Thailand’s manufacturing sector, vital for its national economy, took a significant hit from the pandemic. Hopes were buoyed as treatment, protocols and vaccinations started to take effect. Nonetheless, other geopolitical uncertainties have caused apprehension. Despite the uncertainties, industries are preparing for an economic recovery with technological advancements and hybrid work models in the past few years.
The rise of modern, smart devices in IT and OT has ushered in a convergence of systems as industries seek to automate, increase productivity, and accommodate the hybrid work model. However, although cyber-physical systems comprise the foundation of the critical infrastructure of industries, these also heighten security requirements.
The OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight held on 26 May 2022 focused on the importance of automation and convergence of IT and OT systems in Thailand’s industries.
Keep the Machines Turning
Kicking off the session, Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director & Editor-in-Chief acknowledges that the backbone of most industries or economies in the world is manufacturing. Without a doubt, the sector took a massive hit in the last two years because of COVID-19.
“And yes, automation came into play in a big, big way. But while we are automating things, and we are bringing in IoT and devices, to help us streamline our process, we are also creating lots of vulnerabilities,” Mohit warns.
People recognise simple things that they need to survive in the face of a massive threat. If individuals consider the threat – not just in terms of their personal plans – but also in the context of the entire supply chain, they realise that it takes only one link to break to cripple the entire supply chain.
Mohit acknowledges that there is a big gap between IT and OT; they are functioning almost as two separate entities, even under the same umbrella. To successfully progress, this dichotomy needs to be addressed in a meaningful way.
COVID-19 did happen – but machines must keep on turning. “People need to learn fast that if we work hard, and we work collectively, we can save ourselves,” Mohit emphasises. “But in doing so, we do not have to go on the journey alone. “
In conclusion, Mohit stresses the necessity of having the proper partners in place to safeguard a company’s entire IT and OT infrastructure. Experts can work in their space while organisation staff can concentrate on their key tasks. In this way, not only will there be business continuity, but the output will increase rather than slow down.
Securing Cyber-Physical Systems and the XIoT
Vijay Vaidyanathan, Regional Vice President for Solutions Engineering of Claroty, spoke next on emerging cyber-physical systems and emerging threats.
To open, he shared how “55 billion new brute force attacks on RDP ports happened between May and August 2021.” Vijay asked to think about a facility with a lot of assets, a key piece of infrastructure or a hospital are all have systems that compute, control, network or analyse data for their operations -systems that operate in both the cyber and physical worlds.
“These systems’ security considerations transcend both the cyber and physical worlds known as cyber-physical systems,” he said.
Cyber-physical systems are vital to everyday lives as most businesses are undergoing digital transformation, and it is currently accelerating. However, some systems were not created with security measures – as organisations become hyperconnected, these systems create susceptibilities.
Fragile systems quickly stand out in an interconnected setup and expose the entire chain to a host of threats. Online solutions mean that systems are on 24×7 with a wider landscape for bad actors to exploit, significantly increasing risk.
Vijay observes that the frequency of attacks is on the rise, particularly with ransomware, which has the potential of disrupting the entire supply chain by blocking one point. In an increasingly digital world, organisations can be attacked in diverse ways, at multiple points at any time.
Business continuity, increased production, operational agility and efficiency are what are driving organisations to adopt cyber-physical systems. Industries cannot achieve this without digital transformation, he acknowledges.
Similar comparisons and examples can be drawn from healthcare sectors that are undergoing digital transformation in their systems and data centres that rely on digital interconnectivity to serve their customers and provide service reliability.
Overall, the pandemic has driven an increase in remote access and more data transmissions from multiple locations over mission-critical networks.
While necessary, they do generate greater exposure to cyber threats. There is an increase in cyber-attacks where bad actors leverage remote nodes to compromise networks and operations. This is what is motivating organisations to safer innovation, secure transformations and reliable connectedness, as well as modifying unsafe postures and exposures.
In the final assessment, Vijay is convinced that organisations must embrace cloud technologies in addition to the rapid diversification of devices in the Industrial Internet of Things or Extended IoT. It enables them to safely expand and handle the massive amounts of data generated by their networks, allowing them to leverage it for a variety of purposes. Moreover, cloud intrinsically offers robust security requirements.
Manufacturing and Cyber Supply Chain Security
Leonard Ong, GE Healthcare’s Senior Director for Regional Cyber Security, elaborated on cyber resiliency in a digital and interconnected landscape.
