ABB discusses the re-making of manufacturing at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN

Note: Chaiyot Piyawannarat, head of ABB in Thailand and the Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos cluster, participates in a high-level discussion at this year’s ASEAN World Economic Forum (seated 4th from left)

As automation spreads and lower input costs become less of an attraction, what is the future of manufacturing in ASEAN? What will happen to the jobs and exports that have brought ASEAN such prosperity?

This was the subject of a high-level discussion at this year’s ASEAN World Economic Forum held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where top industry leaders and the ministers of industry for Indonesia and Cambodia shared their views and where Chaiyot Piyawannarat, head of ABB in Thailand and the Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos cluster, brought a strong ABB voice.

ABB has been present in Cambodia for decades, having contributed to important developments in the power utility and food and beverage space, as well as to key landmark buildings. This year, a new office in Phnom Penh opened, and as part of our ramp-up in the country, ABB shared its digital vision for the future at the WEF in ASEAN. With its recently launched digital offering, ABB AbilityTM combines ABB’s deep domain expertise with network connectivity offering more than a 180 digital solutions and services. ABB Ability helps customers in utilities, industry, transport and infrastructure develop new processes and advance existing ones by providing insights and optimizing planning and controls for real-time operations.

Note: Chaiyot Piyawannarat (L) with Cham Prasidh, Cambodian Minister of Industry and Handicrafts

The Cambodia expansion is ABB’s latest development in South-East Asia, where ABB employs some 4,000 employees. The opportunities, both in Cambodia and ASEAN, across utilities, transport and infrastructure and industry are substantial as the region gears up to become the fourth largest economy by 2050.

With 600 million people, ASEAN is a large market – about 40 percent of the population is under the age of 30 (young, digital natives). However, the digital divide between and within ASEAN countries cannot be denied. The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and countries’ readiness to respond, will be different.

The possibilities of technologies such as advanced manufacturing, robotics, and digitalization which ABB is trailblazing through its Next Level strategy will clearly change markets in a radical way and will be important enablers as industrial development in the region shifts from manufacturing as a source of export revenue, to industries as a source for innovation and productivity.

These technologies, driven by innovative technology companies such as ABB, can help the development of ASEAN. The greater opportunity is also how digital technologies can highlight different strengths of each country to bring them together and enable pan-regional production networks.

“Technologies will bring change, and that change is unstoppable. Underpinning the success of this, is the need to thrive in a fast changing landscape. Disruption will happen – and will contribute the most in rapidly growing economies where digitalization is embraced, and where governments are preparing industries to think and be digital, and committing to giant leapfrogs in terms of technology, ” said Chaiyot.

“ASEAN needs programs to promote awareness about science, technology and innovation so that the digital future can be embraced strategically and inclusively, and so that economies and societies can further succeed as a whole,” he added.

As ASEAN enters the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it has the potential to continue to benefit from its young demographic, and its borderless transfer of people, knowledge and skills, while also learning to use technology to propel regional growth and integration. To reap the benefits, the WEF called on governments, businesses and society to work together on it, to proactively address actions that will enable true progress.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing more than a 125-year history of innovation, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization and driving the Energy and Fourth Industrial Revolutions. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 132,000 employees.

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