Singapore tops in innovation and competitiveness

Singapore is the world leader in terms of innovation and competitiveness while South Korea ranks fifth and Japan ninth, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Other countries in the top 10 of the study by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) were Sweden (2), Luxembourg (3), Denmark (4), the United States (6), Finland (7), Britain (8) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) region of Canada, Mexico and the United States (10).

Other Asia-Pacific region countries in the top 40 included Australia (19), China (33) and India (40). The 15 Western European countries in the European Union, the EU-15, ranked 18th.

The study by the ITIF, a non-partisan think-tank based in Washington, used 16 indicators in six key areas to come up with the rankings: human capital, innovation capacity, entrepreneurship, information technology infrastructure, economic policy factors and economic performance.

Measured differently, in terms of progress on the 16 indicators over the last decade, China topped the rankings, and the United States finished 40th, the ITIF said.

Singapore was second followed by Lithuania, Estonia, Denmark, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Russia, Cyprus and Japan. India ranked 14th, South Korea 17th and Australia 32nd. The EU-15 region ranked 28th in terms of change since 1999.

“This study is based on the importance of benchmarking global competitiveness and innovation on a variety of factors, not simply policy factors or economic performance,” said ITIF president Rob Atkinson.

“In today’s global economy, it’s important to look at the competitiveness of the United States, Europe, Asia and the rest of the world based on a variety of factors – not just one.”

“We found that the United States performs well when compared to the rest of the world, leading Europe, but is not the runaway leader that some recent studies have found it to be,” Atkinson said.

The ITIF said that “if the EU-15 region as a whole continues to improve at this faster rate than the United States, it would surpass the United States in innovation-based competitiveness by 2020.”

“All of the 39 other countries and regions studied have made faster progress towards the new knowledge-based innovation economy in recent years than the United States,” it said.

The ITIF outlined “key policies that need to be pursued to turn around the decline in US innovation-based competitiveness.”

They included incentives for companies to innovate at home, being open to high-skill immigration, fostering a digital economy, supporting the kinds of institutions that are critical to innovation and ensuring that regulations and other related government policies support, not retard, innovation.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 26 Feb 2009

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