Citing the 2022 IBM X-Force Intelligence Index, Leonard revealed that in 2021, manufacturing was the top industry experiencing the highest incident rates for cyber-attacks. Five years earlier, healthcare was the top industry favourite of cybercriminals. These trends show that as one industry strengthens its cyber security protection measures, perpetrators of cybercrimes merely find and shift to an industry it can lord over.
The scale of the impact, Leonard shared, can run up to US$ 300 million per incident as evidenced by the attacks on Merck and Maersk. The Maersk and TNT cases caused hundreds of millions of dollars in terms of lost business and clean-up costs.
Everything is interrelated and everything revolves around the cyber supply chain, including people, processes, technology and reputation. Services are being pushed through the cyber-supply chain, specifically the hardware and software.
In recent years, the approaches, tactics and procedures of cyberattacks have been studied, thus bad actors have changed their strategies on how they attack the company’s cyber-security. Some of the most widely used software programmes constitute security risks. Unfortunately, many, if not all, of these software companies have been compromised. Any business or product using the software could be targeted as well.
Manufacturing is experiencing the highest cyber incident rates. In 2021, cyberattacks in the sector increased to 23.2 % from the previous years and now, it is the most targeted industry.
Ransomware also affects many businesses and organisations. Although cyber insurance exists, it can only compensate the company for the costs they have incurred. Cyber insurance is not a solution for preventing cyber-attacks and is notoriously difficult to obtain.
With this, the manufacturing strategy for cyber resilience must also evolve and be preemptive rather than reactive or compensatory.
Manufacturing firms have spent most of the last decade unaware of the threat of the cyber-attack. Management is frequently unaware of potential risks, and most employees have little to no training in identifying and avoiding potential threats.
As cybercrime against the manufacturing industry reaches new heights and shows no signs of abating, these companies should be more cautious and learning about the top cyber threats for manufacturing companies is the first step toward developing a cybersecurity solution to protect their business.
Leonard emphasises that a dynamic approach allows an organisation to enjoy and benefit from the new technology while keeping its data safe. Admittedly, the process is easier said than done. Be that as it may, it takes a mind shift to start and be well on the way to a secure digital transformation.
Delegates engaged in participatory conversations supported by polling questions following the enlightening presentations. This programme is intended to give live audience interaction, create participation, hear real-life experiences, and provide participants with professional learning and growth.
Delegates had the opportunity to learn from subject matter experts, discuss their experiences and take away methods that may be implemented in their organisations.
The first poll asked delegates if what transformation related to business and/or operations has impacted their organisation’s cybersecurity needs? An overwhelming majority (50%) cited new age smart gen devices are increasing in operations and they are connecting to IT and/or internet; while other (35%) went to existing OT getting connected and converged with IT networks.
Leonard advised the delegates to not be afraid of new technologies because they bring higher levels of productivity, thus they must work together with cyber security and info systems.
On being asked where the delegates’ organisation’s mission-critical OT about their state cybersecurity: Most (42%) are optimising – they are integrating OT security with IT security tools and driving governance/resilience enterprise-wide. The second-highest vote (28%) related to visibility or identifying visibility of their assets and networks, identifying risks and security blind spots; and others (21%) said awareness that they recognise and commit to addressing OT cyber security.
Leonard acknowledges that different organisations have different risk tolerances and it is safer to have their data server in the data centre.
Many consumers say they’ve done the assessment, but they’re still unsure what they should correct and how they should repair it, according to Vijay. He went on to say that on the IT side, they have their systems optimised for security, while on the OT side, they have a small number of customers that are ready to begin integrating IT and OT.
The third question asked the delegates about their opinion on what cyber security defence strategy would bring them immediate and big benefits including reduction of exposed risk. A majority (57%) opted for vulnerability assessment while over a third (35%) indicated zero-trust secure remote access. For the others (7%), network segmentation and network policy management would offer immediate benefits.
One of the delegates opined that the assessment is the first step to bringing their organisation to a secure place. Zero-trust secure access is very hard, and they need to secure their systems with a hybrid work model.
On which aspect of cyber resilience strategy would be better suited to guide the OT cyber posture, a majority (42%) went with backups and restoration techniques. Over a quarter (28%) opted for segmentation; while the rest (21%) indicate table-top exercises, what-if analysis and mitigating action plans.
