ASEAN encompasses huge variations in information and communication technology capabilities (ICT), according to a recent report from the World Economic Forum.
In the 2015 Global Information Technology Report, ASEAN member countries ranked among the best and the worst on the Networked Readiness Index, which measures the capacity of countries to leverage ICT for increased competitiveness and well being.
Singapore heads the rankings, overtaking Finland and Sweden to earn the top spot. The city-state has the highest penetration of mobile broadband subscriptions per capita in the world and the most conducive business and information environment worldwide, according to the report.
Amongst Asia’s emerging and developing countries, Malaysia (ranked 32) is the only country featured in the top 60, with other member countries lagging some 30 places behind—Thailand at 67, followed closely by the Philippines and Indonesia. Vietnam and Laos came in just below the 100 mark, but Cambodia and Myanmar remain near the bottom of the list, at 110 and 139 respectively, out of 143 countries.
Globally, over 12 billion devices are currently connected to the Internet, and this number is expected to increase to more than 20 billion by 2020, according to the report. However, billions of people remain unconnected or underserved. The report notes that information and communications technologies can create economic opportunities and foster social and political inclusion.