Leveraging ASEAN to respond to COVID-19

Author: Frederick Kliem, RSIS COVID-19 is testing international resolve to cooperate. Both China and the United States have so far failed to provide the necessary global leadership. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) play — at best — the role of supporting actors. Even the European Union and ASEAN are struggling […]

Leveraging ASEAN to respond to COVID-19

Author: Frederick Kliem, RSIS

COVID-19 is testing international resolve to cooperate. Both China and the United States have so far failed to provide the necessary global leadership. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) play — at best — the role of supporting actors. Even the European Union and ASEAN are struggling with outbreaks of nationalism and unilateral knee-jerk reactions.

Southeast Asia’s interconnectedness makes it highly vulnerable to pandemics. Tourism, trade and supply chains deeply intertwine Southeast with China, which contributed to the spread of COVID-19 within the ASEAN region, as well as South Korea and Japan.

Southeast Asia has been badly affected by COVID-19. While case numbers are hardly comparable due to asymmetric testing, all 10 ASEAN member states seem to have woken up to the crisis and are engaging in some form of pandemic management. The challenge now is to coordinate responses at the regional level.

In a virtual summit on 14 April 2020, ASEAN leaders agreed on a ‘whole-of-ASEAN community approach’ to combat the virus. Leaders agreed to the inauguration of a common COVID-19 response fund prepared by the foreign ministers in an earlier conference, the details of which are being worked out. Consensus was also reached on the need to address the situation on the frontline with joint procurement of medical supplies and stockpiling.

ASEAN leaders agreed to extensive sharing of information and best practices. On their recommendation, a virtual ASEAN Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting (ADSOM) took place on 15 May to discuss, among other things, the ASEAN Center of Military Medicine (ACMM) as a suitable platform for table-top exercises on COVID-19 responses and pandemic preparedness in general. More immediate is the initiation of joint cross-border responses to retain the smooth functioning and openness of essential supply chains and trade routes to protect food security and the exchange of medical equipment.

Intra-ASEAN bilateral cooperation has been strengthened. Malaysia initially reacted to the pandemic with restrictions on the movement of people and goods across borders, including the causeway with Singapore, a critical supply route. This caused substantial problems in Singapore and led to panic buying and stranded Malaysian workers. Since then, both countries have established a special working committee to manage any complications caused by respective lockdown measures.

Though the COVID-19 Special ASEAN Summit provided much needed political momentum, the effectiveness of this regional response now depends on timely implementation. Vietnam, as the current chair of ASEAN, must initiate frequent leaders, ministers and officials conferences to ensure ASEAN can implement agreements made at the summit.

The postponement of the ASEAN–US Special Summit demonstrated the stress COVID-19 puts on ASEAN centrality.

ASEAN initiated a special ASEAN+3 (ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea) video conference where leaders agreed to strengthen early pandemic warning and real-time information exchange and to set-up a regional ASEAN+3 medical supply stockpile. They committed to ensuring the continuous flow of commodities, food and medical supplies across Southeast Asia. ASEAN+3 leaders also specifically emphasised food security and the utilisation of the ASEAN+3 Emergency Rice Reserve, a common stockpile to ensure emergency food supply in times of adversity.

ASEAN managed to get a commitment from its partners to contribute to its COVID-19 Response Fund by re-prioritising and reallocating the substantial existing cooperation funds.

Pandemic management begins with independent and verifiable oversight of case numbers, death rates and the effectiveness of individual measures. But historically, independent monitoring in ASEAN member states has been a challenge.

With the implementation of the ASEAN Charter and the ASEAN Community, transparency improved to some extent as stocktaking of Community implementation became more common. But ASEAN monitoring of domestic public policy and crisis management in individual member states remains a sensitive matter and COVID-19 is not likely to change that as governments may be incentivised to under-report.

There are steps ASEAN can take to limit the impacts of COVID-19 and future pandemics.

First, comprehensive implementation of the leaders’ summit agreements needs to be ensured. ASEAN must strengthen regional crisis support networks to ensure it can meet its members’ needs. The reactivation and utilisation of the ASEAN Technical Working Group on Pandemic Preparedness and Response can help to suppress COVID-19 by sharing experiences from countries such as Singapore and Vietnam, and provide a set of minimum standards for pandemic management across the region.

A regional response also requires strengthening the capacity of the ASEAN Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre). This is where joint procurement and stockpiling of essential medical supplies and equipment can be coordinated — the AHA centre manages common warehouse and reserve facilities for regional HADR.

Second, possibly also via the AHA Centre, ASEAN should become the first responder and strive for expertise across its membership. Laos and Cambodia appear to be relying on third parties, particularly China, to address much of their COVID-19 needs due to highly inadequate healthcare systems.

Singapore is Southeast Asia’s medical centre of excellence and is home to a thriving health tourism industry. The city-state has 2.5 physicians per 1000 people (whereas Laos has only 0.5). The temporary secondment of doctors and health experts can alleviate pressure on stressed health care systems.

