Singapore holds the top spot for overall AI readiness in the Asia-Pacific region, ahead of 11 other economies, with Japan and China in second and third place, the latest AI Readiness Index by Salesforce shows.
Singapore’s overall score of 70.1 has also improved further since the last report in 2021 (65.6), when it also ranked first.
The third edition of this bi-annual composite index measures businesses’ and governments’ multi-faceted AI readiness and its impact on socio-economic opportunities through 15 statistical indicators.
In business AI readiness, Singapore ranks first (53.6), followed by China, (43.1), and South Korea (42.7). For government AI readiness, Singapore also ranks first (86.5), followed by Australia (77.7) and Japan (77.5).
This is a result of the conducive policy and business environment shaped by Singapore’s AI-related initiatives. For instance, the National AI Strategy outlines plans to develop and deploy AI solutions across several key sectors of society.
Overall, the Index shows a growing divide between mature and emerging digital economies on their readiness to adopt AI. Apart from Singapore, Southeast Asian countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam — all scored below the Asia Pacific average.
However, these countries have all launched national AI policies between 2021 and 2022, suggesting that it may be a matter of time before we see the impact of the policies on the ground.
The study finds that the adoption and use of generative AI requires a level of AI readiness, including those related to infrastructure, data, workforce development, ethical design, and integration.
Of the 12 countries surveyed, five (Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand) have seen their overall AI readiness improve from their 2021 score, a direct reflection of the AI-related initiatives these economies have launched between 2021 and 2023.
Other APAC economies have also seen progress. Singapore leads the Index and has launched many decisive AI-related initiatives, with an aim to empower public- and private-sector organisations to adopt AI responsibly.
Indonesia and Thailand have the largest increase in government AI readiness, a testament to the momentum since the introduction of their national AI strategies in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
South Korea leads in terms of creative outputs, which include intangible assets. India leads in terms of number of AI start-ups.
Further, the report predicts that business AI readiness is poised to accelerate, as micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) start to invest and adopt AI technology.
Actions that businesses and governments can take to further expedite AI readiness include implementing national AI strategies; adopting a risk-based approach to AI regulation, and harmonisation and consistency around existing rules; enabling responsible AI and ethics; boosting AI talent; and leveraging AI for societal and economic benefit, together with an education campaign.