Singapore has been ousted from its top position in a global digital competitiveness ranking, taking second place after losing the throne to the USA which inched up from third position last year.
Nordic countries Sweden and Denmark claimed third and fourth place on the list, followed by Switzerland which completed the top five. The remaining countries that rounded up the top 10 list were Norway, Finland, Canada, the Netherlands and the UK.
According to the 2018 edition of the World Digital Competitiveness Ranking put together by Swiss business school IMD’s World Competitiveness Center, out of the 63 economies that took part in the study, the majority (29) of countries experienced an improvement in their level of digital competitiveness.
While eight economies have stagnated in their overall digital competitiveness performance, 26 countries have shown a decline with some of them from the Asia-Pacific region.
The ranking provides a look into the extent to which a country adopts and explore digital technologies leading to transformation in government practices, business models and society in general.
It involved an evaluation of countries according to 50 selected indicators that were divided into three broad factors – knowledge, technology and future readiness.
Although Singapore managed to top the list globally in the knowledge and technology factors, its future readiness nosedived from sixth position in 2017 to 15th in 2018.
The plunge cost the nation its coveted top position which the USA claimed after seeing improvements in knowledge and technology – fourth and third place respectively – while remaining second 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 advancements in all its sub-factors, including connectivity infrastructure.”
Singapore’s achievements in high level of training and education as well as conducive environment for digitalisation were observed.
However, it seemed to be held back by its society’s less than impressive attitudes towards the adoption of technologies and lack of agility in businesses to leverage digital transformation, of which the country was ranked 20th and 18th in the world respectively.
Nonetheless, despite the slight fall from grace, Singapore was the only Asian country in the global top 10 as previous contender Hong Kong dropped from seventh to 11th position.
Korea and Japan advanced five places to secure 14th and 22nd respectively thanks to progress in the knowledge and future readiness components.
Several other Asian countries did not fare as well in the rankings. Malaysia fell from 24th to 27th while the Philippines saw one of its largest drops from 46th to 56th, mainly due to waning performance in technology (51st to 58th) and future readiness (43rd to 52nd).
Indonesia found itself the lowest ranking country in the region after sliding by three ranks to 62nd on the list.
In the Pacific, Australia climbed up two places to 13th position while New Zealand experienced a marked drop from 14th to 19th.
Singapore was able to hold its ground in a separate IMD World Competitiveness Ranking released in May 2018, remaining in third position out of 63 economies. The USA came out on top after a recovery from fourth place in 2017 while Hong Kong secured second place.