Study: State of Analytics in South East Asia 2019

Analytics India Magazine conducted an independent study to understand how Southeast Asia has become an analytics enabler and is winning the race when it comes to growth and innovation in analytics ecosystem. With the region being pegged as the next growth engine, Asian economies have become the bedrock of growth and disruption.

Outside North America, the major hub for global AI development is now Singapore that has made the greatest advances in analytics and artificial intelligence. However, there are other countries like Malaysia and Vietnam that are also driving positive outcomes with AI adoption and in the last five years, have built a healthy ecosystem of deep tech startups.

The upside in analytics adoption doesn’t come as surprise, especially for countries like Singapore that have taken a substantial lead, thanks to the continued Government support seen in the form of e-Singapore government initiatives. The city state has innovated, tested and piloted several emerging technology solutions. In addition to this, Singapore, known as the global hub for innovation has made its biggest impact on the fintech ecosystem, thanks to its entrenched data and analytics practice. Singapore has made great leaps –from analytics engagement to analytics enabler, the country now contributes 44% to the analytics market size among Southeast Asia countries.

In South East Asia, the analytics & data science industry is estimated to be $6.8 Billion in market size. This is the current size of the industry and the potential size can actually be much higher. In addition to being a key driving force, Southeast Asia has also demonstrated research excellence in emerging technologies like AI. An independent study cited that more than 24,000 papers on artificial intelligence were published in Southeast Asia, with Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand accounting for 86% of the output.

The countries considered for this study are Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand & Vietnam.

There are a few factors that could have led to the analytics adoption and innovation. Some of the core reasons are:

  1. Developing analytics talent and supporting talent development programmes
  2. Developing regional policy frameworks to support analytics development across sectors
  3. Analytics adoption has increased thanks to the growth in data, which has led to the development of digital economy

Key Trends

    • The Analytics & Data science Industry in South East Asia is currently estimated to be $6.8 Billion (annual) in market size. This is the current size of the industry, the potential size can actually be much higher.
    • Singapore contributes 44% to the Analytics market size among Southeast Asia countries.
    • Malaysia contributes 23% to the analytics market
    • Philippines ranks a third with 11% contribution to the analytics market
    • Singapore is the leading country with the highest number of AI-related research papers and patents published in the last 10 years. Malaysia ranks second in the list of AI-related research papers published in Southeast Asia
Singapore leads in analytics adoption in Southeast Asia

Sector Type

The rapid shift towards digital has led to the rise in fintech boom and digital banking in Southeast Asia with the financial sector emerging as the biggest adopter of analytics and AI solutions. Southeast Asia is witnessing a fintech boom with a number of companies operating in the payments sector business. Major Southeast financial institutions are already providing mobile payments services.  The other key players in the fintech business in the region, in addition to the financial institutions include a slew of startups. A key reason why the region is leading in financial analytics adoptions is that many Southeast Asian countries offer an environment in which fintech start-ups can operate effectively.

  • In terms of Sector type, finance & banking is the largest sector being served by analytics in South East Asia. Overall, 35% or $2.4 billion in market size to analytics industry comes from finance & banking
  • Marketing & advertising comes second at 26%, followed by e-commerce sector generating 16% of analytics revenues in South East Asia.
  • Telecom sector comes fourth generating about 8% revenue in analytics
Analytics adoption is highest in the Banking & Finance sector

Analytics Companies in SouthEast Asia

The adoption of analytics among Southeast Asian countries is advancing with companies adopting an enterprise-wide approach to analytics adoption. Adoption of analytics is highest among countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines that have established analytics capabilities in place. Singapore leads in analytics adoption with companies having ingrained data-driven capabilities in their fabric and processes with 50% of analytics providers based out of Singapore. Adoption is also on the rise in Malaysia and Philippines with companies using analytics across businesses.

  • More than 2,400 companies in SouthEast Asia claim to work on analytics in some form
  • Almost 79% of these organizations have less than 50 employees
  • On average, Analytics organizations in SouthEast Asia have 188 employees on their payroll
  • Singapore houses almost 50% of all analytics companies in South East Asia
  • It is followed by Malaysia at 17% and Philippines at 12%

    Singapore leads the race with the highest base of analytics providers

Analytics Professionals in Southeast Asia

Even though emerging economies are now producing analytics and AI talent in far greater numbers than other developed region like North America, talent shortage still persists. The shortage in supply of analytics professionals makes it important for analytics users to develop comprehensive strategies for building, hiring or sourcing their required analytics resources. Leading enterprises are now building up internal analytics teams to fill the immediate skills and capabilities gap.

  • Currently, there are approximately 150 thousand analytics professionals in Southeast Asia
  • Singapore has the highest number of professionals in Southeast Asia at 38% followed by Philippines at 21%
  • Even though Philippines contributes 21% in terms of manpower, its contribution in market size is just 11%
  • 10 top analytics recruiters in Southeast Asia are Standard Chartered Bank, Google, Grab, Lazada Group, Shopee, Facebook, GOJEK, Agoda, Amazon Web Services & LinkedIn

    Singapore has the highest analytics talent followed by Philippines

Work Experience of Analytics Professionals

Southeast Asian countries are winning the talent war through innovative hiring strategies like hackathons and upskilling programmes. Even though the region faces a talent crunch in the area of analytics and AI, the average work experience of analytics professional is 9 years. Companies also grapple with a high analytics employee turnover, due to which they are not unable to build a deep analytics talent bench.  

  • The average work experience of analytics professionals in Southeast Asia is 9 years.
  • Around 4,100 freshers were added to the analytics workforce in Southeast Asia last year
  • Almost 32% of analytics professionals in Southeast Asia have a work experience of fewer than 5 years
  • 37% of analytics professionals have more than 10 years of work experience

    The average work experience of analytics professionals is 10+ years

Upsurge in Analytics Jobs was seen in the last couple of years

The unprecedented pace of growth in the analytics ecosystem in Asia means that attracting, developing, and retaining top talent is a key challenge. As compared to other developed regions, majority of analytics professionals in Southeast Asia transitioned only in the last 2 years.

  • On average, analytics professionals in Southeast Asia have joined/transitioned to their current role in the last 3 years
  • 55% analytics professionals in Southeast Asia have joined/transitioned to their current role in the last 2 years

    The maximum analytics workforce transitioned in the last 2 years


Analytics adoption has gained substantial traction in Southeast Asia and countries like Singapore have now emerged as a hub for analytics, thanks to its rich talent base. In fact, the biggest impact is seen across sectors like banking, healthcare, manufacturing and healthcare and investments in analytics and cognitive technologies in Southeast Asia has also increased in the last five years. While Singapore emerged as a technology leader with close to 50% companies based there, companies in Malaysia and Philippines are also now leveraging advanced analytics to drive value. Analytics has emerged as the engine to drive businesses forward, however lack of analytics talent will remain the key issue in mainstream adoption.

Research Methodology

The findings contained in this report are based on surveys conducted among 100+  enterprise-level companies. The survey was circulated to find and gauge analytics capability within organisations. The survey was conducted among organizations across the sectors — BFSI, e-commerce, retail, telecom and manufacturing.  The data contained is a result of 6 months of research and by evaluating the findings, we aim to help global leaders understand the data science ecosystem in Southeast Asia and how the region has made great leaps in analytics innovation.

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Richa Bhatia
Richa Bhatia is a seasoned journalist with six-years experience in reportage and news coverage and has had stints at Times of India and The Indian Express. She is an avid reader, mum to a feisty two-year-old and loves writing about the next-gen technology that is shaping our world.

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