PH named top ‘digital riser’ in East Asia and the Pacific

Map showing the digital risers around the world | Courtesy of European Center for Digital Competitiveness

THE Philippines was recently recognized as the top “digital riser” in East Asia and the Pacific by the Berlin-based European Center for Digital Competitiveness (ECDC).

In ECDC’s Digital Riser Report, the Philippines was named as one of the world’s top digital risers along with France and Saudi Arabia.

The report analyzed each country’s digital competitiveness during the last three years indicated by digital ecosystem and mindset.

“In East Asia and the Pacific, the Philippines was the top Digital Riser over the last three years, while New Zealand fell significantly behind,” the report said.

It also noted that the country improved the most in the mindset dimensions.

“The Philippines’ outperformance can mainly be explained by its ‘Innovate Start-up Act’ lighthouse initiative, which was passed in 2019 to strengthen, promote and develop an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem and culture,” the report read.

“Further beneficial initiatives include the introduction of start-up visas and public-private partnership initiatives, such as the ‘Start-up Venture Fund’ in 2019, which matched investments from investors in local start-ups under certain conditions,” it added.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in April signed the Innovative Startup Act, which created the Startup Development Program that provides benefits and incentives for startups and “startup enablers.”

Included in the program’s benefits are access to startup development programs, as well as linking startups to potential investors, mentors, collaborators, and customers in the country and abroad.

“The top Digital Risers in our study had one thing in common: they have shared a deliberate and comprehensive government programme with top-level support around digitalisation and entrepreneurship,” said Professor Philip Meissner of the ECDC by ESCP Business School Berlin.

The Philippine Department of Information and Communications Technology, for its part, welcomed the recognition.

“This just proves that we are now reaping the fruits of the government’s digitalization efforts,” DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan said Thursday, September 16.

Following the Philippines in the digital risers ranking in the East Asia and Pacific are Thailand, Indonesia, China, Cambodia, Japan, Mongolia, Brunei, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Australia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Laos, and New Zealand.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at

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