Singapore keeps AI readiness lead in APAC

Singapore is again at the top spot for readiness in the adoption of artificial intelligence, compared to 10 other economies in the region, according to the second edition of Salesforces’ Asia Pacific AI Readiness Index.

The study covers Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Commissioned by Salesforce and prepared by Access Partnership, the index assesses the readiness of governments, businesses, and consumers across eleven APAC economies in their adoption of AI technologies. 

Singapore leads all three indices with an overall score of 65.7 of 100, followed by Japan (60.0) and Hong Kong (59.3). 

Globally, AI is expected to contribute approximately US$15.7 trillion to the world’s GDP by 2030, a $2 trillion increase from 2019. 

In Singapore, the AI market is projected to reach US$960 million in 2022, and US$16 billion by 2030.

“Covid-19 has accelerated investment in AI across economies in Asia Pacific, with governments continuing to lead the charge on these efforts,” said Sassoon Grigorian, Salesforce’s senior director of government affairs public policy in APAC and Japan. “In Singapore, whole-of-government strategies are guiding the development of AI ecosystems, and the use of AI is becoming ubiquitous.”

Grigorian said the report recommends a number of measures to boost economies’ effective use of AI, including having a national AI strategy backed by robust principles; growing AI ecosystems and investing in talent; ensuring trust, as well as applying AI for social good.

In terms of government readiness, Singapore scored 81.5 points, up from 76.4 in 2019. The study finds that Singapore’s strong commitment to AI, and its robust policy and regulatory framework is allowing it to successfully maximise the impact of AI on its economy. 

On business readiness, Singapore scored 49.7 points. Indicators measured include digital adoption by businesses, business sophistication as well as knowledge and creative outputs.

Companies in financial services, healthcare, tourism, and transport and logistics sectors in Singapore were found to be well-equipped to adopt AI. 

On consumer readiness, Singapore scored 65.9 points, up from 61.3 in 2019. Indicators measure consumers’ awareness, understanding and adoption of AI products and services. 

Further, Salesforce also offers three recommendations for Singapore to maximise the use of AI in a safe and inclusive manner.

First is expanding participation in regional and international AI standards-setting exercises. Second is sustaining investments in bridging the AI skills gap. Third is strengthening AI provisions in Digital Economy Agreements.