Vijay felt that all measures described in the poll question would strengthen any solution, especially the measures related to defence and resilience. However, because not all OT systems can have encryption, they will always have restrictions.
Looking at what delegates’ largest issue would be If they decided to roll out cybersecurity controls to OT, a majority (61%) say OT priorities such as safety and availability. About 15% chose OT mindset like complacency and state of denial and OT education like OT education on cybersecurity to bridge IT-OT on technology. The remaining (7%) indicated OT systems such as proprietary and specialised.
Leonard agrees that everything starts with a mindset while Vijay says a state of mind is sometimes a state of denial.
The final poll asked the delegates where they stand in terms of realising the benefits of cloud technology contributing toward digital transformation. Half (50%) believe they partially host apps and applications in the cloud while 40% opted for embracing cloud and a tenth (10%) are evaluating how they can embrace cloud (10%).
The Breakfast Insight concluded with remarks from Vijay who believes it is expedient to have several security measures in place. Irrespective, the best practice is to know the system challenges and limitations present in the organisation’s system.
“OT will always have limitations because not all OT systems can have encryption,” explains Vijay. “Thus, the best solution will be tailored to an organisation’s strengths, weaknesses, culture and protocol.”
Vijay, for his part, says that the starting point is always visibility as it is where organisations identify their vulnerabilities. After these weak points are known, companies can then add a layer of protection.
Organisations from different sectors can then extrapolate that visibility to important cybersecurity deliverables such as vulnerability management, risk profiling, Network Policy Management, threat detection, providing multiple sources of threat intelligence, and safeguarding remote access, among others.
Some organisations offer a platform that lays the groundwork for exposure. This includes visibility across the network’s assets, communication across processes throughout operating zones and visibility into remote connections into these mission-critical networks.
Leonard’s recommendations included evaluation and improvement of security architecture, a gradual and balanced implementation pace of zero-trust approaches, investment in the enhanced detection system and automation of security response.
All organisations that use alphanumeric Sender IDs to send SMS are now required to register with the Singapore SMS Sender ID Registry (SSIR) as part of the measures announced by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) last October. This registration is intended to protect consumers from non-registered SMS that may be scams, a press statement has said.
Starting from 31 January, any non-registered SMS will be labelled as “Likely-SCAM”. This functions similarly to a spam filter or spam bin. Consumers might get non-registered SMS labelled as “Likely-SCAM” and are advised to exercise caution. If unsure, consumers are encouraged to check with family and friends. This will improve IMDA’s overall resilience against scams.
All organisations that use alphanumeric Sender IDs must register early with the SSIR. This is to give adequate time as non-registered SMS Sender IDs after 31 January will be labelled as “Likely-SCAM”. Organisations that have not registered their Sender IDs are advised to do so, the statement said.
As of January 2023, over 1,200 organisations have already registered with SSIR, using more than 2,600 SMS Sender IDs. These include financial institutions, e-commerce operators, logistics providers, and SMEs that send SMS to their customers who have registered with the SSIR.
In recent months, IMDA reached out to organisations through aggregators and associations such as the Singapore Business Federation, Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, and Association of Banks in Singapore, to encourage them to register with the SSIR. The mandatory SSIR regime is part of a broader effort to protect against scams, which also includes working with telecom operators to reduce the number of scam calls and SMS coming through the communication networks.
Since the implementation of the SSIR in March 2022, there has been a significant decrease in scams reported through SMS, with a 64% reduction from the last quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 2022. Additionally, scam cases perpetrated via SMS dropped from 10% in 2021 to 8% in Q2 2022, down from 10% in 2021.
To effectively combat scams, a collective effort from society is needed. Despite implementing various measures, scammers may adapt their methods and tactics. IMDA will continue to collaborate with other stakeholders in the fight against scams, but individual vigilance and awareness are crucial. Consumers should remain vigilant and share scam prevention tips with friends and loved ones, the statement said.
IMDA leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA is working to develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem. It fosters talent, strengthens business capabilities, and enhances Singapore’s ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment and enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission.
Scams and unwanted commercial electronic messages and calls are an international problem with scammers continuing to prey on unsuspecting parties. Last year, IMDA and Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to boost cooperation and fight scams and spam. The agreement covers cooperation in information sharing and assistance in investigations relating to scam and spam calls and short message services. The two sides also agreed to mutual exchanges of knowledge and expertise and collaboration on technical and commercially viable solutions in relation to scam and spam communications.
