Defining A Strategy and Policy for Asia Pacific’s Next Generation of Digital Nations
By Jeanette Whyte, Head of Public Policy, Asia Pacific, GSMA
South Korea was the first country in the world to launch 5G mobile services – and has a reputation for leading the way when it comes to harnessing emerging technologies such as AI, the Metaverse and post quantum computing to drive digital transformation as a leading Digital Nation. So, it’s fitting therefore, that industry leaders and policy makers are gathering in its capital of Seoul, next month, for the GSMA’s M360 APAC leadership conference, to discuss the next steps in how countries across the region can move forward as Digital Nations.
While not every country in Asia Pacific is a digital leader, all of them aspire to be Digital Nations by integrating digital technologies and services into every part of their society, to build resilient economies using finite resources to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Asia Pacific’s rich diversity is its strength as less advanced markets such as India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan, representing over two billion people, stand to benefit from leveraging the innovations and learnings from their 5G mature neighbours, while achieving cost efficiencies and scale of adoption.
India, for example, is undertaking the world’s fastest 5G rollout, as Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, the country’s two biggest telcos, deploy more than 300,000 5G base stations across all the nation’s 22 service areas (or circles) to hit their minimum 5G rollout targets ahead of schedule.
The rapid growth and evolution of emerging technologies has the potential to transform the entire fabric of society, are now becoming mainstream. Adoption of emerging technologies is a matter of ‘when’ and ‘how’, not ‘if’ for both leading, and less advanced, Digital Nations in Asia Pacific. The rationale is clear: these technologies provide an opportunity to increase productivity with limited resources and, importantly, help countries remain globally competitive amid growing uncertainties around established supply chains. However, it is imperative for policy makers, private sector players, and other stakeholders to adopt these technologies in a safe, responsible and sustainable manner.
As countries in Asia Pacific look to realise the potential of emerging technologies and transition to digital nations several considerations come into play:
Connectivity is at the foundation of a Digital Nation. The reliable network-based services, such as edge compute and ultra-low-latency applications, which 5G networks are well placed to deliver, are essential to enable cloud-based applications and the emerging technologies that will power future Digital Nations.
Leadership is central to the effective formulation of business strategies and implementation of policies and initiatives when it comes to emerging technologies, especially given the far-reaching impact of these technologies.
International cooperation is fundamental to the development of digital solutions as using emerging technologies, and their potential impact, transcend national and even regional borders. Given the transformational potential of emerging technologies, there is a case to make that there needs to be collective progress in the development and application of emerging technologies, so that no country in Asia Pacific is left behind.
Innovation and collaboration are essential for Digital Nations to be robust and sustainable. Digital innovation is a powerful catalyst for driving sustainability across various sectors, enabling the development of solutions that are transforming businesses while addressing environmental, social, and economic challenges. Collaboration is fundamental to the development of a robust digital ecosystem, particularly as we approach the post-5G era to deliver the 6G vision of network convergence, digitally transformative services, and the creation of a dynamic digital ecosystem.
Policies are vital for a digital future to harness the benefits and mitigate the risks for the whole of society and it requires a “Whole of Government Approach”. A disjointed and fragmented approach will at best be ineffective and costly, and at worst dangerous on numerous grounds, including national security and social cohesion. How quickly countries in Asia Pacific adopt emerging technologies in a safe, responsible and sustainable manner will be a function of the level of collaboration across government, the private sector and other non-state institutions.
For readers wanting to know more about how we can drive forward the advancement of Digital Nations in Asia Pacific, we will be launching an in-depth report next month at the GSMA’s M360 APAC conference in Seoul.
The event will also bring together forward-thinking experts from across industries and government, who will convene to share their expertise and visions for driving the next generation of Digital Nations in Asia Pacific. The Policy Leaders Forum, held on first day of the conference (September 7) will be the place where Digital Leaders in Asia Pacific can meet and learn from subject matter experts, practitioners, policymakers, regulators and industry on how to shape policies for sustainable growth, innovation and investment.
We are delighted to welcome members of the press to attend M360 APAC – please click here to register using this code for press registration only: PKS6YM7UGM. For media looking for further information or help with registration, please email the GSMA press office: [email protected]
We look forward to your interest and attendance at M360 Asia Pacific 2023 in Seoul.