Oct 10, 2019 / 15:27

Southeast Asia would be manufacturing hub: Experts

The Hanoitimes - ASEAN could become one of the world`s manufacturing hubs if governments outline roadmaps to spearhead the digitalization process.

Officials and experts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have said that the region would be a manufacturing hub if regional governments pay significant care to the industrial transformation. 
 
Foo. Photo:
Douglas Foo (middle), President, Singapore Manufacturing Federation. Photo: Linh Pham

ASEAN has appeared to be one of the most dynamic regions in the world and it would become one of the hubs accommodating advanced technologies for Industry 4.0 adoption if each government has proper policies to drive this sector forward, Douglas Foo, President, Singapore Manufacturing Federation, has said. 

With a population of roughly 650 million, better infrastructure and thriving economy, ASEAN has conditions to become one of the world’s hotspots for global investors, Douglas Foo said at the Media Engagement and Networking Session in Singapore early this month. 

 
Lim. Photo:
Lim Kok Kiang (first from left), Assistant Managing Director, Economic Development Board, Singapore. Photo: Opengovasia

Sharing the same view, Lim Kok Kiang, Assistant Managing Director, Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB), said the rapid wave of transformation in manufacturing is prompting regional businesses and workers to rethink what they need to do differently to stay ahead in the competition.

Industrial Transformation ASIA-PACIFIC (ITAP) – the Asian flag of HANNOVER MESSE – is designed to address those questions by providing a platform for everyone to appreciate and experience the change that is happening, he said. 

 
Dr. Photo: Linh
Dr Jochen Köckler,  Chairman of Managing Board, Deutsche Messe AG. Photo: Linh Pham

Through the event, the regional countries look forward to working with partners to build a robust community for collaboration and knowledge exchange to help Singapore and countries in the region upgrade their manufacturing capabilities, Lim Kok Kiang added.

ASEAN is “a promising growth market for our customers” as it has the third largest work force in the world and boasts a strong manufacturing base, said Dr Jochen Köckler, Chairman of Managing Board, Deutsche Messe AG. 

 
Arlando. Photo: Linh Pham
Aloysius Arlando, Chief Executive Officer of SingEx Holdings. Photo: Linh Pham

Posting estimated total GDP of US$2.92 trillion in 2018 and IoT technology investments of more than US$15 billion by 2019, manufacturing companies in ASEAN are beginning to fully appreciate the rapidly growing importance of digitization for their survival. 

Accordingly, countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam have launched separate 4.0 roadmaps to spearhead their respective economic agendas. 

 
Huong. Photo: Linh Pham
Do Thi Thuy Huong, Executive Board Member, Vietnam Electronics Industries Association. Photo: Linh Pham

Do Thi Thuy Huong, Executive Board Member, Vietnam Electronics Industries Association, said at the event that the government of Vietnam has made different policies to intensify investment in infrastructure and prioritize the reshaping for I4.0 readiness with the building of innovation centers. 

Challenges ahead 
 
This shift to Industry 4.0 stage of digitization is already creating extraordinary opportunities. But seizing these can be a challenge, because building the required capabilities, methods and partnerships can be hard.
 
Photo: Linh Pham
Fanky Christian (the first), Chairman, Indonesian ICT Business Association (APTIKNAS), Jakarta Region. Photo: Linh Pham

There remains big gap among ASEAN states in industrial development and I4.0 adoption. Dr Jochen Köckler said industrial transformation is growing fast in every part of the world and companies must get ready for the process by well-prepared evolution.

Preparing for industrial transformation is not a separate journey of a number of companies but a process that involves everyone and every part of the world in the fast globalization, Dr Köckler said in answering a question raised by Hanoitimes on how ITAP helps narrow the gap. 

 
Photo: Linh Pham
Raja Teagarajan (second), President, Industry 4.0 Malaysia Association. Photo: Linh Pham

HANNOVER MESSE – a key Industry 4.0 event with operations of more than 70 years – enables companies to showcase their advanced technologies that would be effectively applied in manufacturing sector, Dr Köckler said. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Aloysius Arlando, Chief Executive Officer of SingEx Holdings, told Hanoitimes at the event that strong mindset will help address the issues and prepare for the technology advancement which enables companies to raise productivity and save energy and resources. 

 
Photo: Linh Pham
ASEAN states vow to work together in industrial transformation. Photo: Linh Pham

Regional countries should also have shared vision through offering engaging and personalized programs to address national, industry and enterprise agendas, he said, adding that ITAP, for example, provides a curated platform for our region’s Industry 4.0 market needs, plays a role in catalyzing deepened cross-industry collaboration, investments and trade exchanges among players, enhancing competitiveness.  

Meanwhile, Do Thi Thuy Huong referred to challenges for Vietnam to address including intensified investment to improve infrastructure and incoming low-tech production chains from the shifting of multinational companies to Vietnam from China amid the US-Sino trade war. 

Fanky Christian, Chairman, Indonesian ICT Business Association (APTIKNAS), Jakarta Region, said Indonesia is also preparing for the industrial transformation but the quest for the best solutions for the process remains on the way. 

A representative from Malaysia, Raja Teagarajan, President, Industry 4.0 Malaysia Association, also pointed out a tough journey which includes an unclear roadmap and nonsynchronous infrastructure for their companies in I4.0 adoption.