Asia Pacific is the most populous, diverse, and dynamic region on the planet. It’s home to 60% of the world’s people (living on just 30% of its land area), thousands of ethnic groups packed into 48 countries, and some of the fastest-growing economies, galvanized by a rapidly expanding, educated middle class.
The world first started hearing about the coming “Asian century” in the 1980s, when the region’s low cost structures and opening markets were positioning it as a sprawling economic superpower, especially in manufacturing. But make no mistake: The core of the region’s 21st century renaissance has been its relentless technology-driven innovation, across dozens of industry sectors.
Oracle is proud of its deep history in Asia Pacific, which spans over three decades working with companies, governments, not-for-profits, communities, and individuals to unlock tech innovation and enrich people’s lives.
Oracle’s industry-leading technology advances are giving Asia Pacific organizations—from the largest multinationals to the smallest startups—access to the high-performing cloud infrastructure, as well as to an array of integrated cloud applications with AI, predictive analytics, blockchain, and other emerging tech built in. One comprehensive, multicloud effort Oracle is supporting is the Bangladesh government’s Digital Bangladesh initiative, under which it is implementing digital commerce, banking, education, voting, healthcare, and other e-services to move the country toward becoming a knowledge-based, developed economy by 2041. The state-owned Bangladesh Data Center Company Limited is helping lead the country’s 4th Industrial Revolution by providing such Oracle Cloud-based services from the country’s own sovereign data center.
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Among the seriously complex challenges Oracle is helping customers in the region take on, none is more urgent than improving health outcomes and slowing the pace of climate change.
On the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic has been Pharmaniaga Berhad, the largest integrated pharma group in Malaysia, which used Oracle Cloud Applications to deliver vaccines efficiently and safely to health facilities across the country. Hulunbuir People’s Hospital in inner Mongolia used the Oracle Application Express (APEX) low-code programming platform to build and deploy a laptop application in just three days to digitize its admission processes, eliminating a paper-based one that risked spreading the virus. The government of Tasmania, an island state of Australia, is using the Oracle Therapeutic Learning System to manage its successful COVID-19 vaccination program.
Oracle technologies are helping Asia Pacific medical research centers, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and other healthcare providers improve and save lives well beyond the pandemic. One health sciences trailblazer in the region is Australia’s Children’s Medical Research Institute, whose foundational gene therapy research, conducted on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure using Oracle Data Science Cloud, is leading to breakthrough treatments for cancer, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, epilepsy, and other diseases. Another healthcare pioneer is Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, the first charity-based cancer hospital in Pakistan, which is using a variety of Oracle Cloud technologies to organize and analyze patient data to improve diagnoses and treatments. “What’s exciting is that data is giving our patients new hope,” says the centre’s CEO, Dr. Faisal Sultan.
Oracle is also doing important work to help cut CO2 emissions. For example, as part of a four-year initiative by Japan’s Ministry of Environment, five utilities in that country used Oracle Utilities Opower software to provide 300,000 customers with personalized data and helpful tips on how to lower their energy use. The result was an average 2% reduction in consumption and a cumulative reduction of 47,000 tons of CO2, contributing to Japan’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by 2030.
Meanwhile, Oracle is reducing its own carbon footprint in the region and worldwide. Having set aggressive goals in 2015 for cutting its global CO2 emissions, shifting to renewable energy sources, diverting waste from landfills, and reducing its use of potable water by 2020, Oracle met or surpassed all four goals ahead of schedule. In addition, Oracle has committed to running all of the cloud regions that power its infrastructure and application services on 100% renewable energy by 2025. And it is requiring that all its key suppliers have environmental programs in place by 2025 that include emissions-reduction targets.
Much of the tech-centric innovation in Asia Pacific is coming from startups, which are thriving in the region for several reasons, including access to deep pools of highly educated, ambitious professionals, especially in the STEM fields; risk-taking cultures that are being liberated by more favorable regulations; vibrant corporate- and government-supported R&D environments; and highly competitive domestic economies whose growing middle classes are keen to invest as well as flex their purchasing power.
When it comes to setting regulations favorable to starting, operating, and protecting businesses, the latest World Bank rankings (PDF) put New Zealand, Singapore, and Hong Kong at Nos. 1, 2, and 3 worldwide, followed closely by South Korea at No. 5.
No wonder that enrollment by Asia Pacific companies in the Oracle for Startups program—piloted in Bangalore, India, in 2016 before it was rolled out globally—more than doubled in size between August 2020 and 2021.
