Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is the economic centre of Thailand, and the heart of the country’s investment and development. The city has an economic output of 3.142 trillion baht (approx. US$98.34bn), contributing 29.1 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). This amounts to a per-capita GDP value of ?456,911 ($14,301), almost three times the national average of ?160,556 ($5,025). The Bangkok Metropolitan Region has a combined output of ?4.773tn ($149.39bn), or 44.2 percent of GDP. Bangkok’s economy ranks as the sixth among Asian cities in terms of per-capita GDP, after Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka-Kobe and Seoul. Wholesale and retail trade is the largest sector in the city’s economy, contributing 24.0 percent of Bangkok’s gross provincial product. It is followed by manufacturing (14.3%); real estate, renting and business activities (12.4%); transport and communications (11.6%); and financial intermediation (11.1%). Bangkok alone accounts for 48.4 percent of Thailand’s service sector, which in turn constitutes 49.0 percent of GDP. When the Bangkok Metropolitan Region is considered, manufacturing is the most significant contributor at 28.2 percent of the gross regional product, reflecting the density of industry in the Bangkok’s neighbouring provinces. The automotive industry based around Greater Bangkok is the largest production hub in Southeast Asia. Tourism is also a significant contributor to Bangkok’s economy, generating ?427.5bn ($13.38bn) in revenue. Due to the large amount of foreign representation, Thailand has for several years been a mainstay of the Southeast Asian economy and a key centre in Asian business. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network ranks Bangkok as an “Alpha-” world city, and it is ranked 59th in Z/Yen’s Global Financial Centres Index. Bangkok is home to the headquarters of all of Thailand’s major commercial banks and financial institutions, as well as the country’s largest companies. A large number of multinational corporations base their regional headquarters in Bangkok due to the lower cost of the workforce and firm operations relative to other major Asian business centres. Seventeen Thai companies are listed on the Forbes 2000, all of which are based in the capital, including PTT, the only Fortune Global 500 company in Thailand.

Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta’s economy depends heavily on financial service, trade, and manufacturing. Industries in Jakarta include electronics, automotive, chemicals, mechanical engineering and biomedical sciences manufacturing. The economic growth of Jakarta is 6.44% up from 5.95%, with the growth in the transportation and communication (15.25%), construction (7.81%) and trade, hotel and restaurant sectors (6.88%). GRP (Gross Regional Domestic Product) is Rp. 566 trillion (around $US 56 billion). The largest contributions to GDRP are by finance, ownership and business services (29%); trade, hotel and restaurant sector (20%), and manufacturing industry sector (16%). The increase in per capita GRDP of DKI Jakarta inhabitants is 11.6% compared to the previous year.

Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Malaysian ICT market is going through a lot of changes and will gain momentum. Capabilities will be built in digital content, software development and testing, Internet of Things (IoT), data centers and cloud services, cyber security and big data analytics (BDA). The Government has taken the special interest in developing the Internet of Things (IoT) sector, which has resulted in several market partnerships. The commercialization of ‘smart city’ infrastructure, applications, and services such as smart highways, intelligent traffic management systems and advanced energy management systems are expected to drive IoT adoption across key social and economic sectors. Over the last five years, the data center industry has grown rapidly to support 26 data center service companies and nearly 200 specialized service providers capable of providing affordable, scalable and high-quality remote data storage and retrieval services to the growing numbers of multinational corporations looking to establish regional headquarters in the country. Cloud computing is expected to gain momentum with growing investments in data centers and ICT infrastructure in Malaysia. Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Malaysia has named cloud computing as the most important of its top 10 strategic technology priorities. The government hopes that adoption of cloud computing, building on the national broadband initiative, could accelerate Malaysia’s development into an advanced economy. In Malaysia, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has the highest adoption of cloud computing followed by Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Hybrid Clouds remain the dominant form of deployment by enterprises and this model has been recognized by service providers as a key growth market. While the adoption of cloud computing offers multiple potential benefits, there are also concerns regarding bandwidth consumption, lack of maturity of cloud environments, latency, data security and privacy guarantees from service providers. Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) identified R&D in cyberspace security as a critical issue for the continued development of its IT and telecoms sectors. MOSTI stated the imperative of reducing the vulnerability of critical infrastructures such as power grids, air traffic control systems, military and financial systems. More focus will be given to key areas such as secure communications to protect the confidentiality and integrity of information during transmission and storage, high availability systems to ensure continuous and uninterrupted operations of critical IT software projects, network surveillance to detect and respond to incidents of system disruption, secure access to protect the ICT system from unauthorized entry, and system integrity controls to ensure that a system and its data are not illicitly modified or corrupted. These changes in growth are attributed to the move from traditional computers to smaller ICT devices and wearable gadgets, the increasing amount of real-time and interactive multimedia content supported by mobile technology, the rising popularity of cloud computing, Big Data Analytics, software-as-a-service (SaaS), social media applications, Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable technology, the integration of systems and processes and ICT services by and with the people and institutions and service providers. Currently, its share to gross domestic product (GDP) is 17.3 percent (USD 62 billion in current prices) in 2016. Despite the slower economy in 2016, the ICT industry registered 14.2 percent growth, based on the 12.5 percent growth that the industry experienced in 2015. The outlook for consultancy services remains bullish specifically in the risk management associated with cloud computing projects, Internet of Things (IoT) projects, e-commerce, and security systems.

