Southeast Asia is the fastest growing startup and technology market in the world. Which are the technologies that we need to look out for this year?

With more people in the region utilising web technology than the entire U.S. population, the internet is having a significant and ever-changing impact on technology growth and opportunity. A recent report estimates that by 2025, Southeast Asia’s internet economy will reach $200 billion per year, but it’s quickly becoming apparent that real numbers may exceed this expectation.

The technologies  in SEA driving change

There are specific technologies that are transforming a number of industries in Southeast Asia. They are helping to make lives better or opening new avenues of scientific and technology improvements that have the potential for greater change in the years to come.

singapore skyline home of technology hub

Here are three technologies that have the potential to change multiple industries over the course of 2018:

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The AI market is growing worldwide, with China and the US leading the way. However, there is a significant increase in AI research and application across Southeast Asia. Three countries currently lead the way in the region; Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, making up 86% of AI research.

Singapore alone accounts for 77% of the AI focused patent publications. One of the primary motivations for this expansion into AI research is to boost productivity. A recent McKinsey report estimates that Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand – Southeast Asia’s biggest economies – could potentially see half of their work activities automated through AI technologies, leading to work being done faster and more efficiently.

2. Video Technology

There continues to be an advancement in video technology and greater adoption of these technologies across different industries. As data networks expand and smartphones become more affordable, video technology has become more viable.

Utilising video interaction in industries such as insurance, fieldwork, and finance reduces unnecessary expenses such as fuel, transport costs and manpower, as meetings can happen anywhere via any device. In addition, processes can become more efficient, and productivity can be improved. For example, video interaction can shorten insurance claims processes from months to days, and field service technicians can do more work in less time with the ability to solve onsite issues remotely.

Find out how finance companies are improving customer satisfaction through Video Interaction.

3. Digital Health

We often see the healthcare industry as slow-moving, inefficient and very expensive. However, the recent increase in digital health providers like Alodokter and Klinify in Singapore, has sought to bring the efficiencies of digital solutions to the medical industry.

Digital health technologies are quickly spreading across the region as Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore have all adopted platforms allowing for online appointment booking and health history submissions. In the Philippines, a key focus is on building platforms to collect and synthesise data from pharmacies across the country.

Video interaction is also becoming popular in regards to digital healthcare. Many Southeast Asian countries have far too few physicians to service patients in need. This has resulted in an increase in telemedicine – granting patients access to physicians via online consultations.

Most providers have been seeing greater adoption, as well as established healthcare players either partnering with digital health solution providers or creating their own.

Industries being disrupted

New technologies are also causing disruption by heavily impacting different industries. We can look at this as either a good or bad thing, depending on which side you are on. But, as we’ve seen over time, disruption is usually the result of consumers’ demands and the resulting marketing forces.

Online shopping or eCommerce

online shopping and making payment on e-commerce website

In 2017, eCommerce in Southeast Asia exceeded $10 billion, with an annual growth rate of 41%. This figure is estimated to reach $88 billion by the year 2025.

And that’s not including secondhand sales or consumer-to-consumer sales, which raise the numbers even higher.

Improving messaging technology to expedite onboarding, improve security measures, and provide real-time tracking for deliveries, has helped speed up adoption for many eCommerce platforms. Consumers in Southeast Asia spend a monthly average of 140 minutes online shopping – double the time of their American counterparts!

Transport or ride-sharing

transport technology in sea traffic

Taxi queues are a thing of the past now that ride-sharing has become the norm for most urban areas in the region.

The total spending in the ride-sharing market through the use of mobile apps like Grab and Uber has more than doubled in recent years, exceeding $5 billion in 2017. These numbers are expected to reach $20 billion by 2025. The majority of this increase is expected to come from Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia.

Both ride-sharing drivers and consumers have quadrupled since 2015. This has led to more than six million rides being booked daily through these apps. Though Grab has recently purchased Uber’s Southeast Asian business, it is unlikely to dampen growth as new entrants like Indonesia’s Go-Jek and Singapore’s Ryde are expanding their reach and services to keep the market competitive.

New industries like bike-sharing are starting to gain traction across Southeast Asia. Hence, it is likely that the industry will continue to grow.


Messaging, Chat Apps, Video Interaction and Voice solutions can improve the efficiency and productivity of your business and make you a key player in this new era of technology. To learn how we can help expand your business’s growth using these technologies, visit us here.

To learn more about Wavecell’s Messaging, Chat Apps, Video Interaction or Voice solutions, drop us an email at

About the author

marc magnin head of product of wavecell

This article was contributed by Wavecell’s Head of Product, Marc Magnin.

Posted by Wavecell

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *