The four technological capabilities that enabled Asia’s COVID-19 response

Jeongmin Seong, partner at the McKinsey Global Institute based in our Shanghai office and co-author of Future of Asia, discusses the existing capabilities that enabled Asia's relatively speedy and efficient response to COVID-19, and the country-specific measures that helped to bring the outbreak under control.

The speed and efficacy of COVID response in Asia were enabled by four technological capabilities. First is a high rate of technology capacity building. Over the past decade, Asia accounted for over half of global growth in large technology company revenue and venture capital funding.

Second is digitally adaptable populations. Two billion internet users in Asia are also highly engaged digital consumers. Nine out of the top 10 countries with the highest mobile purchase penetration are in Asia.

Third is rapid digitization by businesses as well. For example, digital banking transactions were 1.6 to five times as frequent as branch transactions across Asia.

Fourth is the role of government to enable rapid commercialization and the execution of new technologies. China has been making substantial investment to create an AI market. And India has implemented digital IDs for over 1.2 billion citizens.

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