Broadband in the world: the Asian paradox
Asian countries show stark digital divide: wealthy, innovative and digitized nations coexist with some of the poorest and least-connected
According to the 11th Global IT Report, which was released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on April 2012, Singapore led the “Asian Tigers” pack comprising Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. The city-state’s high NRI ranking was attributed to its strong political and regulatory environment and conducive business and innovation arena, it stated.
Singapore ranks second behind Sweden in the Networked Readiness Index (NRI), which measures the degree to which economies around the world harness ICT to enhance their competitiveness. However, the gap between digitized nations and those are less so across Asia remains wide due to less-than-ideal environments for innovation and business growth, among other reasons.
The report pointed out that the Asia-Pacific region was home to some of the world’s wealthiest, most innovative and digitized nations in the world, but these coexisted with some the poorest, least-connected countries, too.
Malaysia, for example, might be the top-ranked among the developing Asia group as it pursued a long-term plan aimed at achieving high-income status by the end of the decade, with ICT playing a critical role. This could be seen by its relatively high ranking in all government-related indicators, while businesses were also “quite aggressive” at adopting technology and increasingly innovative.
China‘s government, too, placed great hopes in ICT as a catalyst for future growth because more traditional growth drivers would dry up, the report noted. However, the Asian economic giant would have to overcome several challenges before it could more fully adopt and leverage ICT.