More than 75% of six countries in Southeast Asia now have access to the internet, report finds

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  • According to a new report by Google, Temasek Holdings and Bain & Company, more than 75% of the population in six major Southeast Asian countries have internet access and most of them have shopped online at least once.
  • For the first time this year, 40 million people came online in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, the report, which is in its sixth year, said on Wednesday.
  • The report said that this increased the number of Internet users in those six countries to more than 440 million, of which 80% made a purchase online at least once.

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According to a new report by Google, Temasek Holdings and Bain & Company, more than 75% of the population in six major Southeast Asian countries have internet access and most of them have shopped online at least once.

- Advertisement -

For the first time this year, at least 40 million people came online in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, according to a report released on Wednesday.

The report said that this increased the number of Internet users in those six countries to more than 440 million, of which 80% made a purchase online at least once.

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The report did not address the populations of all Southeast Asian countries except ASEAN members Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, as well as East Timor and Papua New Guinea.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to an increase in digital services such as e-commerce, food and grocery delivery and online payments. More than 60 million people in the region used digital services for the first time because of COVID-19 – and 20 million of them did so in the first half of 2021, according to the report, which is in its sixth year.

The Road to a $1 Trillion Internet Economy

Most of the internet sector in Southeast Asia has been resilient to the effects of the pandemic, including months of stringent lockdown measures that have hit businesses and employment around the world.

As the number of people vaccinated against Covid grows, countries have gradually eased restrictions this year to get their economies back on track.

The report predicts that the internet sector in those six Southeast Asian countries could reach $174 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) in 2021 – 49% more than a year ago, with most of e-commerce growth developed. GMV is the most commonly used metric in e-commerce that measures the total dollar value of goods sold in a given period.

According to the report, along with e-commerce, online financial services are also on the rise in the region as digital payments and e-wallets become more mainstream. Gross transaction value for digital payments in those six countries is estimated to be $707 billion this year, up 9% from last year.

All the six countries are set to register double digit growth this year as compared to 2020.

The report showed the Philippines is leading by a large margin, and will see a 93% increase in GMV from $9 billion in 2020 to $17 billion in 2021.

Overall, the Internet economy in the six countries is projected to surpass $360 billion by 2025. According to the report, this could reach anywhere between $700 billion and $1 trillion by 2030, as online shopping becomes the norm.

a thriving deals scenario

More investors are pouring money into Southeast Asia’s Internet economy, especially in sectors such as e-commerce and online financial services.

According to the report, large funding rounds and high valuations for start-ups have created 11 new consumer technology unicorns this year, while more established companies are seeking initial public offerings. A unicorn is a start-up that is valued at $1 billion or more.

For example, online marketplace Carousel raised $100 million in new funds in September, valuing the company at $1.1 billion, while ride-hailing giant Grab announced plans to go public in April.

Indonesia’s e-commerce company Bukalpak also made its stock market debut in August.

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