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Singapore has the most advanced digital economy in Asia Pacific

Adrian M. Reodique | July 17, 2017
Singapore’s digital economy is also the sixth most advanced worldwide, according to the Digital Evolution Index 2017 by The Fletcher School at Tufts University and Mastercard.

Singapore buildings

Singapore has the most advanced digital economy in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region and 6th worldwide, according to the Digital Evolution Index 2017 by The Fletcher School at Tufts University and Mastercard.

While there are many factors that help advance Singapore's digitalisation efforts, the index highlighted the government's push for the digital economy as the main contributor.

"Adoption, the quality of digital infrastructure and institutions, and innovation collectively shape a country's digital competitiveness, but governments also play a key role," said Bhaskar Chakravorti, senior associate dean of international business & finance at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and founding executive director of Fletcher's Institute for Business in the Global Context. 

"Singapore's success with digitalisation is due to many factors, including a strong governmental push on this front, a focus on innovation as well as a digitally savvy population," Deborah Heng, country manager of Mastercard Singapore resonated.

Two other APAC countries -- South Korea (7th) and Hong Kong (9th) -- also made it to the top 10 list of most advanced digital economies worldwide.

The Digital Evolution Index 2017 tracked and analysed the digital evolution of 60 countries based on four key drivers: supply (internet access and infrastructure), consumer demand for digital technologies, institutional environment (government policies/laws and resources), and innovation (investments in research and development, and digital startups).

Researchers utilised data from 2008 to 2015 to derive the overall digital evolution score, digital momentum score, and measure for consumers' digital trust. 


Where do the other countries stand?

The index classified markets under four categories based on the country's pace and state of digital advancement.

The digital economies of Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Israel, Estonia, United Kingdom, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) are categorised under 'stand out'. These digital economies demonstrate high levels of digital development, while leading innovation and new growth.

Other APAC countries including China, Chile, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines are placed under the 'break out' digital economy category for having the fastest momentum, being poised for growth, and being attractive to investors. Kenya, Russia, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico are also included in this category.

Meanwhile, the digital economies of Western Europe, Nordics, Australia, and South Korea are categorised under 'stall out'. Despite having a history of strong growth, the momentum of digital economies in this area are slowing, and are thus at risk of falling behind if they do not innovate.

Finally, countries with digital economies that are constrained by low levels of digital advancement and slow pace of growth are grouped under the 'watch out' category. Peru, Egypt, South Africa, Pakistan, and Greece fall under this category. 


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