Innovation and eCommerce in Asia - Claudio Murri, Asia Advisor, reports

24 September 2014 Author: Claudio Murri, Asia Advisor to EIF

The Asian Development Bank and the Economist Intelligence published a “Creative Productivity Index”, which ranks Asian countries by their ability to turn the building blocks of creativity into tangible innovations that benefit their economies and people.

Index Ranks Japan Asia's Most Efficient Innovator

The report (available for download here) was developed to give policy-makers a tool to assess how best to foster innovation and creativity in their economies. According to it, Japan ranks first, while Myanmar, Pakistan and Cambodia are the least efficient.

Finland and the United States were included for comparison and ranked second and 4th respectively out of the diverse group of 24 countries that span some of the richest and poorest nations in the world. South Korea was third and China was 11th ranked. Singapore topped rankings for strong political institutions, protection of intellectual property and contract enforcement while Hong Kong was best in terms of creative production, reflecting a high level of export sophistication and its prolific film industry.

The index uses 36 indicators to measure capacity and incentives for innovation, including how many global top 500 universities a country has, the urbanization rate and spending on research and development. The number of patents filed, value added to agricultural commodities and the number of books and films produced are among eight indicators of creative production used. 

eCommerce growing exponentially in South East Asia

According to a survey conducted by global information company Nielsen, the growth of connected devices ownership is causing a boom in the online retail sector, with the number of people making online purchases spiking in the last two years in Southeast Asia. The survey found that travel services are the most commonly bought items online in Southeast Asia along with tickets for films, live performances, exhibitions, and sports events. Rising affluence, availability of high-speed connectivity and evolving online offerings will compound this effect in the years ahead.

The trend is evident in developed economies - such as Singapore or Malaysia whose consumers rank among the world's most avid online shoppers - but also in emerging economies like Vietnam. In fact, searching for and finding more information on products and services online before buying in stores seems to be very popular with many Vietnamese consumers, making this country one of the top three markets in Southeast Asia whereby consumers use their mobile device to shop online most frequently. 58 percent of Vietnamese consumers use their mobile phones to shop online frequently.

Consumer habits, however, vary across the region. Filipinos, Vietnamese, and Singaporeans are most inclined to buy online whereas in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand consumers are more likely to go online to browse and look at products online before buying them in a store. Credit card security remains a key concern across the region with five of the six Southeast Asian markets ranking above the global average with respect to concern about providing card information online.

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