Mercer ranks Phnom Penh last among ASEAN cities for personal safety

21 March 2019 Consultancy.asia

Cambodian capital Phnom Penh has been deemed the worst city in East and Southeast Asia for personal safety according to Mercer’s latest quality of living index.

Now in its 21st edition, the annual Quality of Living index compiled by human capital consultancy Mercer assesses a comprehensive range of factors in over 450 cities worldwide to arrive at its overall rankings – with Singapore the perennial top performer in Asia and the upper ranks largely dominated by cities in the DACH region: Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

This year, however, Mercer has also provided a separate ranking specifically for personal safety. Overall, Luxembourg was considered the safest city in the world, while Phnom Penh was assessed as the worst of all East and Southeast Asian cities, finishing one spot below Yangon in 199th place worldwide. Singapore, again, was the highest placing city in the region, at 30th.

The poor personal safety ranking places Phnom Penh only marginally above the notoriously crime-ridden Port-au-Prince in Haiti – but while the US State Department has previously listed the crime status of Phnom Penh as critical, primarily due to bag-snatches and pick-pocketing – the Mercer assessments takes in a broader range of factors, including internal stability, law enforcement, personal freedom and freedom of the press.

“The security of the individual is informed by a wide range of factors and is constantly in flux, as the circumstances and conditions in cities and countries change year over year. These factors are crucial for multinationals to consider when sending employees abroad because they consider any concerns around the expat’s own safety and can have a significant impact on the cost of international compensation programmes,” said Mercer principal Slagin Parakatil.Mercer ranks Phnom Penh last among ASEAN cities for personal safetyDespite the concerns for personal safety, the expat population of Phnom Penh continues to boom – with unreliable government estimates of around 160,000 foreign workers in the country in total – and in the 2017 Expat Insider survey report conducted by expat platform InterNations, respondents rated Cambodia as 12th for personal happiness. Still, Phnom Penh ranked in lowly 196th on the overall quality of living index.

To compile the index, Mercer’s research considers 39 living dimensions in areas such as the political and social situation, economic landscape, public services, housing, consumer goods, education, healthcare, and natural environment – before weighting the scores according to expatriate priorities. Singapore, which has a population comprised of 40-plus percent expats, was as assessed as having the 25th highest quality of living worldwide.

Outside of Singapore, cities in Southeast Asian fared poorly on the index compared to their East Asian cousins, with Japan having five cities in the top 65 and Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen of mainland China all outranking Bangkok (133), Manila (137), Jakarta (142) and Ho Chi Minh City – perhaps due in part to chronic congestion. The second best performing Southeast Asian city after Singapore was Kuala Lumpur in 85th.

As to personal safety ratings – described as the cornerstone of stability in any city, which businesses and talent require to thrive – the majority of Southeast Asian capitals were clustered toward the bottom of the list, including Jakarta, Vientiane, Manila and Bangkok all between 165th and 170th. Hanoi, however, was just outside the top 100, which was rounded out by Kuala Lumpur.

With many multinationals said to be reviewing their manufacturing and supply chains in the wake of the ongoing Chinese-US trade tensions, the in-depth Mercer survey can serve as an invaluable guide. “Companies looking to expand overseas have a host of considerations when identifying where best to locate staff and new offices,” said Ilya Bonic, President of Mercer’s Career practice. “The key is relevant, reliable data and standardised measurement, which are essential for employers to make critical decisions.”

South Korea the global 5G leader on Arthur D. Little maturity index

29 March 2019 Consultancy.asia

South Korea has been identified as the clear global leader in the deployment of 5G in an analysis conducted by management consultancy Arthur D. Little.

“5G will soon become widely available – and first movers have a significant lead.” So begins Arthur D. Little’s Global 5G Leadership Index report, with South Korea not just identified as a first mover, but a clear runaway leader – ahead of other strong performers the US, Australia and Qatar. From a regional perspective, the Asia Pacific was also considered the most advanced.

Benchmarking more than 40 countries across the globe, the analysis considered the maturity of each country’s 5G deployment against two dimensions – the development of infrastructure and levels of commercialisation – with South Korea leading in both, its 5G spectrum already allocated and its large mobile operators having since rolled out their networks across considerable areas.

South Korea was in a group of only eight 5G ‘leaders’ worldwide, joined by Switzerland, Finland, Spain and the UAE together with the US, Australia and Qatar, while Japan and Singapore lead the ‘followers’ group – with both countries assessed as very advanced in terms of technology adoption, 5G trials and infrastructure availability, but hampered by their lack of 5G spectrum allocation.South Korea the global 5G leader on Arthur D. Little maturity index“All leading countries have in common that they have already allocated 5G spectrum,” state the authors of the report. “These countries have enabled operators to roll out 5G networks quickly, many commercially, in 2018, and to trial use cases successfully. Markets with high-performance backhaul infrastructure rate higher, as this capability allows them to roll out 5G faster.”

“Additionally, the leading markets demonstrate high willingness to adopt new services supported by high 4G usage and fiber take-up, as well as several competitors to foster fast 5G roll-out. Overall, they do not face any major limitations, be these in terms of infrastructure, regulation, market demand for 5G applications, economic strength, or competitive dynamics.”

Elsewhere in Asia, China and Hong Kong were also among the ‘followers’ – respectively scoring a 6.4 and 6.1 rating on the index (compared to 8.8 out of 10 for South Korea), while the Philippines was assessed as a ‘5G laggard’, ranking last overall of the 43 countries analysed with a rating of just 3.4. Other table dwellers included Greece, Cyprus, Croatia and Bulgaria.

“5G is the first mobile network generation which promises the data throughput, latency, and flexibility to enable the next level of digitisation across consumer types,” said Karim Taga, Arthur D. Little’s global Telecommunications, Information Technology, Media & Electronics (TIME) practice leader. “Future business competitiveness will rely on 5G networks, making their fast deployment essential.”

5G skeptics

Meanwhile, the global leader of Accenture’s network practice, George Nazi, has been moved to respond to the lingering skepticism from the business community toward 5G network technology – with a survey of 1,800 executives finding that more than half thought it would be of little advantage over 4G. “The reality is that 5G will bring a major wave of connectivity that opens new dimensions for innovation and commercial and economic development,” Nazi said.

Nazi pointed to breakthroughs in three-dimensional video, smart-city infrastructure, autonomous cars and immersive television as examples which will unleash transformative opportunities that are still difficult to imagine today, noting that if companies fail to plan for 5G now they could well miss out on such opportunities. "Telecommunications companies will play a pivotal role in bringing these prospects to light."