ICT in Asia

The World Economic Forum (WEF)'s 2012 Networked Readiness Index (NRI) uses a combination of data from publicly available sources and the results of the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey of over 15,000 executives provides insight into areas critical for networked readiness. Table above shows Asian countries in the world rankings (142 countries)

"Despite efforts over the past decade to develop information and communications technologies (ICT) infrastructure in developing economies, a new digital divide in terms of ICT impacts persists", according to the latest rankings of The Global Information Technology Report 2012: Living in a Hyperconnected World, released recently by the World Economic Forum. The NRI report shows, "Sweden (1st) and Singapore (2nd) top the rankings in this year’s report in leveraging information and communications technologies to boost country competitiveness", said the WEF. For China, the press release commented, "...China at 51st – still face important challenges to more fully adopt and leverage ICT. An insufficient skills base and institutional weaknesses, especially in the business environment, present a number of shortcomings that stifle entrepreneurship and innovation".

According to another recent Grant Thornton International Business Report entitled "The global economy in 2012: a rocky road to recovery", the report stated that past investment in infrastructure remains a huge advantage for businesses in mature markets.  The report cited 26% and 21% of businesses in the BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China) identified transport and ICT (Information and communications technology) infrastructure respectively as a constraint on expansion.  Businesses in India are particularly concerned; more than a third cite both transport and ICT infrastructure (both 36%) as an impediment to growing their business, reported Thailand's Nation newspaper.

Tha Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)'s ICT industry is growing fast, employing 11.7 million people and contributing US$32 billion, or 3%, to the bloc's gross domestic product, reporting the newspaper.  To achieve the goal of promoting ASEAN as a global ICT hub under the ASEAN's master plan for ICT, ASEAN members need to collaborate more on trade and investment promotion, innovation and efforts to bridge the digital divide.

The Asean Economic Community(AEC) in 2015 - the single market and trade investment cooperation is forcing ASEAN companies to accelerate the use of ICT.  The development could be seen to:
  • Reshape the business models of ICT services, with collaboration among Asean member countries playing a major part
  • Companies and public organizations  mobilising ICT-skilled labor
  • Enhancing connectivity among Asean countries
  • Promoting data exchange via cloud-based systems
The First ASEAN CIO Forum was organized in Thailand in 2012 with 16 countries  attending with the aim of creating a regional CIO network. Progress from the meeting, according Mr Chaicharearn Atibaeydato, Chairman of CIO  Forum and other experts, to the Bangkok Post newspaper:
  • After the meeting, Brunei will be responsible for the Asean CIO team. Malaysia will likely take the leading role for the Green ICT initiative.
  • Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand are potential core leaders for business continuity planning to deal with disasters.
  • Brunei and Vietnam will take charge of cyber-security collaboration across Asean.
  • The Asia Data Centre Alliance, a group of leading data centre providers from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam, is setting common standards for cloud-based data-centre providers (currently, there are no standards for cloud technology).
  • There will be more collaboration on linking international fibre-optic gateways among each Asean country under the regional gateway connectivity concept
  • Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand have already been connected, while the remaining six countries are set to join by the end of this year
  • Regional connectivity could reduce cost of international bandwidth by up to 40% and increase speed
Manoo Ordeedolchest, Sripatum University's chairman for ICT policy, suggested IT executives at leading enterprises should pioneer in adopting cloud technology to open up new business opportunities. He said the government should also promote the using of cloud-based technology on a rental basis to improve competitiveness, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises, reported the paper.



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