The Australian tech sector is in a position to leverage industrial growth throughout the entire ASEAN region, according to a new report from CSIRO’s Data61

Sunrise Industries – A snapshot of seven emerging industries was released to coincide with the recent ASEAN Special Summit in Sydney.

The report identifies and profiles seven ‘sunrise industries’ that will emerge in the coming decades within countries from the ASEAN region (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.)

Technological innovation was at the core of each of these seven industries, which included artificial intelligence and autonomous systems, financial and regulatory services technology, digital infrastructure and connectivity and cyber-physical systems security.

CSIRO’s Dr Larry Marshall, said Australia must lead the region in its growth.

"Each of these opportunities is strongly supported by breakthrough Australian science, giving the potential for enormous economic benefit as we help ASEAN countries make this transition,” he said.

"To catalyse Australian innovation we need to think beyond our traditional boundaries and adapt a global vision.

"In particular, we need to push the envelope when it comes to collaborative research and development with our ASEAN neighbours.”

The report also discussed the ways in which the consolidation of these emerging industries in the ASEAN region would increase economic activity for Australia.

Data61 CEO Adrian Turner said the opportunties were numerous.

"With breakthroughs in machine learning and artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and privacy-preserving data sharing applied to financial services, personalised health and nutrition and energy storage, there are a set of emerging industries that will generate new economic activity between Australian and ASEAN businesses," he said.


AI and autonomous systems were at the top of the list of emerging industries.

The report states that technological development in this field is expected to bring together small and large companies in the space.

“Many companies in this industry will be spin-offs and start-ups from larger technology companies and research organisations, where most AI capability currently resides,” the report says.

It gives examples of current real-world applications of AI in the region, highlighting that demand will only increase.

The Asia Pacific region is the fastest growing robotics market globally, with industrial robot sales increasing from 70,000 in 2010 to 191,000 in 2016.

This demand is set to be met with a growing supply, as Singapore invests $195 million into AI research and 100 new projects over the next five years.

The report also predicted that robot prices would continue to fall, as they have since the 1990s, dropping by 22% by 2025.


Another industry set to transform the Asia Pacific economy is FinTech.

According to the report, FinTech can capitalise on technology to deliver cheaper and more efficient financial and regulatory services.

“Although banks will find many FinTech and RegTech services useful for improving efficiency, this sector will also disrupt the banking industry, offering consumers convenient and low-cost alternatives to traditional banking services,” the report states.

“In ASEAN, online payments and mobile wallets present a major business opportunity, accounting for 43 percent of the ASEAN FinTech sector.”

The increased penetration of telecommunications technologies was touted as a key driver of this change, as was the sharp increase of migrant workers sending remittances home.

High value…food?

One inclusion in the list of industries not as commonly associated with the tech industry is nutrition.

“Firms in the high value nutrition sector are likely to be highly innovative start-ups that are involved in the commercialisation of scientific research,” it said.

High value nutrition is the result of technology being applied to certain stages of production to create competitive advantage and move up the value chain.

This demand is expected to be driven by rapidly growing middle classes in ASEAN nations, with Indonesia’s middle class expected to be the eighth largest in the world by 2020.

The work of the CSIRO with its food innovation centre is highlighted as a way to increase the value of certain foods.