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The State of AI Readiness Across APAC (Salesforce’23 Index)

The recently published 2023 Asia Pacific AI Readiness Index by Salesforce reveals an increasing disparity among economies in their preparedness to embrace AI technology.

The significance of this index?

The third edition of this biennial index offers a comprehensive assessment of AI readiness. It evaluates both businesses and governments on multiple aspects. The index also examines the impact of AI on socio-economic opportunities. This is done using 15 statistical indicators.

The report also offers guidance for businesses and governments on how to implement and optimize the utilization of AI effectively.

What do the statistics indicate?

The study found that Singapore led with an impressive AI readiness score of 70.1, surpassing 11 other regional economies.

Among the 12 assessed countries, five, including Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand, notably improved their AI readiness compared to 2021. This reflects their commitment to enhancing AI capabilities.

This progress can be attributed directly to the numerous AI-related initiatives that these economies have introduced and put into action between 2021 and 2023.

Progress in APAC Region

  • Singapore, the leading country in the Index, has actively initiated numerous AI-related programs. These programs aim to empower both public and private-sector organizations in the responsible adoption of AI.
  • Japan and China, securing the second and third positions, have a strong focus on AI innovation.
  • New Zealand is at the forefront of digital government and open government data, emphasizing the free and open publication of government data.
  • Australia ranks among the top performers in government AI readiness, reflecting its ongoing efforts to capitalize on its extensive open data sources.
  • South Korea is leading in terms of creative outputs, which encompass intangible assets.
  • India takes the lead in the number of AI startups within its borders.
  • National AI Strategies Introduced by Indonesia and Thailand.

Overall AI Readiness

  • In the APAC region, Singapore leads with a score of 70.1, followed by Japan (59.8)  and China (59.7).
  • China excels 2nd in business readiness, and Australia is 2nd in government readiness.
  • Singapore’s initiatives, such as the National AI Program in Government and AI Verify, promote responsible AI adoption. These programs empower both public and private sector organizations.
Overall AI Readiness: A Salesforce Study

Government AI readiness

  • Singapore leads in the APAC region (86.5), followed by Australia (77.7) and Japan (77.5).
  • Singapore excels in several areas, including public sector digital transformation, open government data, human capital and research, ICT regulation, and investment in emerging technologies.
  • Australia is also a top performer, actively utilizing open data sources and expanding its reach beyond the public sector through initiatives such as the Aus Government Data Summit.
  • New Zealand is a leader in digital government and open government data, largely due to the 2021 Open Data Action Plan.
  • Vietnam’s government AI readiness has decreased, moving from 8th place in 2021 to 11th in 2023, despite substantial investments, due to a lack of AI expertise.
Government AI Readiness 2023 : A Salesforce Study

Business AI readiness

  • Singapore tops the APAC region with a score of 53.6, followed by China at 43.1 and South Korea at 42.7.
  • Singapore excels in businesses’ adoption of emerging technologies, business sophistication, and venture capital availability, contributing to the vitality of AI startups.
  • China leads in knowledge and technology outputs, while South Korea dominates in creative outputs, including intangible assets and creative goods and services.
  • India leads in the number of AI startups, benefiting from significant investments in this sector, with a total of USD 3.24 billion in 2022 and USD 7.73 billion between 2013 and 2022.
  • In China, AI adoption primarily concentrates on financial services, retail, and high-tech sectors, accounting for over a third of the country’s AI market.
Business AI Readiness 2023: A Salesforce Study

Generative AI’s Transformative Impact: A $4.4 Trillion Opportunity by 2030

Generative AI is reshaping the AI landscape for governments and businesses. McKinsey forecasts that generative AI has the potential to contribute an annual boost of $2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

“For countries to succeed in this exciting AI environment, including the adoption of generative AI, their economies require a sufficient level of AI readiness,” said Sassoon Grigorian, VP of APAC Government Affairs, Salesforce.

The Future: 

Measures that businesses and governments can implement to accelerate AI readiness include:

  • Implementing national AI strategies.
  • Adopting a risk-based approach to AI regulation, and harmonization and consistency around existing rules.
  • Enabling responsible AI and ethics.
  • Boosting AI talent.
  • Leveraging AI for societal and economic benefit, together with an education campaign.


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