Hong Kong regains top spot from Singapore as strongest APAC cloud nation

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The top two have swapped again: Hong Kong has topped the charts ahead of Singapore in the Asia Cloud Computing Association’s (ACCA) 2020 cloud readiness index.

The biennial report, which assesses 14 Asia Pacific countries in categories ranging from connectivity, to security, to governance, found Australia slipping into mid-table, India making strides forward, while China continues to struggle. New Zealand, Taiwan and South Korea made up the top five, bumping Japan – ranked fourth in 2018 – down in the process.

Hong Kong scored a total of 81.9 out of 100, compared with Singapore’s 81.5. Both nations rank higher than leading global equivalents analysed such as the UK (79.7) and the US (76.4). Singapore scored a world-beating 9.9 for broadband quality and 9.0 for IP protection, as well as 9.0 for cybersecurity – albeit below the UK and US – while Hong Kong scored impressively across the board.

The only category in which Hong Kong polled relatively poorly was in green policy and sustainability, at 4.8. This was a mixed bag for all nations, with New Zealand coming out on top at 6.7; however their international connectivity score (4.2) was its big weakness.

Hong Kong had connectivity sewn up at 9.3 with wildly varying scores for other nations; Japan (1.7), China (1.8) and South Korea (2.6) all performed extremely poorly. The report noted that average international connectivity for APAC economies has increased by 53% year on year, a downturn on 2018 (63%) and 2016 (62%). Japan, alongside Australia, the Philippines and Vietnam, saw negative growth, with Japan dropping from joint sixth to joint 12th for connectivity this time around.

There were fluctuating fortunes for India and China in the 2020 index. China remained second last, scoring especially poorly in connectivity, privacy, and freedom of information. The report argued that this lowly position persists despite various gains in broadband quality and data centre risk; ‘important structural inadequacies remain’ in key enabling areas. India, meanwhile, rose two places to 10th thanks to ‘small but noticeable’ improvements across all parameters, again with a longstanding weakness in infrastructure.

The report assessed the potential impact of emerging technologies for APAC economies, most notably as a springboard for recovery post-Covid-19. Technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, mixed reality and quantum computing could see APAC nations leapfrog more mature economies. Yet cloud – or more specifically, enabling free and secure flow of data across borders – must underpin this; loosening data restrictions, as well as the right investment in infrastructure, is necessary to enable this next step.

Overall, the index held a cautious tone: while cloud readiness continues to advance, the pace of advancement is stalling. While the coronavirus pandemic has necessitated the blurring between personal and professional lives, ACCA said the findings indicate that ‘some countries may have chosen to plateau their technology and infrastructural investment in a time when it is needed the most.’

The full table of results can be seen below, while you can access the report here.

Photo by bady abbas on Unsplash

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