P.D.R.

















































Data sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics,5,6 OECD,2 World Bank,7 IMF8
Note: GDP estimates are given in AUD. Currency conversions were made using a yearly average of the USD/AUD exchange rate, from the Reserve Bank of Australia.9 See the Appendix for more information on the forecasting methodology.

However, after decades of rapid growth via industrialisation, many Asia Pacific nations are now transitioning to consumer and services-driven economies. The previous decade saw China go from 12.7 percent GDP growth in 2006, with a peak of 14.2 percent in 2007, before falling to 6.7 percent in 2016.13 Within ASEAN, the services sector has now overtaken industry and agriculture in terms of its contribution to the economy, accounting for 50 percent of average value added to ASEAN economies in 2016 (see Figure 1) and growing as a proportion of every ASEAN economy since 2010 (see Figure 2).

The Asian middle-class population also continues to grow. Real per capita incomes in developing economies of the region have doubled on average since the early 1990s,16 and the number of people living in poverty has more than halved between 1990 and 2009.17 In 2009, the Asian middle class represented 28 percent of the global middle-class population and 23 percent of middle-class consumption, but by 2030, this is projected to rise to 66 and 59 percent, respectively.18 The middle-class population in ASEAN alone is expected to grow from 190 million people in 2012 to 400 million people in 2020.19 With rising incomes comes rising demand for higher-value products and services in areas such as food, education and tourism.

Figure 1. Average value added to ASEAN economies by services, agriculture and industry
Data source: World Bank Indicators14
Note: Complete time series data were not available for the following countries: Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

Figure 2. Service industry growth in the ASEAN region, 2010 compared to 2016
Data source: World Bank Indicators15

3 Industry formation and growth

Changing economic, social, and demographic conditions give rise to new industries. The ‘lifecycle model’ can be used to describe different phases of industry formation.20-23 While there are numerous lifecycle models with varying degrees of complexity, put simply, the four main phases in the industry lifecycle are introduction, growth, maturity and decline (see Figure 3). We use this framework here in characterising new and emerging sunrise industries.

Figure 3. Key stages of the industry lifecycle
Data source: Porter24

Sunrise industries are active during the introduction phase, which is associated with identifying and defining a market need and developing a product or service (or series of products/services) to meet these new market needs. Generally speaking, a sunrise industry undergoes three main stages within the introductory lifecycle phase:20,25,26

A pre-founding stage, where the existing industrial order, market and technology is challenged by a forthcoming (but yet to be significantly developed) set of innovations. These new industries can be triggered by technological development,20 a shift in cultural value,27 a regulatory change,27 or a demand shock.28

A co-evolutionary stage, which marks the convergence of the variety of products that have emerged from an initial stage to a dominant one. This stage is also marked by increased collaboration across stakeholders in the new industry and an increasing number of firms entering the market.

An early growth stage, where the new industry settles following the co-evolutionary stage, and sales begin to take off. There is also an improvement in product quality and an increase in competition, mainly among incumbent firms of the new industry.

There are benefits to acting during the introductory phase (see Table 2). Among these benefits, market pioneers can have the first-mover advantage, providing long-lasting benefits and/or competitive advantages that lead to a higher market share. For instance, eBay was the first online peer-to-peer marketplace, allowing it to gain a dominant market share. Later entrants to the online marketplace industry have had to specialise, offering distinct services or benefits that are not currently offered through eBay.29 However, this was not the case in all markets. In New Zealand, for instance, other companies such as TradeMe established early dominance and effectively shut eBay out of the market.30

In addition to low levels of market competition during the introductory lifecycle phase, early entrants in the pre-founding stage can also reduce overall costs through accumulated experience. This is known as the ‘experience curve’ – a concept developed in the mid-1960s, when consultants from the Boston Consulting Group noticed that a company’s unit cost of manufacturing dropped by around 25 percent for each doubling of the volume that it produced.31 Being active in the introductory phase can also allow pioneers to establish control over required resources, which may become limited for later entrants. First-movers also have a tendency to shape consumer tastes and preferences, wherein the costs of switching to another buyer can deter the customer from exploring new entrants to the market.32

Table 2. Challenges and benefits of each stage within the introduction phase for industry formation


Pre-founding stage

Co-evolutionary stage

Early growth stage


  • Lack of resources, practices and complementary assets
  • Uncertainty surrounding technology, markets and regulation
  • Free rider problems
  • Strong competition among entrants in structuring the industry
  • Lack of broadly-accepted standards for the sector
  • Uncertainty and information asymmetries
  • Difficulty securing resources to scale up production
  • Flattening entrepreneurship opportunities
  • Increased firm competition, both incumbents and entrants