Manila, Philippines

IT transformation has been the theme of outsourcing market since the start of 2016. More end users have been engaged in outsourcing projects in 2016 because of the need to consolidate resources and scale down IT infrastructure cost. Hosted services have been driving the growth of overall outsourcing market. SMEs are more conventional on their ICT priorities, focusing on the improvement of their basic infrastructure, while large enterprises are taking into account the enhancement of new technology requirement, hence more project-based (e.g. Systems Integration (SI) and IT consulting) and managed services (e.g. data center outsourcing) opportunities. Project-oriented services, as a proportion of total services spend in the country, increased. This can be attributed to the demand for consulting and systems integration services for data center deployments, the movement to cloud, and need for Big Data and analytics-centric projects. Enterprises are increasingly opting for outsourcing to reduce costs, have faster service delivery, better manage their finances, and integrate business processes easily. Furthermore, growth was enhanced by the expansion of global BFSI and manufacturing companies. As a result, there was an increased demand for colocation services, server hosting, and cloud-based services. SIs in the Philippines are very traditional, which are still hardware-centric. Most SIs are still transitioning to becoming solutions providers, and some have just started infusing 3rd Platform technologies in their products. In addition, they plan to expand outside of Metro Manila and other regions like ASEAN and North America. Key promotion and pricing strategies are tied with the principals for most of them. Some end users are in wait-and-see mode in terms of technology adoption, but they prefer vendors that they trust and work with. One of the strategies is to work with local system integrators that have over the years established strong connections with end users in the financial services, telecommunications, and manufacturing industries. Leading IT vendors like IBM, HP, Oracle have established a strong presence in this country with local partners like Questronix, Fountainhead Technologies, Jupiter Systems, AMTI are some of the best names in the local IT industry. There is a huge market for risk management consultancy services in association with IT projects, either directly working with customers or via system integrators.


Singapore is the 14th largest exporter and the 15th largest importer in the world. The country has the highest trade-to-GDP ratio in the world at 407.9 percent, signifying the importance of trade to its economy. The country is currently the only Asian country to have AAA credit ratings from all three major credit rating agencies; Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch. Singapore attracts a large amount of foreign direct investment as a result of its location, corruption-free environment, skilled workforce, low tax rates and advanced infrastructure. There are more than 7,000 multinational corporations from the United States, Japan, and Europe in Singapore. There are also 1,500 companies from China and 1,500 from India. Foreign firms are found in almost all sectors of the economy. Singapore is also the second-largest foreign investor in India. Roughly 44 percent of the Singaporean workforce is made up of non-Singaporeans. Over ten free-trade agreements have been signed with other countries and regions. Singapore also possesses the world’s eleventh largest foreign reserves, and has one of the highest net international investment position per capita. The currency of Singapore is the Singapore dollar, issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. It is interchangeable with the Brunei dollar. In recent years, the country has been identified as an increasingly popular tax haven for the wealthy due to the low tax rate on personal income, a full tax exemption on income that is generated outside of Singapore and legislation that means that capital gains are also tax exempt.