Hong Kong maintained its hold on the top of the rankings as the world most competitive economy once again, the annual rankings compiled by the IMD World Competitiveness Center in Switzerland shows.
Switzerland and Singapore came in second and third, while the United States ranked fourth, its lowest position in five years and down from third last year.
The Netherlands completed the top five, jumping up from eighth last year. Singapore, Sweden and the United States were the top three. China leaped seven places from last year to 18th in world competitiveness. This was attributed to its dedication to international trade. In digital competitiveness, Hong Kong jumped four places from last year to 7th.
Switzerland ranked first in Infrastructure, second in Government Efficiency, fifth in Business Efficiency and 15th in Economic Performance.
Singapore, which ranked third, jumps up from its fourth place birth in 2016, while the United States — which ranked first in Economic Performance and second in Infrastructure — dropped one position overall to take fourth place, due to a 14th place showing in Business Efficiency and a 27th place rank in Government Efficiency. The Netherlands rounds out the top five, having climbed a few spots from eighth place last year.
The IMD World Competitiveness Center, a research group at IMD business school, has been publishing the annual rankings since 1989 using 260 indicators, about two-thirds of which come from “hard” data such as national employment and trade statistics; and a third from more than 6,250 responses to an executive opinion survey that measures the business perception of issues such as corruption, environmental concerns and quality of life, said IMD in a press release.
“Those high-ranking countries overall have maintained a business-friendly environment that encourages openness and productivity,” said Prof. Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center. “If you look at China, its improvement of seven places to 18th can be traced to its dedication to international trade. This continues to drive the economy and the improvement in government and business efficiency.”
This year 63 countries are ranked with Cyprus and Saudi Arabia making their first appearance.
For the first time this year, the IMD World Competitiveness Center is publishing a separate report ranking countries' digital competitiveness. The new Digital Competitiveness Ranking aims to measure countries' ability to adopt and explore digital technologies leading to transformation in government practices, business models and society in general.
At the top of the ranking is Singapore, followed by Sweden, the USA, Finland and Denmark. "There is no doubt that supportive and inclusive government institutions help technological innovation," said Bris.
"Singapore and Sweden have developed regulation that takes advantage of the talent they have by adopting, for instance, regulation that facilitates the inflow of overseas talent which complements the locally available pool. The US invests more in developing its scientific concentration and generating ideas but the country has a history of government support for technological innovation. This shows that in digitally competitive countries, the government must facilitate the adoption of new technologies", as the statement reported.
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