  • Entrepreneurship opportunities
  • Ability to achieve technology leadership
  • Opportunity to pre-empt key resources
  • Potential high growth of firms
  • Increasing entrepreneurship opportunities
  • Sustainable growth of the industry due to the increase in production size

However, simply being a market pioneer does not guarantee success. For instance, Sony enjoyed massive success as the first entrant into the portable music device industry with the invention of the ‘Walkman’ in 1979. When music mp3 files first became available in the late 1990s, South Korean firm Saehan created the first digital audio player, the ‘MPMan’; but the lack of widespread broadband accessibility needed to download mp3s meant that the appeal of a digital music device was limited.33 The iPod was launched three years later – when both mp3s and broadband were widely available – and quickly became the new ‘Walkman’ of the 21st century.33 Early market entry needs to be combined with a surrounding ecosystem that supports the growth of the industry.

4 Sunrise industries

This chapter outlines a set of sunrise industries that present significant opportunities for future regional growth and job creation within ASEAN and across the broader Asia Pacific region. Leveraging the first-mover advantage, these industries reflect a change in market conditions, impacting future supply and/or demand in the market. A change in supply presents new opportunities to establish firms and products, reduce production costs, and make value chains more efficient, whereas a change in demand presents opportunities to provide products and services to new markets. This report identifies seven key sunrise industries for ASEAN countries, and their neighbours, that could promote economic development and prosperity over the coming decades.

AI and automated systems

The AI and automated systems industry will be comprised of large and small companies that convert manual processes into automated processes. They will do so using robotics, sensory systems, machine learning, predictive analytics and AI. Companies in this industry will supply services to practically all other industries, as automation becomes increasingly pervasive across ASEAN economies and other economies around the world. These services will include the design, construction, implementation and operation of autonomous systems, as well as consulting and advisory services for businesses looking to transform their existing systems into autonomous systems. Many companies in this industry will be spinoffs and startups from larger technology companies and research organisations, where most AI capability currently resides.

ASEAN industries are already adopting AI to improve customer experience. For instance, Hong Leong Bank of Malaysia uses IBM’s Watson to detect customer emotions over the telephone, and Singapore’s DBS has opened Digibank, which uses a virtual assistant to deal with customer enquiries.34 These cases are likely to become more common as automated systems become more widely available. ASEAN startups using AI include Myanmar’s Bindez (an online search and discovery platform)”, Indonesia’s (developing natural language processing for Bahasa), Vietnam’s FPT (helping app developers enable automated interaction with end-users), Indonesia’s Ruangguru (using machine learning to develop personalised education services), Vietnam’s Sero (providing farmers with crop information via AI analytics of imagery and in-field data),34 and Singapore’s Foodpanda (using a complex algorithm to optimise food delivery logistics).35

Automation has the potential to impact a wide range of industries and improve productivity across entire economies. Robotic automation has been identified as the major technology impacting the key ASEAN manufacturing industries of automotive and auto parts, and textile, clothing and footwear.36 Thai food and beverage company ThaiBev and Malaysian car manufacturer Proton, for instance, are aiming to introduce automation technologies in their plants.34

There is also considerable business opportunity in using AI in the ASEAN financial services and telecom sectors.34 In the financial services sector, ASEAN firms will need to integrate AI functions such as credit scoring, dynamic pricing, and digital marketing, which have demonstrated value in other contexts but have yet to be scaled up in ASEAN. In the telecom sector, local companies can use their access to data to develop increasingly sophisticated analytic tools.34 Demand for AI is also likely to be high within the healthcare industry and the public sector.35 CSIRO’s AI and machine learning capability may prove useful to firms entering or expanding within the AI and automated systems industry.37

Figure 4. Estimated annual shipments of industrial robots, Asia/Australia
Data source: International Federation of Robotics38

The following trends support future growth of this emerging industry in ASEAN and neighbouring economies:



Financial and regulatory services technology

The ‘FinTech’ and ‘RegTech’ industries use technological innovations to deliver cheaper and more efficient financial and regulatory services. Some examples of FinTech applications include: the use of distributed ledger technologies and smart contracts* to automatically execute contracts between buyers and sellers when conditions are met; robo-advisors utilising algorithms to provide more accessible and affordable investment advice; and cryptocurrencies operating on the blockchain. RegTech uses technology to automate regulatory compliance and checking. An example service is Data61’s Regorous technology, which assesses a new business proposal against legislative requirements, identifies the necessary permits and licenses, and prompts the user for the relevant information.50

