06 August 2020

Key points

  • Indonesia – National airport operator, Angkasa Pura 1, has recorded an increase in flight movements after the capacity permitted in an aircraft was raised from 50% to 70%. However, with tight health protocols in airports, passenger movement remains at 17% of usual numbers.
  • Philippines – Traditionally a cash society, COVID-19 has fast-tracked the take-up of digital payments in the Philippines. Globe, the country’s leading telco, reported a 150% increase in registered users for its GCash mobile money service, and an eightfold jump in payments, year on year. The Philippine central bank is aiming for 50% of all payments to be digital by 2023.
  • Thailand – The Thai Hotels Association reports that up to 70 percent of Thailand’s hotels are ready to resume business, with the remaining properties needing more time to adjust their operations to new government-mandated safety and hygiene measures. In response suppliers to the food service sector have seen an uptick in demand for food and beverage products.
  • Vietnam – The Japanese Government has introduced a program to assist Japanese firms in diversifying supply chains – and Vietnam appears a favoured destination. Eligible businesses taking part in the program can access a grant to assist with establishment costs. So far, 30 businesses have registered for the program.

Market opportunities

  • Malaysia – Malaysia is launching a National Vaccine Development Roadmap – and self-sufficiency in biologics (vaccines) is one focus area. To augment the strategic national stockpile, the Malaysian government announced it would purchase vaccines in bulk from abroad while outsourcing bottling to two local pharmaceutical companies DuoPharma Biotech and Pharmaniaga. Current markets of interest include UK, US and China but this could be a potential opportunity for Australian vaccine manufacturers.
  • Philippines – Roughly 56% percent of the Philippines’ ambitious ‘Build Build Build’ infrastructure program (US$170 billion for 100 road, port and airport projects) is now expected to be completed by 2022 due to budget reprioritisation. Greater emphasis is being placed on health and digital infrastructure.
  • Philippines – Consumers’ behaviour and preferences have shifted, and e-commerce platforms offer a good route to market in the short term. Manufacturing and food-service activities are gradually resuming.
  • Philippines – Energy demand is rising and the only operational gas field in the Philippines will likely be depleted by 2024. The Philippines Government and industry are pursuing options for liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports and the development of associated facilities.
  • Philippines – The Philippine’s Government is seeking international partnerships to support its shift to distance learning, including in teacher training and curriculum content. The government is also prioritising digitalisation programs across the economy. This may create opportunities for Australian edtech companies that specialise in innovation, leadership, entrepreneurship and data management.
  • Singapore – The annual Fintech Festival will go ahead with a hybrid online and offline delivery model. Relevant opportunities will be shared with Australian companies once details are confirmed.
  • Thailand – The pandemic has fast-tracked solutions to deliver health services through telemedicine. In Thailand, the Samitjev Virtual Hospital created a smartphone app which enables remote patient examinations, diagnoses and treatments through its 380 physicians around the clock. The service is expected to be rolled out to other Asia-Pacific countries.
  • Thailand – The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on Thailand’s labour market, leading to severe job losses across most industries – especially in tourism. The pandemic has also created a greater sense of urgency for on-the-job training as more companies look for solutions to ensure they have staff with the skills needed to compete in the future.
  • Thailand – A downturn in Thailand’s automotive sector is coinciding with the implementation of new technologies, including AI, designed to improve efficiency. This is impacting the sector’s 2,000 auto-parts makers, which employ half a million workers. The demand for retraining programs will likely rise.
  • Vietnam – A proposed merger deal between Tiki and Sendo, two of the leading e-commerce platforms in Vietnam, has collapsed due to COVID-19. Both companies are now seeking alternative options for additional funding.


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