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Singapore leads Asia in connectivity and economic digitisation

Singapore is leading Asia in the way it uses IT to improve business and society

Singapore was named the top Asian country in connectivity and digital transformation using ICT, according to Huawei’s Global Connectivity Index 2016 (GCI).

The index found that average national connectivity levels are 5% higher than they were in 2015. Singapore is among the top three developed economies in the world, ranked second to the US and ahead of Sweden.

The report highlighted the Singaporean government’s efforts to bring fibre broadband to needy households. The Home Access programme provides 100 Mbps fibre broadband connectivity, plus a tablet at a subsidised rate of around S$6 per month. It is expected to benefit 8,000 households over four years.

Singapore’s government is also trying to provide better cloud services by opening up the broadband market to new suppliers, which resulted in a slew of innovative broadband packages at competitive prices for cloud access.  

It also introduced the multi-tier cloud security (MTCS) framework for software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers in Singapore.

According to the report, nations such as Singapore with high GCI scores tend to be more competitive and innovative, and are more mature in the adoption of cloud, big data and internet of things (IoT) technologies.

There is also a close correlation found between GCI scores and ratings in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index and the Global Innovation Index.

Sid Deshpande, principal research analyst at Gartner, agrees that Singapore is a regional leader, with both private sector organisations engaging in digital business and a strong government impetus on using technology to deliver better citizen services.

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“A highly connected population and workforce, backed by strong and reliable internet connectivity, is serving as the foundation for this digital transformation,” said Deshpande.

“Singapore also benefits from the presence of large global and regional multinational corporations that are able to bring their digital business strategies to Asia through Singapore.

“The environment in Singapore is seen as an example for other countries to emulate, particularly around delivery of B2C [business to consumer] services and citizen services.

“A great example of thought leadership is Singapore’s financial regulator, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which is actively engaged in fostering digital innovation in the financial services industry.”

Among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), both Malaysia and Indonesia moved up the index. Malaysia jumped four places to 25th, and Indonesia moved up two places to 41st. Malaysia and Indonesia’s gains are attributable to broadband roll out.

The 50 countries assessed by GCI 2016 account for 90% of global GDP and 78% of the world’s population. The other three Asean countries ranked in the GCI are: Thailand at 34th, Philippines at 38th and Vietnam at 44th.

Malaysia increased ICT investment in 2015 to improve 4G coverage, as well as mobile broadband coverage and affordability. It also invested more in cloud services and datacentres in a push for industry digitisation and full economic digitisation by 2020.

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