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South and Southeast Asia have also emerged as homes for technology start-up ecosystems. The emergence of tech start-ups has resulted in significant social and economic benefits for both sub-regions. China, India and Indonesia are the countries with the most number of internet users in the world. Young Asians are the avid users of social media as well. On the digital economy front, Asian states are in preparation to reap the benefits that Industry 4.0 has to offer to their societies. States are undertaking large-scale revamping of their society and governance models backed by technology by initiating smart city projects, and introducing e-governance platforms and issuing biometric identities to their citizens. Simultaneously, Asian states are battling high levels of digital divide both within and between countries.
It is in this context that Asian states are playing catch up by legislating on various aspects of technological advancement to minimise the harms arising out of it, including regulating social media, passing data protection
laws and implementing intermediary liability rules. The international, regional and national regulatory frameworks relating to the digital space are in a state of constant flux and governance norms are continuously evolving. Asians, as the biggest users of the internet, should aim to contribute to the global debate on regulating the cyberspace. With this in mind, we bring forth this publication, which captures perspectives from South, Southeast and North Asia about data governance, regional cooperation in norm building, capacity building initiatives and the development of social media regulation in the region.