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Asean region faces two key economic challenges, SCB Abacus chief tells forum

Jun 13. 2019
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By THE NATION

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The Asean region faces two key economic challenges in this age of disruption, Sutapa Amornvivat, CEO of SCB Abacus, told a recent Institute of International Finance forum held in Japan.

The first challenge is how economic integration and connectivity within the region can be leveraged to maximise Asean’s potential as an exporting hub, since such integration has played an important role in facilitating the free flow of goods and services, capital and labour, as well as of information and data across the region, said the data analytics company head.

The other major Asean challenge is the lag in terms of technological adoption and digital literacy. Both the government and private sectors can take part in identifying appropriate technologies for different industries and providing examples to accelerate the spread of technology adoption, she said.

SCB Abacus is a pioneer in applying AI and machine learning solutions to tackle the needs of Thai businesses.

AI technology has become increasingly significant to developmental actions across the globe and Sutapa noted that automation has been replacing several kinds of manual operations in various industries. She told the forum that organisations with data skills are expected to gain leadership in the market, as has happened in the United Stated where firms with data and technical talent accumulate market power. As of now, industries with the highest adoption of AI are high-technology, telecommunications and financial services. Soon, the AI technology could also be potentially applied to a range of other industries, such as education, agriculture and logistics.

“The current financial revolution with AI is a result of active competition in the markets,” Sutapa told the forum. “Other tech-related businesses have also noticed the opportunities of AI application and a massive amount of consumer data as the key enablers that allow them to enter the financial sector. Meanwhile, financial service providers are using AI to design solutions that meet specific needs of customers in the financial market, including product personalisation, credit scoring, target marketing and fraud detection

“Several leading banks have realised how AI can add value to their current services, and therefore invested enormously in the technology to make sure that their business keep pace with disruption. These financial institutions also support fintech startup companies rather than seeing them as a threat or competitor. However, great power comes with great responsibility, and these firms need to focus on sustainable innovation and responsible execution in order to maximise the benefits of such technologies," Sutapa concluded.

The Institute of International Finance panel discussion focused on issues such as the world’s segmented financial supervisory, sustainable finance, technological innovation in the financial sector and ways to overcome the challenges related to global demographic changes.

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