Third, ASEAN possesses the resources to build a sufficient stockpile and has systems in place to distribute medical equipment. ASEAN should call on its ASEAN+3 partners to support the stockpiling of medical equipment, financially and materially — any such contribution is in the interest of all members.

Fourth, ASEAN can facilitate best practice sharing for pandemic management, such as Singapore’s contact tracing and Vietnam’s holistic mobilisation. The bilateral Singapore–Malaysia Committee can also translate into broader ASEAN-wide institutionalisation of crisis border management. Under the auspices of ADSOM this can, for example, take place within the ACMM, and should be extended to ASEAN+3.

National emergency measures must be transparent, reciprocal and cooperative. To this end ASEAN leaders agreed to create guidelines for the implementation of travel and trade restrictions. The free flow of goods, services and — most importantly — people, is imperative for successful regional integration. Mutual trust and support must be reflected in equal treatment of each other’s citizens who stay, work or study across the ASEAN region or in third countries.

ASEAN has done reasonably well compared to the European Union, despite the latter’s substantially larger resources. ASEAN should build on it response to COVID-19 so that history will note the disaster as a driver of stronger cooperation in Southeast Asia.

Dr Frederick Kliem is a Fellow at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.

This article is part of an  on the novel coronavirus crisis and its impact.

Source : East Asia Forum More   

What's Your Reaction?

like
0
dislike
0
love
0
funny
0
angry
0
sad
0
wow
0

Next Article

Xiaomi in Q1 2020; overseas market accounts for half of total revenues

In Q1 2020, Xiaomi’s total revenue for the period reached RMB49.7 billion, representing an increase of 13.6% year-over-year. Adjusted net profit for the period was RMB2.3 billion, an increase of 10.6% year-over-year. Benefiting from the continued expansion in our global smartphone market share, the monthly active users (“MAU”) of MIUI increased to 330.7 million, an […]

Xiaomi in Q1 2020; overseas market accounts for half of total revenues

In Q1 2020, Xiaomi’s total revenue for the period reached RMB49.7 billion, representing an increase of 13.6% year-over-year. Adjusted net profit for the period was RMB2.3 billion, an increase of 10.6% year-over-year.

Benefiting from the continued expansion in our global smartphone market share, the monthly active users (“MAU”) of MIUI increased to 330.7 million, an increase of 26.7% year-over-year.

As of March 31, 2020, the number of connected IoT devices (excluding smartphones and laptops) on Xiaomi IoT platform reached 252.0 million, an increase of 42.6% year-over-year.

Xiaomi AI assistant Xiao Ai had 70.5 million MAU in March 2020, an increase of 54.9% year-over-year.

Revenue from its internet services segment in Q1 2020 increased by 38.6% year-over-year to RMB5.9 billion, accounting for a record high of 11.9% of its total revenue. Revenue from overseas markets in Q1 2020 totaled RMB24.8 billion, an increase of 47.8% year-over-year, for the first time, accounting for half of its total revenue.

According to Canalys, Xiaomi smartphone shipments in Western Europe increased by 79.3% year-over-year and it attained the largest market share in Spain for the first time.

Xiaomi Smartphone

In Q1 2020, revenue from Xiaomi’s smartphone segment totaled RMB30.3 billion, an increase of 12.3% year-over-year. It shipped 29.2 million units of smartphones in Q1 2020, an increase of 4.7% year-over-year.

According to Canalys, in the first quarter of 2020, Xiaomi ranked 4th globally in terms of smartphone shipments, and Xiaomi’s market share rose to 11.1%. Xiaomi was one of only two of the top five smartphone companies worldwide to maintain year-over-year growth in shipments.

In February 2020, Xiaomi launched Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro. Shipments of Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro exceeded 1 million units two months after their launch, enabling the Xiaomi brand to further strengthen its position in the premium smartphone market.

Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro were launched overseas in late March with prices starting at €799 and €999, respectively. Boosted by Xiaomi’s premium smartphone models, the average selling price (“ASP”) of Xiaomi’s smartphones increased by 7.2% year-over-year in Q1 2020.

The ASP of Xiaomi’s smartphones in mainland China and overseas markets increased by 18.7% and 13.7% year-over-year respectively.

In April 2020, Xiaomi launched Mi 10 Lite Zoom Edition to target the younger consumer segments. With prices starting at RMB2,099, it features a 50x periscope telephoto lens camera and other advanced technologies. Mi 10 Lite 5G was launched in March 2020 in overseas markets, with prices starting at €349.

The Redmi brand continued to introduce highly competitive products at different price points. In March 2020, Redmi launched its flagship K series Redmi K30 Pro and Redmi K30 Pro Zoom Edition, sporting premium features including the Snapdragon 865 processor, LPDDR5, and UFS 3.1, while also featuring a pop-up camera, allowing Xiaomi’s customers to enjoy a full flagship experience at a reasonable price.