Multiple local governments in China announced measures to increase digital economy growth in 2023. Some cities, like Shanghai, and provinces, such as Zhejiang, Fujian, and Hebei, have set goals for economic progress for this year.
They emphasised the importance of the digital nation’s growth. They advocated for attempts to create blueprints for future sectors such as the metaverse, an immersive virtual environment enabled by virtual reality and augmented reality.
Zhang Yunming, The Vice-Minister of Industry and Information Technology, urged telecommunications companies to increase infrastructure construction and deployment. He pushed national telecom companies to deepen efforts in promoting an innovation-driven development strategy and accelerate the integration of digital and real economies.
As a result of the statement, connected business stocks surge. On Thursday, shares of nearly ten firms, including China National Software and Service Co, rose by the daily limit of 10%, demonstrating investors’ optimism about the rise of the digital economy in 2023.
Previously, consumer-oriented internet applications such as e-commerce drove China’s digital economy, but today business-oriented applications such as industrial internet play a far more prominent role. This demonstrates that the digital economic model has improved.
According to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a government think tank, China’s digital economy is predicted to exceed 60 trillion yuan (US$8.84 trillion) by 2025.
China has laid the groundwork for the digital economy’s next era. According to data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, more than 2.3 million 5G base stations will have been completed in China by the end of 2022, and the country will be able to link over 500 million residences to a gigabit optical network.
Furthermore, according to the ministry, digital connectivity for the mobile internet of things in China reached 1.84 billion in 2022, making China the first leading economy in the world to have more mobile IoT connections than mobile subscribers. The internet of things is a network of devices, cars, and other items equipped with software or sensors that facilitate interaction and share data. According to Zhao Zhiguo, the ministry’s spokeswoman, China’s mobile IoT connections account for 70% of the global total and cover the 45 major sectors of the national economy.
According to Wang Zhiqin, vice president of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, China has established a competent telecom infrastructure that will serve as a solid basis for China’s digital economy’s high-quality development. According to a forecast released by China’s Cyberspace Administration, the digital economy in China will be worth 45.5 trillion yuan in 2021, making it the world’s second-largest after the United States.
Liu, Vice Premier He said in a speech at the World Economic Forum’s annual conference in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday that China “must always make constructing a socialist market economy the direction of our transformation.
“We must allow the market to play a decisive role in resource allocation while also allowing the government to play a more active role. Some believe China will pursue a planned economy. That is not conceivable,” Liu remarked.
The remarks were consistent with the tone-setting Central Economic Work Conference, which concluded in December and underlined the importance of working “unwaveringly” to consolidate and strengthen the public sector and encourage, support, and guide private-sector development.
Tencent Holdings vice president Xu Yan believed that the government had increased its efforts recently to establish a world-class business environment for private enterprises. Tencent is stepping up its efforts to accelerate the merger of the physical and digital economies through innovation. The corporation has invested 150 billion yuan in R&D over the last three years.
Furthermore, the Chinese digital yuan has gained popularity. According to estimates from the country’s central bank, the quantity of digital yuan in circulation will reach 13.61 billion yuan (US$2.01 billion) by the end of 2022.
Digital yuan, like the physical renminbi, is a component of Chinese money as a legal tender in digital form. According to Xuan Changneng, vice governor of the bank, it is vital to integrate data and analysis while also undertaking general management of the two types of money.
This year, the government wants relevant ministries and agencies to tighten management and increase oversight of e-commerce activities to identify violations and prevent tax losses. The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s (MoIT) E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency will work with departments from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and the Ministry of Finance to share data and better regulate business activity on social media and in cyberspace.
The inspections will also focus on ensuring that e-commerce platforms and social networks are taking proper steps to screen, prevent and block accounts that do not provide adequate information or have signs of trading in counterfeit or illegal goods.
The E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency will continue to collaborate with other government agencies such as the Market Management Agency, the Department of Cybersecurity and High-Tech Crime Prevention, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and MIC to inspect and monitor e-commerce businesses for compliance with the law, in accordance with plans approved by the Minister of Industry and Trade.
The agency will also evaluate existing policies and make practical changes to improve the management of e-commerce business activities. It will upgrade infrastructure and supporting services and incorporate new technologies to assist the digital transformation of businesses.
