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Asia

Asia cloud slowdown 'not a positive' for economic recovery

Cloud adoption across Asia is slowing down, according to a new report, but its authors don't know why.

Compared with progress in recent years, the key metrics in many economies "seem to have hit a plateau and we're not sure why," said Lim May-Ann, executive director of the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA).

"The pace of adoption of cloud computing appears to be stalling a little bit," she told an online briefing Tuesday.

The ACCA's annual cloud readiness index tracks the progress of 14 Asian economies in enabling and adopting cloud services, covering metrics such as broadband quality, data privacy, cybersecurity and government regulations.

Lim said the slowdown could simply be because a lot of measures "are in place and are being implemented, so there is not a lot of real movement at this time."

At the same time, "from a quantitative perspective the pace of progress is slowing," she said.

"This is not a positive sign, as it indicates some economies may have chosen to plateau their technology and infrastructural investment at a time when it is needed the most to recover from COVID-19."

In this year's index Hong Kong moved up one place to take top position, displacing Singapore into second, with New Zealand, Taiwan and South Korea rounding out the top five.

Lim said the ACCA would track the top-ranked economies to see if they can "leverage their strong cloud computing fundamentals to effect a more rapid economic recovery."

She noted that in some areas, like privacy, broadband quality and international connectivity, the Asian leaders were ahead of the world.

But Asian countries lagged the global leaders in sustainability, which measures the resilience of data centers and the power grid that supports them.

At the other end of the index, Vietnam is placed bottom, below China (13th), Indonesia (12th) and the Philippines (11th).

Lim said this year's study shows that the digital divide is narrowing, but core capabilities such as data privacy and cybersecurity "remain fragile."

Lim warned that emerging markets risk losing out on economic recovery by not leveraging promising "leapfrog" technologies such as AI, IoT and 5G.

"Some regulations may be put in place, but implementation and capacity-building on the ground seem to still be something of a challenge. The potential is there but we need to find a way to unlock that potential."

— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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