Asia’s emerging economies overtake Singapore in business confidence: Report

It’s time for the world’s developed economies to step up their game.

According to a recent report released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), when it comes to the confidence of business executives in their city’s environment and ability to support the digital ambitions of companies, Asia’s developing countries occupy seven of the top 10 spots.

Singapore failed to make the top 10, coming in 14th out of the 45 cities ranked.

While the Lion City’s overall score of 6.89 out of 10 in terms of overall business confidence is relatively high, the growing smart nation still lags behind cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi and Beijing.

Banglore led the pack with a score of 8.25.

Connecting Commerce Report

Five key categories relevant to business performance were considered: innovation and entrepreneurship, the financial environment, people and skills, development of new technologies, and information and communication technology (ICT).

The global research project by EIU was commissioned by Telstra, a telecommunications and technology company, and was based on a survey of 2,620 executives in 45 cities conducted in June and July 2017.

While Singapore was found to have a strong government mandate to oversee the digital transformation of the city, the report highlights that the lack of digital talent and entrepreneurial spirit continue to be concerns for businesses in Singapore.

In fact, when considering the five research indicators studied, Singapore registered its lowest ranking in ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ (ranked 21st) and ‘People and Skills’ (ranked 18th).

Globally, in terms of the toughest challenges faced in achieving digital transformation, the shortage of talent and skills came in second behind financial constraints.

And in Singapore, this was cited as a problem by 38% of the city’s business executives.

Connecting Commerce Report

That being said, there is a strong sense of public-private trust in Singapore, with more than half (53%) of business executives saying that they have used government programs to finance transformation initiatives in recent years.

And 43% believe that government programmes have been instrumental in helping their companies achieve their digital objectives.

But of course, there is always room for improvement.

Almost half of the respondents (45%) think that the government could put the data that it collects to better use.

In a press statement, Mr David Burns, Telstra’s Group Managing Director of Global Services and International, said: “The Singapore government is recognised for its work in creating a strong environment for digital development, however there is room for improvement when it comes to support for innovation and entrepreneurship as well as talent and skills development”.

“Skills shortages present one of the toughest challenges for Singaporean firms when attempting to pursue digital transformation initiatives, with skills in analytics, security and the Internet of Things (IoT) most in demand”.