Many companies within this sector will likely begin as small tech startups, some of which will scale up rapidly. Singapore is dominant within the ASEAN FinTech sector: it is one of two countries with the greatest concentrations of FinTech accelerators in the world,51 and ten of the fifteen best-funded FinTech startups in Southeast Asia are from Singapore. Other well-funded startups include Malaysia’s (personal finance), the Philippines’ Ayannah (online payments), Thailand’s Omise (online payments), and Vietnam’s Payoo (e-wallet).52 FinTech firms may also emerge as spinoffs of existing large digital businesses – for example, Ant Financial, a successful spinoff of the Chinese company Alibaba, now has over 450 million users.53

Although banks will find many FinTech and RegTech services useful for improving efficiency, this sector will also disrupt the banking industry, offering consumers convenient and low-cost alternatives to traditional banking services (e.g. peer-to-peer lending, investment tools and international money transfer platforms). In ASEAN, online payments and mobile wallets present a major business opportunity, accounting for 43 percent of the ASEAN FinTech sector.54 Growth in this sector is driven partially by the high number of migrant workers sending remittances home – the World Bank estimates that remittances to developing countries in the East Asia and Pacific region rose by 4.8 percent in 2013, to reach $145 billion,55 and the US-to-Vietnam remittance market is worth $18.2 billion alone.54 Increasing mobile internet penetration within the ASEAN and the broader Asia Pacific region56 supports the further development of firms in this space –Singapore is ranked as the most mobile payment ready nation in the world, with the Philippines and Malaysia in thirteenth and fourteenth places respectively.57 More comprehensive consumer protection laws and regional collaboration on mobile payment systems will be important in developing this business opportunity.54

Figure 5. Fintech investment in ASEAN
Data source: United Overseas Bank58

*A distributed ledger (e.g. a blockchain) is a consensus of replicated, shared and synchronised data geographically spread across multiple parties, with no central administrator or centralised data storage. A smart contract is computer code stored on the blockchain ledger and able to be executed as part of a transaction’s validation on the blockchain.49

The following trends support future growth of this emerging industry in ASEAN and neighbouring economies:



High value nutrition

The high value nutrition industry produces and distributes food products that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. These include ‘nutraceutical’ products (e.g. dietary supplements), ‘functional foods’ (e.g. energy boosting, weight loss, or diabetes management food products), and ‘high-value’ agriculture food products (e.g. those that are organic or fair-trade). These products are relatively expensive, often sold in specialised stores and rely heavily on consumer perception of quality.

Firms in the high value nutrition sector are likely to be highly innovative startups that are involved in the commercialisation of scientific research. For instance, the University of Auckland’s High Value Nutrition program aims to produce and export food and beverage products that have scientifically proven health benefits.70 The perceived value, safety and nutritional content of these food and beverage products add to their competitive advantage in the market. Existing agribusinesses (including small-scale organic producers) may attempt to move up the value chain and expand into the high value nutrition market.

The greatest demand for high value nutrition products is likely to come from markets with rapidly-expanding middle classes. Indonesia’s middle class is projected to become the world’s eighth-largest by 2020 and the fourth-largest by 2030.71 The Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand are also expected to have grown their middle classes considerably by 2030.72 While the production of high-value nutrition products within ASEAN is still in a nascent stage despite high demand, there are a few potential hubs. Thailand is a regional leader in organic agriculture, with sales of organic food growing seven percent annually between 2010 and 2014.73 Regarding high-tech ‘functional foods’, Singapore’s Clinical Nutrition Research Centre, established in 2014, could make Singapore a hub for nutrition research and commercialisation within the region. Finally, given the region’s high demand, there is scope for ASEAN firms in the high-value nutrition sector to partner with established research expertise – for instance, CSIRO’s food innovation centre helps manufacturers create value-added food products.74

Figure 6. Daily protein consumption in Asia and worldwide
Data source: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization75

The following trends support future growth of this emerging industry in ASEAN and neighbouring economies:



Next generation energy storage and distribution

The next generation energy storage and distribution industry produces and distributes batteries and distribution technologies such as smart grids or micro-grids (for supplying power to remote areas). This industry will grow as battery storage becomes more affordable and as the systems that rely on battery storage (e.g. solar photovoltaic panels and electric vehicles) increase in popularity. The next generation energy storage and distribution sector will consist of a mixture of startups developing cutting-edge new battery technologies, and large industrial companies with resources for large-scale battery production and distribution. An energy startup may also develop smart technologies to reduce energy consumption, improve energy efficiency, and/or improve stability and efficiency of the grid.95

