Asia-Pacific predicted to become global hub of AI innovation

Image credit: metamorworks |

Advanced artificial intelligence (AI) conjures up many things for today’s enterprises – futuristic images, hype, fear. The march of AI is a global phenomenon and, as a new study reveals, businesses in the Asia-Pacific region are adopting advanced AI faster than companies in the rest of the world.

To better understand where AI technology is headed and how business leaders will apply it in the immediate future, global consulting firm, Protiviti, and ESI ThoughtLab have conducted a global research study of senior executives across functions, industries and company sizes to see where advanced AI stands today, what executives are planning for, and what they expect to happen in the next two years. 

Asia-Pacific is Ahead on AI

Asia-Pacific companies are top when it comes to driving business improvements with AI technology, with 35% reporting that advanced AI is currently providing ‘significant value’ to their business, compared to 14% of companies in North America and just 7 percent of companies in EMEA. 

When it comes to the adoption of AI, businesses across the Asia-Pacific region are already ahead of or equal to the rest of the world. Among companies in the region, 22% are at advanced stages of machine learning against just 7% in Europe and 11% in North America. 

The survey also shows that 43% of Asia-Pacific firms see AI as important to their business’s future, versus 33% of firms in North America and just 18% in Europe. Asia-Pacific also has the highest concentration (48%) of businesses reporting that their use of AI is far ahead of their competitors.

AI is Already Creating Business Value

This adoption of AI is already triggering productivity gains in the region. Nearly all APAC organizations achieved productivity gains of 4 to 6% in the past year from the use of advanced AI compared with just 28% of companies globally.

Today, only a small minority of companies (16%) are gaining significant value from advanced AI. But within two years that number is expected to leap more than three-fold to a majority of firms worldwide. 

Despite these different stages of progress, globally the majority of businesses recognize the value of advanced AI, with 66% of APAC and 64% non-APAC respondents viewing it as important to the future of their business. When it comes to the challenges of implementing advanced AI, these are the same across markets, with financial & regulatory, technological, organizational/attitudinal issues coming out on top. 

Global Investments in AI 

Around the world, companies are putting substantial investment behind their AI efforts. In the last fiscal year, businesses spent an average of $36 million, and they plan to boost their spending by nearly 10% over the next two years. Healthcare and technology companies are moving the fastest when it comes to AI, while financial services and consumer products organizations are picking up the pace but are moving ahead a bit more slowly. 

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