Furthermore, the agency will offer training to improve the inspection and handling of violations in e-commerce. It will organise events to promote anti-counterfeiting and encourage e-commerce website operators to better protect consumers’ interests.
Last year, Vietnam’s e-commerce industry continued to grow and become a significant distribution channel. As the economy recovers from the pandemic, e-commerce has been a leading sector in the digital economy. A survey from the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that retail e-commerce revenue in Vietnam increased by 20% in 2022 as compared to 2021, reaching US$ 16.4 billion. This accounted for 7.5% of the total retail sales of goods and services in the country.
To establish trust for consumers in online shopping, safeguard legitimate traders, and foster e-commerce development, the government reviewed and requested e-commerce companies to remove or lock 1,663 stalls with 6,437 counterfeits or violated goods, and blocked five infringing websites.
Experts recommend that there should be regulations on the responsibility of information security of relevant organisations and individuals in order to prevent tax loss and protect business interests. This includes regulations on the security of websites and the responsibility to provide information to tax authorities, which would help make tax management more effective.
Associate Professor Le Xuan Truong, Director of the Academy of Finance’s Faculty of Taxation and Customs under the Ministry of Finance, suggested that the government should implement a regulation that forces e-commerce trading floors to be responsible for withholding and paying taxes on behalf of individuals as well as perform payment intermediary services and participate in operating and controlling delivery activities and receiving money from buyers. Over 40 countries worldwide so far have regulated the responsibility of e-commerce exchanges in deducting taxes of individuals if the floor provides payment services, or directly participates in the delivery and receipt of goods by buyers and sellers.
Thailand’s Minister of Digital Economy and Society (DES), Chaiwut Thanakmanusorn, disclosed that the Cabinet adopted the Royal Decree Measures for Prevention and Suppression of Technology Crime in principle. Accordingly, the act was assigned to the Office of the Council of State for consideration before further enforcement.
In essence, the proposed order prescribes steps to prevent and suppress deceit in people transferring money by telephone or other means. The law also grants authorities the authority to regulate financial transactions. It prohibits opening accounts on electronic cards or wallets to bring money or property to be used in criminal acts.
The proposed Decree requires financial institutions and business operators to disclose information about their client’s accounts and transactions via a data exchange system to suspend transactions when necessary.
“The drafting of this law is a collaboration of several agencies, including the Royal Thai Police, the NBTC Office, and the Bank of Thailand. Thai Bankers Association Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO), etc., believe that this regulation will undoubtedly assist in eliminating the problem of ghost sims, pony accounts, and online crime problems,” Chaiwut clarified.
Procedures for halting transactions can be done when a financial institution or business operator discovers a questionable issue or is told by a competent official. They must advise financial institutions or business owners to halt transactions. The transmitting financial institution or company operator must promptly halt future transactions. They can comply with the transaction if they inspect and find no suspicious cause.
If the victim reports a fraudulent transaction, financial institutions or business operators must immediately and temporarily cease transactions and tell financial institutions or business operators receiving transfers to do the same. For the victim to file a complaint with the investigators within 48 hours, the investigators must act on that account and electronic wallet within seven days of notification. Notification of information or evidence can be sent by phone or electronically.
Furthermore, Telecommunication Service Providers have the authority to communicate information and allow the Royal Thai Police, AMLO offices, and approved agencies to view the information exchanged. At the same time, the Office of the NBTC is in charge of developing the central database for user registration information, short messages, investigation, and prevention.
The use or disclosure of personal data to prevent, detect, and deter online crime will follow personal data protection legislation. It is required to properly tackle the social media problem of fraudulent people and eliminate some legal issues that cause the integration of work between multiple agencies to be stopped or delayed in the current situation.
The act governs the usage of an account and a SIM card. It will instruct consumers to create a personal account for an electronic card or wallet. The act of opening a without the purpose of using it will be considered an infringement. Anyone who knowingly or ought to knowingly allow another individual to use or borrow their SIM card is breaking the law since criminals could use it for fraud or illegal conduct. Breaches of this law may be imprisonment for up to three years or a fine of up to 300,000 baht (US$9163.10) or both.
It is illegal for anybody to obtain, market, or post news to purchase or sell accounts, electronic cards, electronic wallets, or phone sim cards that may result in criminal activity. Anyone who breaches this will face imprisonment for 2 to 5 years and a fine ranging from 200,000 baht (US$9163.1) to 500,000 baht (US$15271.84) or both.
