APAC 2018: Major global player status will ramp up

Asia is beginning to outpace Europe but security is a serious concern

Asia continues to be a significant player in the global ICT industry, constantly making gains against its US counterparts. In November, China’s Tencent reached a valuation of $500 billion (more than Facebook) while Alibaba is hot in its tails at $474 billion.

South Korea’s tech sector was rocked by controversy this year over the corruption conviction of Samsung heir-apparent Jay Y Lee but neighbour Japan continued to make news this year too. Softbank has minted its $100 billion Vision Fund to invest in technology companies while the group is pumping money into Uber and other ride-hailing apps in Asia Pacific.

These eye watering sums of money show that Asia is not slowing down any time soon but there is plenty of activity around the continent outside the obvious hubs of China, Japan, and South Korea. These ecosystems made significant moves in 2017 and expect to see more of that in 2018.

Asia now outpacing Europe

According to IT consultancy Capgemini, Asia is now outpacing Europe when it comes to innovation centres. Singapore is one of the most active nations in this regard and regularly grabs headlines when it comes to ICT investment. The city-state has invested a staggering amount of money, time, and resources into its technological development, namely in its Smart Nation initiative, from smart city tech to digital IDs to fintech.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) recently announced that it will pump $20 million into artificial intelligence and data analytics projects for the finance sector. Fintech is a major focus area for the government and the city has already attracted more than 400 fintech startups that are registered there. Regulation is a little more favourable and the presence of big name finance firms running fintech programs like corporate accelerator FinLab mean the country is definitely leading the fintech pack in Southeast Asia.

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