We have yet another full house at the Foreign Direct Investment In Asia Session at the 31st Law Association For Asia And The Pacific (LAWASIA) “A New Era For South East Asia” Conference in Siem Reap, Cambodia on 3 November 2018.
In an era of shifting economic centre of gravity to Asia and slowing China growth, the rise of India and ASEAN will lift the global economy in the next few decades. The size of China’s huge market is also set to overtake the US market this year. With much of the growth in the last 10 years in ecommerce, mobile payments, e-wallets driving economic transformation at dizzying speed, and with new innovations in smart cities, electronic world trade platforms, digital free trade zones and e-hubs sprouting in the region, the Digital Economy is the Future of Asia.
Following back to back with my earlier Belt And Road Session where I presented on “Chinese Investments In Malaysia: Managing Risks And Disputes”, I moderated the FDI Session, introducing 6 Speakers and a Session Commentator.
Mr Jeff Leong | Jeff Leong, Poon & Wong (MALAYSIA)
Chair of LAWASIA Corporate Securities & Investment Subcommittee
Mr Guillaume Massin | DFDL (CAMBODIA)
Mr Shang Congcong | Suhao Law Offices (CHINA)
Mr Michael Scott Carl | SSEK Indonesian Legal Consultants (INDONESIA)
Ms Gina Golda Pangaila | ZICO Law (MYANMAR)
Mr Carlos T. Ocampo | Ocampo & Manalo (PHILIPPINES)
Mr Phuoc Bao Tri Nguyen | JLPW VINH AN LEGAL (VIETNAM)
Mr Libin Zhang | Broad & Bright (CHINA)
Sponsored by DFDL, the audience was given the latest updates on Foreign Direct Investments and the new digital economy in their respective countries.
As moderator, I left the participants with 3 major thoughts to ponder over:
1. The Digital Economy Is The Future Of Asia. Many of the new developing economies in Asia are leap frogging old systems and jumping into the digital economy. With China’s huge digital economy and the developments in India and the scale of changes happening in Indonesia with rapid adoption of digital ecosystems, these three of the four largest countries in the world will drag the rest of the world screaming into the digital world and Fourth Industrial Revolution.
2. The Digital Economy is coming fast and furious. In IPO Projects and M&A transactions today, we are faced on a daily basis with digital transformation plans and ecosystems happening in the business world. Digital strategies are now the norm for supermarkets, retailers, healthcare and other industries.
3. Lawyers are a creative force for good in the evolving digital economy. As lawyers, we focus on black and white, the letter of the law. We are uncomfortable in rapidly evolving situations which are highly risky. For example, ICOs, blockchain technology and the Cryptocurrency sector where much fraud have occurred and reputation of the industry was seriously damaged.
Yet, I hold the view that lawyers can be the legal, compliance and ethical backbones of the rapidly evolving digital economy, crucial for its eventual success. While laws and regulations have yet to be established in these type of situations, lawyers with knowledge of money-laundering issues, misleading statements and material omissions and risk analysis are precisely the right people to structure the way these new digital businesses are modeled and implemented so that they fall within legal frameworks that may come in future.
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