Digitalisation has disrupted traditional industries and markets in every known field. Now it is time for quantum computing in APAC, where the new tech wave sets the norm in the information field. As this new trend  emerges in the region, governments and venture capitals hunt startups ahead of their Western competitors.

This new technology requires a different kind of partnership, involving exclusive talents and labs and universities’ participation. However, governments seek to establish the rules so that quantum technologies will be at their service, mainly in the military, scientific, medical and financial fields.

The following concepts will help understand the quantum innovations in APAC and how they are affecting the regional markets.

What is quantum computing?

It is an area of quantum mechanics that consists of decoding and exploiting data or information. According to International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), quantum computing will deliver an extreme change into the computation industry as a promise to solve complex problems that traditional computers cannot decipher.

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While traditional computers work, store and transmit information in bits—binary states of 0 or 1, quantum computers function upon quantum bits or qubits, occupying both binary forms simultaneously. They will perform on several pieces of information and throughout the information system at all levels and states. This will make computing much more complex and powerful.

Should the industry fear? Yes, if the wrong hands employ this technology. Nevertheless, it will provide a variety of positive possibilities and solutions that will enhance digital markets and tech products.

A functioning quantum computer will:

  • Solve financial risk management
  • Revolutionise machine learning
  • Speed up developmental processes in the medical field
  • Provide extra skills to tech and military talents

Nevertheless, quantum computers are the end of privacy since they can break cryptographic security, leaving bank accounts and Bitcoin wallets at risk. By cracking unbreakable encryptions and exposing personal data, individuals and organisations will be open to exploitation and manipulation.

Norishige Morimoto, vice president of research and development at IBM Japan, thinks the markets and governments underestimate the quantum computing potential.

Quantum computing trends in APAC

Competition between Japan and the USA in the quantum field is fierce. The Japanese government has injected 30 billion Yen, or the equivalent to $267 million USD, to support the research and development of quantum projects, and 100 billion Yen, or $963 million USD, in funding for the Moonshot initiative to address social issues, such as the ageing population and healthcare in Japan. With these programs, they aim to develop a 100 qubit computer within a decade.

China is encouraging universities to expand their quantum research programs. Since 2017, the government has invested billions of dollars in developing such projects to significant benefits to the Chinese population. Meanwhile, the White House has proposed funding quantum initiatives for more than $200 million USD every year, especially for their military. This has kept China on the hunt for more exclusive quantum tech startups.

Alibaba has been investing in this new trend since 2015. In 2018, Huawei developed an inclusive quantum computing program that will be accessible to everyone. The release of the HiQ cloud spurs more research on the quantum field. It promises to bring new advancements to the information industry, while other tech labs work on developing innovative hardware, such as quantum chips.

Singapore is leading the way

The Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) is a Singaporean research centre at the National University of Singapore (NUS) supported by the National Research Foundation. Among the startup labs of the CQT alumni whose quantum programs they support include Atomionics, Entropica Labs and Horizon.

While the spin-offs with licensed technology the Singaporean government and the CQT have been investing in are S-Fifteen Instruments and SpeQtral.

The development of quantum computing in Singapore is skyrocketing. The country has established its place in this industry with emerging scientific programs and the complete willingness of the government and venture capitals to fund them. This is setting a bright future for APAC, especially for the ASEAN region.

The future of quantum computing in APAC

As this new trend grows across the region, emerging startups promise to expand the tech market within the next decade.

More people are being trained in the quantum field since it entails a unique set of skills and intuition. Attracting and keeping talent is essential for developing innovative solutions, while partnerships between research centres and governments are becoming a must.

In the meantime, venture capital firms keep an eye on the area to grab promising startups that promote this technology and become leaders in this new wave.  Though expectations are high, the reality is still challenging.

With Japan and the USA being the strongest hunters, the expansion of quantum computing trends is not halting any time in the future. As this emerging technology explodes across APAC, labs search for more qualified talent while governments and venture capital firms compete in riding the quantum wave.