Digital transformation has profoundly reshaped not only the way we work but also the way we live. It has shifted the focus of goods and services trade, emphasising not only what is produced and traded, but also how it is traded, customised, and delivered. The rapid digital transformation within the ASEAN region has ushered in an array of risks and challenges. These challenges encompass a spectrum of concerns, ranging from the safeguarding of data privacy and fortification against cyber threats to grappling with intensified competition and addressing the ever-widening digital divide. To fully embrace the opportunities presented by the digital age, ASEAN must lay the foundation for an ASEAN Digital Community (ADC) 2045, that can serve as a vision for ASEAN in embracing a new era. This visionary pursuit must be anchored in four pivotal cornerstones: robust data governance, the infusion of value-added principles, the establishment of seamless digital connectivity, and the propagation of digital inclusivity.
This book explores the evolution of ASEAN policies and initiatives on the digital sector and digital economy and identifies the characteristics of ASEAN’s digital integration as an element of the regional integration process. It outlines important milestones, such as the e-ASEAN Framework Agreement in 2000, ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint in 2007, establishment of the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Electronic Commerce in 2016, and ASEAN Digital Integration Framework Action Plan in 2019. The book argues that ASEAN has updated the characteristics of the digital sector and its impact on society, broadened its scope, and concretised its actions. Distinctive initiatives such as the ASEAN Single Window; e-authentication and digital identity; ASEAN Computer Emergency Response Team; e-payment and QR codes; and digitisation of ASEAN micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises are presented. It also analyses the relationships and differences between the five comprehensive framework documents adopted during 2019–2021 and discusses the prospects of the ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement and Post-2025 Agenda.