Southeast Asia: An Emerging Market With Digital Growth Potential
When it comes to economic growth in Asia, the focus often falls on China.
However, while China’s story is continually staggering in its scale, the Chinese economic powerhouse is only a part of a much wider story in Asia.
Just like China, rapidly-growing countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, and The Philippines are also seeing their economies transform in meaningful ways – and Southeast Asia as a whole is becoming one of the most exciting regions for technological adoption, foreign investment, and digital innovation in the world.
Today’s infographic comes to us from Sea, and it helps shed some light on the digital wave that’s powering the growth across a geographically expansive and tremendously diverse region.
A Digitizing Economy
With a younger population, growing affluence, and people that are increasingly tech-savvy, the internet population in Southeast Asia is expected to swell from 260 million to 480 million between 2015 and 2020.
More and more business is being done online in the region – and as a result, it is estimated that by 2025, the digital economy in Southeast Asian countries will be worth a hefty $197 billion.
That’s an impressive 640% increase over the size just a decade prior.
Sectors to Watch
Which parts of the digital economy will see the most impact?
According to proprietary data from Google and investment company Temasek, the most interesting sectors to watch in the region should be in e-commerce, digital entertainment, online travel, and digital financial services.
|Est. growth in market size (%) between 2016-2021|
|Greater Southeast Asia||U.S.||China|
E-commerce, which is expected to grow by 261% between 2016 and 2021, is one of the region’s most explosive sectors. With a lack of physical retail stores and limited choice of goods in Southeast Asia, rapidly-growing access to the internet provides a new means for people to shop.
Further, the travel and transportation market is also expected to boom with a 90% increase by 2021, and this will be driven by growing ridership in taxi-on-demand services. The area will also see its digital entertainment sector – defined as the combined mobile and PC gaming markets – grow at nearly triple the pace of China over the coming years (145% vs 54%).
Lastly, mobile payments is another sector to watch, as tech enables Southeast Asians to “leapfrog” traditional payment technologies like physical bank or credit cards. By 2021, mobile payments will have a 43% market share in the region.
Ranked: America’s 20 Biggest Tech Layoffs Since 2020
How bad are the current layoffs in the tech sector? This visual reveals the 20 biggest tech layoffs since the start of the pandemic.
Ranked: America’s 20 Biggest Tech Layoffs This Decade
The events of the last few years could not have been predicted by anyone. From a global pandemic and remote work as the standard, to a subsequent hiring craze, rising inflation, and now, mass layoffs.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, essentially laid off the equivalent of a small town just weeks ago, letting go of 12,000 people—the biggest layoffs the company has ever seen in its history. Additionally, Amazon and Microsoft have also laid off 10,000 workers each in the last few months, not to mention Meta’s 11,000.
This visual puts the current layoffs in the tech industry in context and ranks the 20 biggest tech layoffs of the 2020s using data from the tracker, Layoffs.fyi.
The Top 20 Layoffs of the 2020s
Since 2020, layoffs in the tech industry have been significant, accelerating in 2022 in particular. Here’s a look at the companies that laid off the most people over the last three years.
|Rank||Company||# Laid Off||% of Workforce||As of|
Layoffs were high in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, halting the global economy and forcing staff reductions worldwide. After that, things were steady until the economic uncertainty of last year, which ultimately led to large-scale layoffs in tech—with many of the biggest cuts happening in the past three months.
The Cause of Layoffs
Most workforce slashings are being blamed on the impending recession. Companies are claiming they are forced to cut down the excess of the hiring boom that followed the pandemic.
Additionally, during this hiring craze competition was fierce, resulting in higher salaries for workers, which is now translating in an increased need to trim the fat thanks to the current economic conditions.
Of course, the factors leading up to these recent layoffs are more nuanced than simple over-hiring plus recession narrative. In truth, there appears to be a culture shift occurring at many of America’s tech companies. As Rani Molla and Shirin Ghaffary from Recode have astutely pointed out, tech giants really want you to know they’re behaving like scrappy startups again.
Twitter’s highly publicized headcount reduction in late 2022 occurred for reasons beyond just macroeconomic factors. Elon Musk’s goal of doing more with a smaller team seemed to resonate with other founders and executives in Silicon Valley, providing an opening for others in tech space to cut down on labor costs as well. In just one example, Mark Zuckerberg hailed 2023 as the “year of efficiency” for Meta.
Meanwhile, over at Google, 12,000 jobs were put on the chopping block as the company repositions itself to win the AI race. In the words of Google’s own CEO:
“Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth. To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today… We have a substantial opportunity in front of us with AI across our products and are prepared to approach it boldly and responsibly.”– Sundar Pichai
The Bigger Picture in the U.S. Job Market
Beyond the tech sector, job openings continue to rise. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed a total of 11 million job openings across the U.S., an increase of almost 7% month-over-month. This means that for every unemployed worker in America right now there are 1.9 job openings available.
Additionally, hiring increased significantly in January, with employers adding 517,000 jobs. While the BLS did report a decrease in openings in information-based industries, openings are increasing rapidly especially in the food services, retail trade, and construction industries.
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