One leading light in the program is India’s TensorGo Technologies, the winner of the Best Overall Pitch category in our recent Startup Idol virtual competition. TensorGo’s customers in a variety of industries are starting to use its AI-based, low-code computer vision platform to read individuals’ gestures, facial expressions, eyeball movements, and language use. For example, banks and insurance companies can use the platform to detect fraud, and retailers to gauge the feelings and intentions of shoppers.
The Startup Idol winner in both the Most Creative and Most Innovative Solution categories was another impressive startup, DeepVisionTech. The India-based company is the developer of Let’sTalkSign, an AI-based platform that enables easy two-way communication between speech- and hearing-impaired individuals who use sign language and those who don’t know it. Let’sTalkSign converts sign language to text and speech in any language—and vice versa—in real time on any computing device with a camera, web browser, and minimal processing power.
All that commercial and social activity would be impossible without sufficient numbers of talented engineers, developers, software architects, project managers, security specialists, and other technical experts. A major challenge is that the Asia Pacific region faces a shortage of 47 million tech and other workers across all sectors, at an annual opportunity cost of $4.2 trillion by 2030, estimates HR consulting firm Korn Ferry. The onus is on companies like Oracle to train workers and on governments to expand their education programs, especially critical as the region’s economies emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oracle is leading the way in the region, working with more than 4,500 education and training institutions, via its philanthropic Oracle Academy program, to prepare millions of people in 23 countries for the rigors of college, career, and life. Top universities, technical schools, and secondary schools in the region are using Oracle Academy’s academic curricula and learning materials, as well as Oracle Cloud software and support, to enhance their programs—all free of charge. Students come away with hands-on, job-specific knowledge and skills in the hottest technology areas, including cloud computing, AI, machine learning, data science, data management, and the Internet of Things.
One of Oracle Academy’s many dynamic education partners in the region is Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education, whose Information and Communications Technology track trains 15- to 18-year-olds for jobs in software engineering, mobile app development, data science, AI, cybersecurity, and other fields. Other partners in the region include National University of Singapore, whose Graduate Research Innovation Programme has incubated and launched over 250 tech startups; Taiwan’s Lee-Ming Institute of Technology, whose Information Management and Information Technology departments specialize in database management, programming, networking, and application development; Universitas Muhammadiyah Makassar, on the eastern Indonesian island of Sulawesi, which started its informatics department only a few years ago; and 39 university members of the Association of Private Higher Education Institutions of Thailand, including Chaopraya University and Siam University.
Oracle Academy is also active outside of academia in virtual programs that inspire girls and young women to pursue careers in one of the STEM fields, offering expert-led interactive sessions on information security, entrepreneurship, writing, consulting, and other areas. Under a separate program, Oracle University, Oracle and partners provide individuals across the region with professional training courses and accreditations, at all levels, for the entire Oracle Cloud product portfolio.
Oracle’s success in Asia Pacific is a testament to its 50,000 employees in the region, who work from 139 corporate offices and many thousands of home offices in 22 countries.
Oracle remains dedicated to cultivating a truly diverse workforce in the region and worldwide, following the lead of CEO Safra Catz, who asserts: “Every good idea at Oracle comes from our employees. By building diverse and inclusive teams, we benefit from each other’s strengths and perspectives. That’s what turns good ideas into great ideas.”
Championing that principle in Asia Pacific are the members of five main employee groups: Oracle Women’s Leadership (OWL), Oracle Pride Employee Network (OPEN), Oracle Neurodiversity Network (ONN), Oracle Diverse Abilities Network (ODAN), and Oracle Professional Asian Leadership (OPAL).
In addition to creating an inclusive, welcoming work environment for its people, Oracle is also cultivating a culture that encourages employees to pursue their passions outside of work. Just one of many extraordinary Oracle employees in the region is Mari Kitagawa, who as a child represented Japan in the Junior Olympics as a swimmer. After suffering a cerebral infarction in her sleep, leaving her left arm and leg disabled, Mari grew to love sailing and fly fishing, culminating in her earning a silver medal with Japan’s National Paralympic Sailing team in 2014 and later excelling in international fly-fishing competitions. Another Oracle Japan employee and world-class athlete is Michinobu Fujita, who has proudly represented Japan in wheelchair fencing at several international sporting competitions.
Mari and Michinobu embody the traits Oracle values in all its people: competitiveness, determination, resilience, innovation. Working with its customers, partners, and suppliers, Oracle is committed to building the technology solutions that help solve the world’s most pressing problems and make the planet a better place to live.