There is significant opportunity to develop this industry across the entire ASEAN region, with the potential to draw on existing research expertise in battery technologies – e.g. CSIRO’s energy storage and battery technologies research unit, which has developed the advanced UltraBattery solar system.96 With Indonesia’s recent commitment to the ASEAN Transboundary Haze Agreement, there is likely to be growing demand from all ASEAN members for renewable energy solutions, including solar power systems and electric vehicles. Industry and government programs to test and promote electric vehicles are present in Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Malaysia has publically stated its aim of having 100,000 electric vehicles, 2,000 electric buses, and 125,000 charging stations by 2030.97 In solar energy, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam are the five main markets driving solar photovoltaic development within ASEAN.98 The region has been identified as having much lower market-entry barriers compared to China and Japan, with “an almost equal balance between competent new local players and international renewable energy companies who are establishing a strong, even leading, market position.”98

Several Singaporean-based energy startups have already emerged: Intraix (which develops low-cost energy management systems and devices, e.g. smart thermostats), DLRE Holdings (which has deployed micro-grids in the Maldives, Vietnam, and Singapore),95 and SolarHome (which provides solar energy for rural off-grid houses and has operations in the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Myanmar).99

Figure 7. Lithium-ion battery prices, worldwide
Data source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance100

The following trends support future growth of this emerging industry in ASEAN and neighbouring economies:



Cyber-physical systems security

This industry provides cybersecurity for cyber-physical systems, which consist of both software and physical components (e.g. smart grids, autonomous cars and drone fleets). The bulk of the companies driving growth in the cyber-physical systems security sector will be startups. In 2017, cybersecurity startups generated $9.9 billion worldwide in venture capital funding, doubling the amount raised in 2016.119 Products and services provided by the industry include, but are not limited to:

Business opportunities for the cyber-physical systems security industry vary throughout the region. In late 2017, Singapore formed a research programme to improve trust, security, and robustness of critical cyber infrastructure.120 Malaysia also has cyber components to its CNII (Critical National Information Infrastructure), and has been boosting its security capability in recent years.121 Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia are expected to drive growth in the ASEAN cybersecurity industry, accounting for 75 percent of the market by 2025. Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia are expected to see the highest growth in their cybersecurity industries, as they address infrastructure gaps over the coming years.122

Figure 8. Projected ASEAN Cybersecurity spending
Data source: AT Kearney122

The following trends support future growth of this emerging industry in ASEAN and neighbouring economies:



Personal health and ageing

The personal health and ageing industry provides older people and their families with a variety of services, allowing them to access appropriate levels of care as they age. These include, but are not limited to:

The personal health and ageing sector is expected to grow as the ASEAN population continues to age rapidly (see Figure 9) and as the region’s chronic disease burden grows. While care services are likely to continue to be delivered by larger, established companies with extensive experience and resources, there is significant opportunity for technology startups to develop supplementary services within this sector (e.g. apps and devices). For instance, Vietnamese startup CLAS Healthcare offers a range of services for both patients and medical providers, including electronic medical record management, image diagnostics management and storage, and an app allowing patients to easily book appointments with nearby available doctors.135 Medical devices also represent a business opportunity – with the exception of Singapore, local ASEAN markets for medical devices are underdeveloped, and Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand all import more than 85 percent of their medical devices.136 The ASEAN Medical Device Directive – an agreement to harmonise regional standards for medical device registration – also makes it easier for medical device manufacturers to expand from a national to a regional level.136

Figure 9. Average percentage of ASEAN population aged 65 and over
Data source: World Bank138

The following trends support future growth of this emerging industry in ASEAN and neighbouring economies:



*Data were not available for Thailand.

Digital infrastructure and connectivity

Many of the industries discussed thus far will rely upon reliable and high-quality digital infrastructure to develop and expand. Digital infrastructure refers to the technologies and structures needed to ensure widespread internet connectivity across a particular region. These include, but are not limited to:

Companies in this industry are responsible for designing, manufacturing, installing, and maintaining this infrastructure. Companies working in the digital infrastructure and connectivity industry are likely to be larger firms with significant material resources and experience.