When aberrant behaviour is discovered or a complaint is made to the bank and enables banks and relevant organisations to reveal and exchange information about online crimes through a standard database system. Thai authorities have the authority to suspend or postpone financial transactions for an extended length of time.
Special Wisit Wisitsorn-at, Professor, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, expressed the MDES need to present the draft to the Office of the Council of State for review and consideration before the announcement goes into effect.
HKSTP has entered a strategic partnership with a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company to position Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area as a leader in life science innovation and set an example for the region. This is the first collaboration between HKSTP and the life sciences corporation that encompasses technology and data sharing.
The two are committed to promoting life science innovation and healthcare policy. They aim to provide a robust platform and support for start-ups in Hong Kong and mainland China by creating an ecosystem for healthcare start-ups. The goal is to make the Greater Bay Area a leader in life science and healthcare innovation and serve as a model for the rest of China in terms of technology application and registration. Additionally, they hope to establish the GBA as a hub for talent and corporates in the Asia Pacific region.
The principal areas of collaboration are:
- Shaping Policy – A white paper to articulate policy recommendations, organising a public forum and a round-table for an in-depth discussion with government officials;
- Co-incubation program – providing the start-ups with support and guidance on science, strategy and marketing, and creating a platform for the start-ups and potential partners to network and exchange; and,
- Data collaboration – Fostering a conducive data-sharing environment in the STP Platform and among stakeholders; exploring synthetic data generation tools; promoting the “data collaboration” concept to the community.
The Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry was one of the witnesses to the Collaboration Agreement Signing Ceremony, he stated that the partnership aligns with the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Development Blueprint recently released.
With the strong support from the Central Government and the government’s commitment to I&T development, as well as Hong Kong’s unique advantages, the partnership will greatly contribute to the development of a world-class biomedical ecosystem in Hong Kong.
The CEO of HKSTP stated that the partnering firm is a global pharmaceutical leader with strong connections to business leaders, scientists, marketers, and investors globally. It is believed that the partnership will foster the development of more health talents and significantly speed up growth in our medical research, drug development, and clinical trial processes.
The Head of the firm’s China-based innovation centre stated that the company is so glad to see this collaboration happen. It is hoped that the partnership can bridge HK and other cities in China for more opportunities to exchange, collaborate and empower start-ups; accelerate conversion and commercialisation; and to bringing hope to patients in China.
The APAC Sub Region 3 Head of the firm’s diagnostics arm noted that Hong Kong has a great foundation of scientific research. The firm looks forward to this collaboration in advancing high-quality research work, building a platform for innovation and benefiting the Asian population as well as the rest of the world.
The launch ceremony was attended by various dignitaries including the Under Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry; the Commissioner for Innovation and Technology, the Head of APAC Area at the firm, the Head of the firm’s accelerator (CICoR), the General Manager, Hong Kong and Macau and Mr Ronald Lo, General Manager, at the firm’s Hong Kong and Macau diagnostics arms.
Recent research has found that the global life science analytics market size was valued at US$ 8.3 billion in 2021, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7% from 2022 to 2030. This growth is driven by the increasing adoption of analytics by the life science industry, which uses descriptive and reporting analysis for building databases and prescriptive and predictive analysis for predicting future trends and results.
The Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) plans to increase its efforts to attract foreign investors and make Malaysia a hub for investment, including Italian investors, who were recently informed of potential business opportunities and partnerships in industries such as chemicals, green technology, e-economy, smart technology, and Industry 4.0 value chains in Malaysia.
The Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) recently conducted a working visit to Italy from 20 to 23 January 2023 to enhance the business relationship between the two countries. As a result of this visit, several Italian companies have shown interest in investing in Malaysia as it is considered a strategic gateway to the ASEAN and Asia Pacific regions. The visit has also successfully attracted potential foreign direct investments (FDIs) worth RM3.25 billion, which are expected to be realised starting in 2023.
The Minister stated that in line with the government’s dedication to being pro-business, pro-investment and pro-trade, MITI and its agencies are ready to strengthen ties with investors that bring in high-tech and high-quality investments, which will aid in creating better-paying jobs for Malaysians.
