Asia: Becoming a Powerhouse of Artificial Intelligence

Asia: Becoming a Powerhouse of Artificial Intelligence

Asian countries are set to become leaders in AI development and research

There has been a rapid increase in the adoption and development of artificial intelligence across the globe. Business platforms are depending on AI for better growth, efficiency, and digital transformation. Cutting-edge technologies like 5G will escalate the use cases of AI across industries. According to McKinsey Global Survey 2020, 50% of respondents reported that their companies have adopted AI in at least one business function.

The global leaders in AI adoption, research, and development include Asian countries like China, Singapore, and Japan. A Channel Asia report says, "Certainly, Asia Pacific is expected to emerge as a major market for AI-led initiatives since most countries in the region are establishing committees or task forces for creating national AI strategies, which have either been launched or are on the course of being launched in the next few years."

Japan and China leading the Growth

The World Intellectual Property Organization report revealed that Japanese and American companies hold the highest AI patent portfolios, and Chinese research organizations make up 17 of the top 20 academic players in AI patenting and 11 of the top 20 in AI-related scientific publications.

Japanese vision known as Society 5.0 aims to leverage strategic innovations and technology to enhance human life and work towards a smart society. Supportive policies and investment from public and private sectors aid this AI boom in Asian countries like Japan. China and Japan are among the largest suppliers of industrial robots and they are commercializing the research domains for AI. The huge market of China is susceptible to rapid changes and hence can accommodate new innovations in AI without disturbing the economy.

According to a Harvard Business Review report, China has passed a number of policies in recent years to promote the development of AI, including 'Made in China 2025,' 'Action Outline for Promoting the Development of Big Data,' and 'Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan.' Strong government policies can attract more investors into the technology market since they are regulated and protected.

Others Are Not Behind

Other than these tech giants, southeast Asian countries are also committing to the development and research involving AI. The National Artificial Intelligence Strategy introduced by Singapore as its journey towards becoming a smart nation encourages the use of AI technology to redefine business models and the economy at large. The initiative has already identified national projects and key enablers to promote a sustainable AI ecosystem across the nation.

A survey by EDBI and Kearney of the ASEAN countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines found that if applied and executed well, AI could add $1 trillion to the region's GDP by 2030.

Following the path of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are also on their way towards developing a National AI Strategy. These ASEAN countries are stimulating conversations around AI and its impact on their economy. ASEAN countries should invest in AI research and development, new policies, and cybersecurity to escalate the growth of the AI market in the region.

The growing startup culture in Asian countries has also influenced the growth of AI, especially in countries like China and India. India's fast-growing economy and population provided more scope for the adoption of AI. India has initiated a National AI Strategy under its NITI Aayog policy to guide the research and development of emerging AI technologies. Large technology conglomerates and startups lead the acceleration of AI in India and the pandemic also played a pivotal role in rapid digital transformation across the country. AI is being actively adopted in the banking, retail, and healthcare sectors to boost the economy. A Forbes article states that India ranks second only to China in the number of Computer Science graduates produced each year. Further, the article says, "by further training software engineers to become data scientists and machine learning specialists, India almost doubled its AI workforce from 40,000 in 2018 to 72,000 in 2019."

Asian countries have a long way to go, although they are not far behind. In the near future, Asia will emerge as a new leader in the AI global market. The governments investing in AI-driven technologies to boost the economy and accelerate digitization across these regions will enable Asia to reign as a powerhouse of AI.

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