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Asia-Pacific is the most competitive region in the world, with Singapore and Hong Kong securing the first and third place respectively in the World Economic Forum’s recent ranking on the most competitive economies globally.
With a score of 84.8 out of 100, Singapore surpasses other nations due to its excellent public sector, labour force, diversity and infrastructure. In particular on life expectancy, Singapore is ranked number one. Newborn children are expected to live until the age of 74.
To become a global innovation hub, the report recommends Singapore to “promote entrepreneurship and further improve its skills base”.
The United States, which held top spot last year, dropped to second — despite a reassurance from the authors that it “remains an innovation powerhouse”. The US ranked first for business dynamism and recruiting skilled employees, but scored relatively poorly in these categories: Trade tariffs, life expectancy (66 years old) and digital skills.
Hong Kong, regardless of the recent massive disruption triggered by the anti-extradition bill protest, moves up four places and outperforms most other nations to third place overall with a score of 83.1. The city ranks first on four pillars: Macroeconomic stability (100/100), health (100/100), financial system (91.4/100) and product market (81.6/100), and third on the infrastructure (94/100) and information and communications technology (ICT) adoption (89.4) pillars.
The report states, “Hong Kong’s biggest weakness is undoubtedly its limited capability to innovate. With a score of 63.4 (26th), it lags behind Singapore (13th) by 12 points. Another differentiating factor between the two economies is the labour market. Here (75.8, 7th) Hong Kong is penalised for its lack of worker rights’ protection (10, 116th), whereas Singapore’s workers protection score is 89 (18th).”
Here is the top 10:
Other highlights of the survey include:
- Other G20 economies in the top 10 include the US (2nd), Japan (6th), Germany (7th) and the United Kingdom (9th) while Argentina (83rd, down two places) is the lowest ranked among G20 countries
- Nordic countries are among the world’s most technologically advanced, innovative and dynamic, while also providing better living conditions and social protection
- Denmark, Uruguay and Zimbabwe have increased their shares of renewable sources of energy significantly more than other countries at their respective levels of competitiveness
- The world’s largest economies also have room for improvement on technology governance. Only four G20 economies made it into the top 20: the US (1st), Germany (9th), Saudi Arabia (11th) and the United Kingdom (15th). China ranks 24th in this category.
Competitiveness is defined as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country.
The index maps the competitiveness landscape of 141 economies through 103 indicators organised into 12 themes. Each indicator, using a scale from 0 to 100, shows how close an economy is to the ideal state or “frontier” of competitiveness. The pillars, which cover broad socio-economic elements are: Institutions, infrastructure, ICT adoption, macroeconomic stability, health, skills, product market, labour market, the financial system, market size, business dynamism and innovation capability.