The online economy is slowly taking over the world, with Southeast Asia currently a hotbed for everything transactional over the internet. Growing at a rate of over 25 percent per year, eCommerce is already more than a $30 billion market in the region, with Southeast Asia’s total internet economy exceeding $100 billion in 2020.
Further propelling the scene is the rapid rate at which people are adopting internet-connected devices, with 40 million new users added last year to make the region’s online population exceed 400 million. As it stands, eCommerce, online travel, ride-hailing, and media are the biggest money-makers in the region, but it’s still a very new market. Still, Google’s head of eCommerce, travel, and financial services called Southeast Asia the next frontier for eCommerce growth.
The economy, market, and technology behind the platforms are all set to grow and evolve at quite some speed over the coming years. So, we’re looking at a selection of key technologies that look set to become even more integral as the market grows, and business plans that will excel alongside Southeast Asia’s online environment.
The Tech Behind the Much-hyped Cryptocurrency
While the future of cryptocurrency as a widely adopted and accepted payment method is heavily debated, the technology that enables it to operate cannot be denied. Blockchains are here to stay and are estimated to underpin more and more business models in the years to come. In Southeast Asia, it’s BlockchainSpace that is promoting the adoption of blockchain technology, which will only increase the worldwide market value towards its heralded $60.7 billion by 2024.
The blockchain model is simply too trustworthy to not have built into modern online businesses. Its value comes through the distributed ledger’s ability to make information transfers and transactions more efficient, as well its ability to easily rescale as the business itself increases in size. Perhaps most importantly, though, is the security and immutability that comes with basing a business on a blockchain as only those with permission can access it, and as blocks can’t be removed, complete trust and transparency are upheld.
Guiding the New Online Communities to the Best Content
Although people will suggest certain sites, browsers prioritise results, and the internet is very intuitive, consumers find a great deal of use from comparison websites or web portals. Through collecting highly-rated user reviews and employing industry experts, web portals can become essential parts of the Southeast Asia online environment. They essentially work as hubs that find, review, detail, and offer recommendations for all of the websites within their given field.
One of the newest industries in the Southeast Asia region is online gambling. Having been established in 2013, the largest online gambling portal in the region has found and compared over 100 casinos and sportsbooks across many nations. Over 120,000 users come to read the honest reviews for sites and the expert guides for games and betting. Going by the example set here, having web portals for each new online industry will only help to advance the sectors through increased competition and more informed users.
Adopting, or Even Developing, eWallet Payment Solutions
Southeast Asia is one of the leading cash payments regions of the world, and while adoption is relatively slow for digital solutions, it will certainly grow. Some 71 percent of 2019 transactions were in cash, but as stores and people become better connected to the internet, secure eWallets will greatly increase in popularity. Additionally, it’s not just payments from customers to businesses that will propel the adoption of digital wallets, with peer-to-peer transactions tipped to be a major driver.
A core aspect of eWallet adoption is that it democratizes finance, bringing a means of money to the population without bank accounts. Still, one of the main reasons why adoption has been slow is that few merchants accept the payment method. As more customers move online, eWallets will become more appealing, with online stores more easily offering them as an option. So, to both increase the adoption of eWallets and the business’ appeal by offering a wide selection of transaction methods, online businesses should look to offer one or several eWallet payment options.
Southeast Asia’s online economy is growing rapidly as we speak. The advantage of getting businesses online now is that several key technologies and models are well-established and templated around the internet. This will enable savvy entrepreneurs to tweak the formula for the betterment of the emerging market.