From the foreign direct investment perspective, Malaysia is already acknowledged for its strategic location in Southeast Asia, diverse industrial ecosystem, and skilled talent pool. What is essential now is to address all the issues that investors face during their journey, to improve the overall ease of doing business in Malaysia.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) was also part of the Ministerial delegation. He noted that as a developing nation with a strong industrial and services sector, Malaysia is advancing to the next stage of development as its economy becomes more diversified to accommodate new areas of growth.
The Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) continues to welcome high-quality foreign direct investments from all over the world, including from Italy. These investments play a crucial role in the development of Malaysia due to their positive impact on the economy and will continue to do so in the post-pandemic era.
During the visit, the Minister had individual meetings with several prominent business leaders and potential investors. Italy is the 9th largest foreign investor in Malaysia from the European Union. As of September 2022, a total of 77 manufacturing projects with Italian participation have been completed, with total investments of US$382 million (RM1.4 billion), creating 4,346 job opportunities.
Italy is known for having established many world-class high-tech companies and can provide various latest technologies and digitalization expertise. Therefore, the presence of Italian companies in Malaysia is considered vital in facilitating the transfer of technology and creating more knowledgeable workers in Malaysia.
Italy’s emerging green technologies are also essential in supporting Malaysia’s long-term strategic objective of attracting investments with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations, in line with the country’s New Investment Policy (NIP).
MIDA is the government’s principal investment promotion and development agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to oversee and drive investments into the manufacturing and services sectors in Malaysia. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur Sentral, MIDA has 12 regional and 21 overseas offices. MIDA continues to be the strategic partner to businesses in seizing the opportunities arising from the technology revolution of this era.
The University of Hong Kong’s Department of Computer Science and the FinTech Academy, in partnership with the 150th Anniversary Community Foundation of a Hong Kong-based bank, have joined forces with the Strategic Centre for Research in Privacy-Preserving Technologies & Systems at the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore to establish the Virtual Asset Technology Consortium (VATC).
VATC’s aim is to gather experts from various fields such as academia, industry, user groups, and government organisations to share information and provide guidance on technical matters related to virtual assets.
The management board will be headed by the Associate Head of the Department of Computer Science at HKU and the Associate Director of the HKU-SCF FinTech Academy and will include professors from NTU and professionals from supporting units as members.
Creating a platform that elevates the technological advancements in the field of virtual assets
The virtual assets (or digital assets) industry has seen significant growth in recent years. This innovative technology has led to new methods for conducting financial transactions using digital tools. The market has demonstrated a positive response to the belief that virtual assets, both those issued by private entities and the government, will be an integral part of the worldwide monetary and economic system.
The Virtual Asset Technology Consortium has set out the following missions:
- Representation – Provide insights and advice on the technical aspects of virtual assets;
- Research – Foster R&D collaboration on virtual assets.
- Networking – Provide a platform for discussing the latest developments and trends of virtual assets and related FinTech technologies; and,
- Education – Organise seminars and other educational activities to enable the industry and the general public to acquire knowledge on technologies related to virtual assets.
Several organisations such as Cyberport Hong Kong, Hong Kong Blockchain Society, as well as banks, have already expressed their support for VATC to The University of Hong Kong. The Virtual Asset Technology Consortium (VATC) will be officially launched in Q2 2023 and welcomes experts and enthusiasts who are committed to promoting the stability and growth of virtual assets to join the consortium.
The growing market for Digital Asset Management (DAM)
Recent research found that the Digital Asset Management (DAM) market is expected to grow from US$4.2 billion in 2022 to US$8.0 billion by 2027, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.6% during the forecast period. This forecast suggests that the demand for DAM solutions is expected to increase rapidly in the coming years.
Several factors are expected to drive the growth of Digital Asset Management (DAM). Some of the key drivers for this growth include:
- The increasing need for digitalisation and the ability to quickly and easily collaborate with businesses on corporate assets;
- The growing demand for the authenticity and security of digital assets;
- The ability to easily upgrade, maintain and categorise digital assets, reducing production costs and improving resource allocation;
- The need for organisational transparency across different industries and business functions;
- The ability to increase conversion rates and retain customers; and,
- The need for brand consistency.
Digital Asset Management (DAM) services include consulting, integration, and implementation, as well as training, support, and maintenance services. These services are necessary at various stages of the process, including pre-sales requirement assessment, and post-sales product deployment and execution.
This allows clients to get the maximum return on investment (RoI) from their DAM solutions. The service providers offer guidance to end-users and assist them in integrating and deploying software that is tailored to their specific requirements.