Digital Trends across Southeast Asia and SEA Group with Santitarn Sathirathai

Digital Trends across Southeast Asia and SEA Group with Santitarn Sathirathai
Santitarn Sathirathai discussed the SEA Group and the major digital trends such as ecommerce across Southeast Asia, and offer his perspectives on how the escalating US-China tensions will influence the region.

Santitarn Sathirathai, group chief economist of the SEA group joined us in a conversation to discuss the key digital trends that drive the growth of Southeast Asia. We began the conversation with the SEA Group and their current mission, vision and coverage across the region, and discuss their key products: Garena, Shopee and Airpay. Continuing our conversation, Santitarn offered his perspectives on the major digital trends specifically on ecommerce in Southeast Asia and the development of super app, and how the current escalating trade tensions between China and US will influence where the major economies within Southeast Asia will be heading in the future.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):

  • Santitarn Sathirathai (LinkedIn), Group Chief Economist at SEA Group (formerly known as Garena). [0:25]
    • How did you start your career? [0:45]
    • How did you eventually made your way to become the chief economist of the SEA Group? [1:50]
    • In your career journey, what are the most interesting career lessons learnt? [3:00]
  • SEA Group: [4:29]
    • Introduction: SEA Group is a leading consumer Internet company in Southeast Asia focusing on three areas: digital entertainment, ecommerce and financial services, founded by Forrest Li Xiaodong, and started as Garena, which is focused on gaming in Southeast Asia. Currently listed in NYSE as SE with a market capitalisation of US$4.8B.
    • Can you briefly introduce the history of SEA Group with its mission and vision? [5:34]
    • What is your role and coverage with SEA Group as their group chief economist? [7:37]
    • How is the SEA Group currently structured and what are the key businesses lines: digital entertainment, e-commerce and financial services? [8:54]
    • How does SEA monetise through their different assets: Garena, Shopee and Airpay? [14:09]
    • What is the current footprint of SEA Group in Southeast Asia, for example, which areas of focus are more dominant in certain geographies? [15:39]
  • Digital and Ecommerce Trends Across Southeast Asia [18:30]
    • What are the common misconceptions about e-commerce in ASEAN region? [18:40]
    • Given the logistics infrastructure are not fully built out yet in the developing areas of Southeast Asia, does that also constitute another challenge for ecommerce in the region? [22:00]
    • From your perspective, how has the economies of Southeast Asia changing? [23:58] 
    • What are the key trends that you have seen in the digital economy within the region? [28:10]
    • Like China and India, there is the development of the super app similar to Wechat and Paytm. What are your thoughts about different apps in Southeast Asia are now vying to be the super app in the region? [32:06]
    • What are your thoughts on the ongoing and escalating trade war between US and China and what does it mean for Southeast Asia? [33:52]
    • How does the belt and road initiative transform the Southeast Asia economy? [36:06]
  • Closing [37:46]

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bernardleong & weibo) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Altizen Desk (Twitter, Facebook, Medium). Sound credits for the intro music: Taro Iwashiro, “The Beginning” from Red Cliff Soundtrack.