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Governments Foster Cloud Development in Asia

Asia Cloud Index Outlines Strengths, Weaknesses Across the Region

No single Asian country is fully ready for cloud computing, but a handful of developed nations are the most ready, according to the results of the initial Cloud Readiness Index published by the Hong Kong-based Asia Cloud Computing Association (Asia Cloud).

In addition, the Index indicates that countries with the strongest government commitments to ICT and the cloud among the 14 countries surveyed also have the strongest ICT infrastructures.

Countries covered by the report (in order of finish) were Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, New Zealand, Malaysia, China, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

The Index measured 10 different attributes - using data from the World Ecoomic Forum, the Business Software Alliance, and five other sources - assigning a maximum of 10 points to each attribute. Japan racked up a total of 85 points, followed closely by Hong Kong with 83, and Singapore and South Korea with 82. At the other end, the Philippines finished with 45, Vietnam with 49, and Indonesia with 50.

Governmental Importance
Government attributes were covered in six areas of the report, and infrastructure in four. Government influence thus represents 60% of the overall ranking.

Australia finished 1st in the government categories, propelling it to 4th overall even though its infrastructure rated only 6th place (behind Taiwan and ahead of Malaysia).

Australia was followed closely in the overall government ratings by Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and New Zealand.

In the specific area of Internet filtering policies, it was no surprise to see China in 13th place with a 6.2 rating (based on ratings from the Business Software Alliance), although Vietnam's lesser known but even stricter policies earned it last place in this area, an abysmal 3.7.

Government prioritization - an area based on a report from the World Economic Forum - found Singapore and Malaysia at the top. Again, no surprise there. But New Zealand was third in this category, reflecting a new emphasis by its government. China finished 10th in this area, trailed by Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

Connecting the Dots
Overall, the countries with the highest ratings among government attributes also led in infrastructure.

Additionally, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Taiwan all had higher overall ratings in the government categories than they did in infrastructure. Japan and South Korea had parity.

India, Malaysia, and Indonesia also had higher ratings in government overall than in infrastructure, reflecting these nations' desire to drive ICT (and cloud) development forward as a matter of policy. Laggards included China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and particularly Thailand.

It's easy enough for government leaders in the latter four countries to claim they have bigger fish to fry than a commitment to ICT and cloud. But to those who believe ICT is a primary economic driver, these same leaders must realize they are falling behind as their developing-nation brethren continue to emphasize technology.

Anecdotally, I remember visiting Taiwan in the 80s when it was clearly a developing nation, with squadrons of buzzing motor scooters, no subway, shaky phone connections, and very rough roads away from central Taipei. Yet there was serious intensity in the air as its isolated government moved to establish the country as a technology powerhouse. It succeeded.

Apples to Oranges to Mangos
The Cloud Readiness Index compares apples to oranges to mangos to some degree by its nature. There are vast differences in language, religion and culture, and economic development throughout Asia; throwing Australia and New Zealand into the mix adds further diversity.

Yet to me, it's a valid way to look at the region, especially from the viewpoint of business leaders and investors from outside the region. These people need to know which countries are working hard to develop and which are lagging.

Reading between the numbers, one finds many subtleties within the Cloud Readiness Index. A few examples include:

  • Indonesia's overall commitment to ICT despite its very poor rating for business efficiency

  • Taiwan's high infrastructure rating overall even as it lags a bit in broadband connectivity

  • Thailand's poor regulatory and data-protection environments even as it has developed a power grid the equal of Malaysia

The report adds country descriptions to its numbers, which illuminate some other high points:

  • South Korea's "ambitious cloud strategy" and the governmental investments behind it

  • The Singapore government's clear understanding that "significance of ICT to economic development"

  • Indonesia's high rate of mobile access

  • Taiwan's potential "to further accelerate development of the cloud" based on a number of factors.

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More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Studies, (@TauDir), with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is also a writer & editor for SYS-CON Media. He writes for Cloud Computing Journal & Computerworld Philippines. He is Conference Chair of WebRTC Summit and Things Expo. He has a BA from Knox College, Certificate in Tech Writing from UC-Berkeley, and MBA studies at CSU-East Bay. He serves on the board of the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies, and has served as Director, U.S. Coast Guard Aux Int'l Affairs.

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