SINGAPORE: Singapore is the country most prepared for the digital age because it has the necessary infrastructure and supporting conditions in place, a new global study has revealed.

According to the Digital Evolution Index, a joint study by MasterCard Global Insights and the Fletcher School at Tufts University, Singapore has the highest Index score out 50 countries assessed on four key drivers – supply, demand, institutions and innovation.

Taken together, these drivers cover each nation's digital infrastructure, consumer digital engagement, institutional support and the extent of innovation in ecommerce.

Hong Kong ranks third on the Index, but notably Malaysia (#23), China (#29) and Thailand (#35) are named as the top three fastest moving digital economies.

All three countries are described as "break out" developing countries experiencing rapid digital gains and likely to emerge as strong digital economies if their evolution rates continue.

"Asia is a hotbed of digital adoption," said Raj Dhamodharan, group head of emerging payments, Asia-Pacific, Mastercard.

"We're seeing developed markets in the region claiming the top spots in the Index, and emerging markets showing immense potential with their rapid pace of digital adoption," he added.

In addition to the "break out" countries, the report identifies three other categories that it describes as "trajectory zones".

"Stall out" countries represent the mature markets of Western and Northern Europe, Australia and Japan where the report says innovation and seeking markets overseas will be critical to continued growth.

"Stand out" countries – such as Singapore, Hong Kong and the US – have and continue to maintain high levels of digital transactions, but they will have to maintain fast-track innovation to remain at this high level.

Finally, "watch out" countries with large populations like Indonesia, Russia and Nigeria present significant opportunities for investment despite their difficulties.

All countries ranked in the report's global top ten are either "stand out" or "stall out" and, joining Singapore and Hong Kong, they include Sweden (#2), the UK (#4), Switzerland (#5), the US (#6), Finland (#7), Canada (#8), South Korea (#9) and the Netherlands (#10).

Data sourced from MasterCard; additional content by Warc staff