Companies across Asia-Pacific (APAC) are quickly ramping up investments in generative AI (GenAI) and entering a higher stage of maturity, according to new research from the Infosys Knowledge Institute (IKI), the research arm of Infosys.

While APAC companies currently lag behind their North American counterparts in GenAI spending, the research forecasts a bigger increase than in any other region – 140 percent in the next year.

This translates to an estimated $3.4 billion to be invested across Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, India, and Singapore.

Infosys’s Generative AI Radar APAC report includes insights from interviews with business leaders and AI practitioners and a survey of 1,000 respondents from Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, India, and Singapore.

According to the report, ANZ GenAI spending growth is among the highest in the APAC region and globally.

It is also noted that enterprises across APAC are investing heavily in GenAI.

China leads the region, with investment expected to grow by more than 160 percent to $2.1 billion, with Australia and New Zealand growth close behind.

ANZ investment is expected to grow by more than 150 percent, from $60 million to $151 million in 2024.

Meanwhile, the report showed Australian companies are more likely to deliver business value from GenAI investments than European and North American counterparts

While Australia lags Europe and North America in current investment (as a proportion of gross domestic product), the money it does spend, it spends more effectively.

The report showed biggest obstacles to APAC adoption are caution around responsible AI, concerns about impact on reputation, and employee readiness.

Responsible AI (data privacy, data usability, ethics and bias) is also a concern for APAC countries, though ANZ is less concerned about data usability.

According to the report, APAC is more cautious about GenAI’s business impact than North America and Europe; almost 10 percent expect a negative impact on reputation versus less than 5 percent for North America and Europe.

ANZ has the lowest level of employee readiness for generative AI, at 56 percent, compared to nearly 70 percent in other companies in the region.

Firms in Australia and New Zealand are mostly looking to upskill their existing workforce to fill that gap.

Meanwhile, APAC companies are more likely than other regions to see product development and content generation areas of greater impact.

More companies in APAC (30 percent) than North America (20 percent) and Europe (25 percent) expect GenAI to be effective for streamlining product development and design – China drives this view, with nearly 35 percent emphasizing this area for maximum GenAI impact.

APAC companies are also more likely to believe GenAI will transform content generation and creativity.

Twenty-two percent of APAC firms held this sentiment, led by 30 percent Japanese companies holding this view, said the report.

“Generative AI is clearly a transformative technology. Although company leaders across APAC have been more cautious than companies in the rest of the world, they are set to outpace firms in other regions,

“Additionally, they are already delivering more value from their spending on generative AI. To continue to make the most of this technology and to become AI-first organizations, they should focus on talent development and making AI more accessible through a platform ecosystem,” said Andrew Groth, Executive Vice President, Asia Pacific, Infosys.

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