On the back of the highly popular Redmi Note 8 series, the second best-selling smartphone model globally in Q1 2020 according to Canalys, Xiaomi launched Redmi Note 9S and Redmi Note 9 Pro in overseas markets, carrying on the ultimate price-performance value proposition of the Redmi brand.

In April 2020, Xiaomi released MIUI 12, the latest version of Xiaomi’s smartphone operating system. Equipped with Xiaomi’s proprietary Mi Light Cone Animation Framework, MIUI 12 offers remarkable animation and a stunning visualized user interface.

In addition, MIUI 12 has introduced a privacy and data protection framework, which enables users to have full visibility of sensitive data retrieval, take control over app permissions, and mask their identity information to remain incognito. MIUI 12 is the world’s first mobile operating system to pass the TÜV Rheinland “Enhanced Privacy Protection for Android Systems” test.

Xiaomi IoT

Xiaomi Smart TV

In Q1 2020, revenue from Xiaomi’s IoT and lifestyle products segment was RMB13.0 billion, increase of 7.8%. Xiaomi’s smart TV business continued to maintain its leading position in both mainland China and overseas markets.

In Q1 2020, despite the overall decline in TV shipments globally due to the pandemic, Xiaomi’s global shipments of smart TVs still increased by 3.0% year-over-year to 2.7 million units.

According to All View Cloud (“AVC”), in Q1 2020, Xiaomi’s TV shipments in mainland China ranked 1st for five consecutive quarters and our global TV shipments ranked among the top five.

In March 2020, Xiaomi launched Redmi Smart TV Max 98”, priced from RMB19,999 (about US$2,815), significantly lower than other ultra-large TVs, bringing high-end TVs to the mass market.

In Q1 2020, Xiaomi continued to expand Xiaomi’s IoT product portfolio and promote the interconnectivity of Xiaomi’s AIoT platform.

In February 2020, Xiaomi introduced Mi AIoT Router AX3600, a WiFi 6 enabled AIoT router, which greatly improves upstream and downstream network speeds, making Xiaomi the first brand in China to support WiFi 6 technology from terminals to routers.

In addition, Xiaomi also launched Mi 65W Fast Charger with GaN Tech, Redmi Smart Display 8” and Mi Bluetooth Speaker with Wireless Charging, all of which enjoyed widespread popularity.

The sales of Xiaomi’s routers increased by 124.0% year-over-year in Q1 2020 and according to AVC, ranked 2nd in mainland China in terms of online router shipments. Sales of Xiaomi’s Xiaomi TWS Earphones, Mi Band, Mi Electric Scooter and Mi Robot Vacuum Cleaner increased by 619.6%, 56.0%, 40.7% and 40.0% year-over-year, respectively.

According to Canalys, Xiaomi ranked 1st in terms of wearable band shipments and 3rd in terms of True Wireless Stereo (“TWS”) earbuds shipments globally in 2019. According to iResearch, Xiaomi also ranked 1st in terms of electric scooter shipments globally in 2019.

Xiaomi Internet Services

In Q1 2020, revenue from Xiaomi’s internet services segment reached RMB5.9 billion, representing an increase of 38.6% year-over-year, accounting for a record high of 11.9% of Xiaomi’s total revenue.

User activity and time spent on Xiaomi’s devices increased in Q1 2020. In March 2020, the MAU of MIUI increased by 26.7% year-over-year to 330.7 million, while the mainland China MAU of MIUI reached 111.5 million.

In Q1 2020, advertising revenue was RMB2.7 billion, an increase of 16.6% year-over-year.

In Q1 2020, online gaming revenue increased by 80.5% year-over-year to RMB1.5 billion, mainly due to the fast-growing online gaming market in mainland China and higher online gaming average revenue per user from Xiaomi’s premium smartphone users.

In Q1 2020, internet services revenue outside of advertising and gaming from mainland China smartphones, including those generated from the Youpin e-commerce platform, fintech business, TV internet services and overseas internet services, increased by 71.5% year-over-year and accounted for 38.1% of Xiaomi’s total internet services revenue.

Xiaomi’s Youpin e-commerce platform continued to broaden its offerings and provide uninterrupted services to customers. The number of new users increased significantly in Q1 2020, laying a strong foundation for further expansion.

In March 2020, MAU of Xiaomi’s smart TVs and Mi Box reached 30.4 million, representing an increase of 46.8% year-over-year. As of March 31, 2020, the number of paid subscribers increased by 53.7% year-over-year to 4.3 million.

In Q1 2020, the MAU of Mi Browser on Xiaomi smartphones in the aggregated overseas market ranked 1st among all browsers. These initiatives increased Xiaomi’s average revenue per user in the overseas market.

Introduction to Xiaomi’s e-commerce platform Youpin

Source : China Internet Watch More   

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.