Singapore is the world's second most digitally competitive country, after the US

SINGAPORE - Singapore has retained its position as the world's second most digitally competitive country, after the United States, in the latest edition of the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking.

Published by Swiss business school IMD, the ranking, which is in its third year, measures the capacity of 63 economies to adopt and explore digital technologies as a key driver for economic transformation in business, government and wider society.

The results are derived from three factors: knowledge, which measures the capacity to understand and learn new technologies; technology, which evaluates the competence of an economy to develop new digital innovations; and future readiness, which assesses the preparedness of an economy for coming developments.

The Republic fared particularly well in the technology and knowledge categories, placing first and third respectively, but came in only 11th for future readiness. Despite the country's digital-friendly environment and high levels of training and education, society's attitude towards adopting digital technologies is relatively low.

Professor Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, told The Straits Times: "There seems to be still some margin for improvements in indicators such as online purchases and smartphone possession. Furthermore, the e-participation index, which measures citizens' access to information, public services, and participation in public decision-making, experienced a decline compared to last year."

The US, which maintained its position at the top of the overall chart from last year, performed especially well in the sub-factor of scientific concentration, which highlights the investment and production of knowledge necessary for the digital transformation of an economy. It placed No. 1 in this category, where Singapore was No. 22.

This year, two new variables related to robotics were introduced in the calculation of the ranking. Singapore came in at No. 32 for robots in education and R&D, and placed 15th for world robots distribution. "Robots are - in the industry sector - and will become - in the services sector - increasingly important because of the productivity gains they bring," said Prof Bris.

Besides Singapore, two other Asian economies made it into the Top 10 overall ranking this year: Hong Kong, which moved up from 11th to eighth place, and South Korea, which placed 10th from last year's 14th.

 
 
 
 

They are among several Asian economies which advanced significantly in the latest ranking over last year's. Taiwan moved up from 16th to 13th place, while China moved up from 30th to 22nd place.

Professor Bris said that all of these Asian economies "showed strong progress in their technological infrastructure and the agility of their businesses".

Rounding out the top 10 are Sweden (third), Denmark (fourth), Switzerland (fifth), the Netherlands (sixth), Finland (seventh), and Norway (ninth).

The world digital competitiveness ranking results come after Singapore topped the latest edition of the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking in May, a renowned and long-running survey which ranks the most competitive economies in the world.