Connectivity in ASEAN is relatively good – the Akamai State of the Internet report in 2017 found that Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines* all had average connection speeds above 5 Mbps, and a combined average speed of 11.23 Mbps, compared to a global average connection speed of 7.2 Mbps.151 Despite this, it was estimated in 2016 that 58 percent of the broader Asia Pacific region was still unconnected to the internet.152 Given this, there is significant opportunity to provide backbone infrastructure to unconnected areas. In 2016, Laos had the lowest rate of individuals using the internet (21.87 percent), followed by Myanmar, Indonesia, and Cambodia at roughly 25 percent each.153 Other ASEAN nations have better backbone infrastructure but may be in the market for improved or more advanced digital infrastructure, such as Internet of Things installations.

*Data were not available for the other ASEAN members.

Figure 10. Percentage of population in ASEAN countries using the internet
Data source: World Bank Indicators154
Note: Complete time series data were not available for the following countries: Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar

The following trends support future growth of this emerging industry in ASEAN and neighbouring economies:



5 Conclusion

The ASEAN region is entering a period of significant change. As economies transition from industrial production to supply of services, middle-income populations grow, new technologies become available, and consumer preferences change, the industry makeup within ASEAN countries is likely to shift. This report points to some emerging industries that have the potential to reshape ASEAN economies in the decades to come. These sunrise industries reflect a change in supply and/or demand in the market, opening up opportunities for regional development and job creation.

Governments and other stakeholders must decide how best to capitalise on the benefits of the changing industry landscape. However, the importance of intra-regional collaboration in any strategy must be emphasised. Cooperation between economies to secure a regional comparative advantage has been shown to have positive impacts for economic development, allowing companies to improve efficiency, foster innovation through knowledge spill-over, and encourage business formation.6 This cooperation can come in the form of coordinated and joint macroeconomic, infrastructure and industrial policies.169

Digital infrastructure is one area where regional collaboration is particularly important. Ensuring quality regional broadband access will be crucial to ensuring that the industries identified in this report are able to develop across the entire region. A notable future project is the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway, which aims to create “a seamless regional network of fibre optic cables to provide both intra-regional and intercontinental connectivity, in order to drive international bandwidth prices down and improve affordability; increase resilience by offering redundancy; decrease latency across the region; and enhance digital inclusion.”170 To further support the emergence of digitally-enabled industries, other areas of potential regional collaboration and harmonisation include policies and laws on privacy, cybersecurity, and data protection; digital business regulation (especially digital payment systems); and educational efforts to address ASEAN’s shortage of technically-skilled workers.36,54 As ASEAN grows more interconnected, establishing a regional framework for cybersecurity will be particularly important. The development of an ASEAN Rapid Action Cybersecurity Framework has been recommended elsewhere.122

Regional collaboration may also include the deliberate creation of regional industry ‘hubs’. While this report lacks scope to discuss these opportunities in comprehensive detail, we note that some ASEAN members already house thriving or high-potential sunrise industries (e.g. Singapore’s FinTech industry or Thailand’s organic agriculture industry), and that these existing strengths could be leveraged in further developing these industries at a regional level.

At the national level, there are two broad directions to take in facilitating the growth of new industries:

  1. Build architecture and remove barriers. This approach involves creating a business-friendly environment by standardising regulations, addressing regulatory barriers, streamlining the business-founding process and investing in digital and physical infrastructure. This reflects a lower risk, lower reward approach. Benefits to the economy are broad, and industries that succeed are likely to be self-sufficient and require little governmental support in the long-term. The potential payoff associated with this approach is smaller, however, and the process of industry emergence is likely to be lengthier and less transformative.
  2. Strategically invest in a particular industry. Another approach entails ‘picking a winner’ – choosing an emerging industry that is strategically suited to a given context and investing heavily in its development. The aim of this strategy is to utilise first-mover advantage to become a regional or global leader in a particular field. This approach is higher risk – investments may fail, optimal market conditions may cease, or a competitor may move faster and establish a dominant industry. However, with the right industry and policy levers, the potential payoff is significant.

Either of these strategies has the potential to deliver positive outcomes for economies and citizens within ASEAN. This report aims to contribute to the conversation by highlighting a set of emerging industries and providing the framework for strategic investment decisions that ensure future prosperity. It aims to inform government, industry and other stakeholders around potential future areas of growth, and assist decision makers in making strategic choices around the best ways to capitalise on
the opportunities presented.

Strategic Investment Case Study: FinTech in Singapore

As Singapore’s economy became more digitised through the 2000s, high-tech start-ups emerged in collaboration with the country’s advanced financial sector. In 2014 the Singaporean Government launched the Smart Nation strategy, aimed at introducing digital and advanced ICT technologies to policy processes as well as exploring potential industries that may emerge from such technologies.171,172 One of these industries is FinTech, which has grown significantly in recent years.

Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, has a dedicated department called the ‘FinTech and Innovation Group’, whose directive is to facilitate the use of technology in the financial sector. Singapore also has a clear regulatory environment and legislative support for financial innovation. There is a strong culture of public-private cooperation in Singapore – the government Institute for Infocomm Research connects financial companies with scientists looking to commercialise their research, and in 2015 the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced plans to spend $225 million over five years to support the creation of innovation centres and digital technology projects within the banking sector.173 The government is also taking steps to grow domestic FinTech talent, with the launch of two new coding schools, the review of polytechnic curricula to include FinTech skills, and a national SkillsFuture program including training vouchers, enhanced internships, career guidance, and matching programmes.174 Since 2016, Singapore has hosted an annual FinTech Festival, which brings together startups, investors, financial institutions, and government agencies.

Although Singapore is itself a financial centre, its focus on FinTech demonstrates its commitment to innovations around its core industry, and positions it as a global leader able to meet the demands of the broader Asian financial sector.

6 Appendix Methodology

Foresight methodology

This report incorporates insights gained via methods of strategic foresight. Strategic foresight is a cross-disciplinary field of study which aims to explore plausible futures that help people to make wiser choices. Over the past eight years the Data61 Insight Team, housed within one of CSIRO’s business units, has developed a generic strategic foresight process pioneered through multiple megatrends, scenario planning and strategy projects delivered in diverse industry sectors.

The generic process draws upon numerous theories developed by researchers worldwide and on CSIRO’s own practical experience in delivering many strategic foresight projects to private and public clients. The process of identifying megatrends has here been adapted to help identify the emerging markets discussed. Identifying emerging markets involves three key stages of the strategic foresight method.

In the first stage the process commenced with a background study and scope definition. The background study documented the current conditions, size, structure, opportunities and challenges within the ASEAN region. The scope defined the stakeholder groups, timeframe and issues to be considered throughout the remainder of the project.

In the second stage, trends were identified by a horizon scanning process. This cast a wide net over all patterns of change which are potentially relevant to stakeholders and decision makers, and grouped them as geopolitical, social, economic, environmental and technological. The horizon scan errs on the side of being overly inclusive rather than exclusive.

Processes of validation and screening were used at a secondary stage to remove any “by-catch” (i.e. trends which were unsubstantiated or irrelevant). The screening and validation process checked to ensure trends passed two tests: (1) evidence that the pattern of change is actually occurring and likely to continue occurring into the future, and (2) evidence that it matters to the decision maker. The process of validation often involved checking the proposed trend against datasets, expert opinions and research findings in journals to ensure accuracy.

In the third stage the trends were collated and synthesised to identify more salient patterns of change and possible future events which hold significant implications for decision makers. In this report, the synthesis yielded our list of seven emerging industries. These ‘sunrise industries’ and many of their composite trends were presented for discussion and validation at two stakeholder consultation workshops, which were held in Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City at the end of 2017.

GDP forecasting method

The method of estimation for 2018 and 2028 GDP forecast figures (in Table 1) is as follows.

  1. GDP-level data for the relevant countries was derived from the IMF DataMapper, which provided measures in 2017 current prices and in billions of United States dollars (USD).
  2. Actual figures of the time series data were available for the period between 1980 and 2016 (inclusive). Please note that for the following three countries, data were only available for the time periods defined: Brunei Darussalam (1985–2016), Cambodia (1986–2016) and Myanmar (1998–2016).
  3. Out-of-sample forecasts were made for the GDP level of each country listed using an autoregressive model which predicts future behaviour based on past behaviour of time series data. This involved transforming available time series data (i.e. GDP level) into stationary data (i.e. GDP growth), and then regressing the transformed data on their own past values. The estimated model was then used to compute out-of-sample forecasts for GDP growth and GDP level.
  4. All estimates were converted into Australian dollars (AUD) using a 2017 yearly average exchange rate, calculated from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s data on the monthly average exchange rate between AUD/USD.
  5. GDP per capita values were derived by dividing the forecast AUD figure of the relevant year by the forecasted population levels of that year. The value was then multiplied by 1,000,000,000 in order to yield values in ordinary terms (i.e. thousands, or hundreds of thousands of AUD per forecast year, per capita).

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Joanna Horton
Research Analyst
t +61 7 3327 4015

Stefan Hajkowicz
Senior Principal Scientist
t +61 7 3833 5540