SINGAPORE lost the top spot and dropped to second place in a digital competitiveness ranking of 63 economies, pipped by the US in a move up from third place last year.
In the ranking by Swiss business school IMD, Singapore topped the knowledge and technology categories, but came in only 15th for future-readiness.
Despite its digital-friendly environment and high levels of training and education, Singapore society’s attitude towards the adoption of technologies and the agility of businesses here to transform digitally scored relatively low, coming in at 20th and 18th place respectively, said the report.
The US, on the other hand, made gains in its knowledge and technology rankings, moving up to 4th and 3rd place respectively. It also held steady at 2nd place for future readiness.
Professor Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, said: “Gains in knowledge result from a strong performance in employee training and an increase in the share of scientific and technical employment while the furthering of the technology factor capitalises on slight advancement in all its sub-factors, including connectivity infrastructure”.
Sweden came in third overall, down one notch from 2nd place previously. It came in 7th in knowledge, 5th in technology and 5th in future readiness. The rather low performance in some of the knowledge components may be at the core of Sweden’s decline in the ranking as it ranked 20th place in higher education achievement and 23rd place in the percentage of graduates in sciences.
Denmark and Switzerland rounded off the top five, while Norway, Finland, Canada, the Netherlands and the UK completed the top 10.
Singapore remained the only Asian country to crack the top ten, with closest rival Hong Kong falling to 11th place from 7th last year.
Korea went up five places to reach 14th spot, while Japan did likewise to reach 22nd place. Both countries made significant gains in the knowledge and future readiness factors.
This year, 29 countries in the study saw an improvement in their level of digital competitiveness. About 40 per cent, or 26 countries, showed a decline while only eight economies remained in the same position.
The IMD World Competitiveness Center is a research group at IMD business school in Switzerland with 30-years of research expertise in the field of country competitiveness.