Singapore, UK, New Zealand, and UAE among World’s Stand Out Digital Economies

12-Jul-2017 Intellasia | BusinessWire | 6:01 AM Print This Post

The Fletcher School and Mastercard unveil the Digital Evolution Index
2017, an in-depth look at technology adoption and the state of digital
trust around the world

PURCHASE, N.Y. & MEDFORD, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#DEI17–The Fletcher School at Tufts University in partnership with Mastercard
today unveiled the Digital Evolution Index 2017. This comprehensive
research tracks the progress countries have made in developing their
digital economies and integrating connectivity into the lives of

The research identifies Singapore, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the
United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Israel as digital
elites characterized by high levels of digital development and a fast
rate of digital evolution. With momentum and innovation on their side,
these ‘stand out’ markets exemplify the sweet spot of advancement and
future growth.

With nearly half of the world’s population online, the research maps the
development of 60 countries, demonstrating their competitiveness and
market potential for further digital economic growth. The Index measures
four key drivers and 170 unique indicators to chart each country’s
respective course:

  • Supply (or internet access and infrastructure)
  • Consumer demand for digital technologies
  • Institutional environment (government policies/laws and resources)
  • Innovation (investments into R&D and digital start-ups etc.)

Businesses, governments and civil society are working to bring everyone
online, while also ensuring the security of the digital infrastructure.
The report provides a way to assess digital “trust” as well as the state
and rate of digital evolution with examples from around the world,
giving countries the opportunity to learn from each other to further
their advancement.

“Adoption, the quality of digital infrastructure and institutions, and
innovation collectively shape a country’s digital competitiveness, but
governments also play a key role. The report also found that consumers’
trust in digital technologies correlates with digital competitiveness,”
said Bhaskar Chakravorti, senior associate dean of international
business & finance at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and
founding executive director of Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the
Global Context.

The Findings

  • According to their overall digital evolution scores, Norway, Sweden,
    Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Singapore, South Korea, the United
    Kingdom, Hong Kong, and the United States make the top ten list of
    advanced digital economies, but given the current pace of innovation
    and change, being an advanced digital economy today doesn’t guarantee
    that status tomorrow. How open and supportive they are to innovation
    help determine their future growth potential.
  • Combining the pace and state of digital advancement, the research puts
    markets into four distinct categories:

    • Stand Out –Singapore, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the
      United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Israel
      demonstrate high levels of digital development while continuing to
      lead in innovation and new growth.
    • Stall Out - Many developed countries such as in Western
      Europe, the Nordics, Australia and South Korea have a history of
      strong growth, but their momentum is slowing. Without further
      innovation, they are at risk of falling behind.
    • Break Out – Though still at relatively lower absolute
      levels of digital advancement, these countries demonstrate the
      fastest momentum, are poised for growth and are attractive to
      investors. China, Kenya, Russia, India, Malaysia, Philippines,
      Indonesia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Mexico exhibit this
      breakout potential.
    • Watch Out – Countries such as South Africa, Peru, Egypt,
      Greece and Pakistan face significant challenges, constrained both
      by low levels of digital advancement and a slow pace of growth.

“We all know technology can do more to improve economies and make our
lives better, but growth is only achievable if everyone has confidence
in the developing ecosystem,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, global
enterprise risk & security, Mastercard. “In our pursuit of a truly
connected world, trust and security are critical to successful digital

New This Year: The Trust Factor

To date digital trust has proved difficult to understand, let alone
measure, but it remains a keystone of the global digital economy. New to
the 2017 report, the research team at The Fletcher School analyzed 42 of
the 60 countries in the Index around four key dimensions — behavior,
attitudes, environment, and experience — to understand the state of
digital trust. Some of the findings include:

  • China, Switzerland, Singapore, and the Nordics score well on different
    metrics, but for vastly different reasons.
  • The Chinese consumer is an outlier when it comes to demonstrating
    patient user behavior in the face of friction, such as slow internet
  • Western and Northern European states lead in digital trust experience
    and environment scores, which reflect investments in strong security,
    privacy, and accountability measures, and in minimizing friction.
  • Overall the research shows that in countries where their momentum
    score was higher, consumers were more tolerant of friction in their
    daily digital interactions and transactions, suggesting that momentum
    may be a vital factor in understanding consumer behavior and trust.

Further, governments and businesses are considered the guarantors of
trust, and are charged with facilitating trust among their citizens and
consumers. The findings demonstrate that trust is critical to digital
competitiveness, and that countries can only go so far without it.

Implications: How Countries Can Win

More details and country-specific case studies can be found in the summary
insights overview

  • Use Public Policy as Key to the Success of the Digital Economy: This
    has implications ranging from Brexit negotiations to how India nudges
    its society towards a “less cash” future to the U.S.- China
    competition for economic dominance.
  • Identify What Drives Digital Momentum: Developed and developing
    economies ought to emphasize different ways to spur growth: innovation
    and institutions, respectively.
  • Jumpstart Small Country Growth by Involving Government: They
    can grow quickly as early adopters by assembling the right ecosystems.
  • Reinvent the Digital Stalwarts: The most digitally advanced
    countries can use their scale and existing connections in the world to
    reinvent themselves.
  • Play Digital Catch-Up by Closing the Mobile Internet Gap: The
    least digitally advanced countries must prioritize increasing internet
    access via mobile phones.
  • Work Harder to Earn Users’ Trust: As nations become more
    digitally evolved and momentum slows, technology providers and
    policymakers may need to prioritize building trust to continue growth.

The link to the full report and methodology can be found here.
For more information and shareable content, please visit our digital
press kit

About the Digital Evolution Index

The Digital Evolution Index 2017 builds off the successful launch of the
first edition of the Index in 2014. The research behind this latest
edition considers numerous new factors to better reflect rapid changes
in the digital world and create a report that is accurate, robust and

The in-depth analysis includes a study of the pace of digital evolution
across 60 countries, across four key drivers of supply, demand,
institutional environment and innovation. It utilizes data over 8 years
(2008 – 2015) to provide an overall digital evolution score and digital
momentum score, as well as a measure for digital trust.

The Digital Evolution Index is a research product of Digital
– an interdisciplinary research platform, based at the
Institute for Business in the Global Context at The Fletcher School at
Tufts University.

About The Fletcher School

Fletcher School at Tufts University
is the oldest exclusively
graduate school of international affairs in the United States. The
School’s alumni represent the highest levels of leadership in the world,
including hundreds of sitting ambassadors, political and military
leaders, respected voices from distinguished media outlets and
institutions, heads of global non-profit organizations, and executive
leadership of some of the world’s largest corporations. The Fletcher
School offers a collaborative, flexible and interdisciplinary approach
to the study of international affairs, featuring a distinguished faculty
and diverse student body representing more than half the world’s

About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE: MA),,
is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the
world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers,
financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more
than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions
make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running
a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more
efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews,
join the discussion on the Beyond
the Transaction Blog
and subscribe
for the latest news on the Engagement


Jennifer Stalzer, +1 914-249-5325
[email protected]
Fletcher School

Juli Hanscom, +1 617-627-6814
[email protected]


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