According to a report by Singapore investment company Temasek Holdings and Google, Southeast Asia's online economy will be worth more than $240bn by 2025, with online travel accounts said to be the driving force.
The annually published report predicted that the online economy will hit $72bn by the end of 2018, an increase from the $50bn of 2017 and $19.1bn in 2015. This means it is "surpassing the gross domestic product of more than 100 countries in the world in just three years", the report stated.
Of the growth, online travel accounted for $30bn, ecommerce $23bn, online advertising, gaming and music and video-on-demand (VOD) totaled $11bn and online transport and food delivery came to $8bn.With the expansion of the online economy, investor confidence is said to be growing. Since 2015, $24bn was raised by Southeast Asian tech companies and $16bn was divvied out to local unicorns such as Grab, Go Jek, Bukalapak and Lazada.
The report, which was written by Google's Southeast Asia VP Rajan Anandan and Temasek's co-head of portfolio strategy and risk groupRohit Sipahimalani, said: "It's hard to keep up with Southeast Asia's internet economy because it keeps blowing expectations out of the water.
"The region is taking much less time to get there than earlier expected. With eight years still left to go, Southeast Asia is already more than a third of the way to the target. And Southeast Asian tech companies have already raised half of the $40-$50bn in funds we expected them to attract."
Anandan Sipahimalani said that the Southeast Asia region "are on a solid foundation for accelerated digital growth". There are currently 350 million connected internet users living in the region, which is an increase of more than 90 million since 2015. "90% of Southeast Asians are mobile-first", the report outlined.
Additionally, of the forecasted increase to $200bn by 2025, the report predicts that 1.7 million jobs will be created within the internet economy.