Singapore shares top spot with Australia, Sweden in technological readiness ranking: EIU

Openness to innovation, which includes exploring international patents, research and development spending, and research infrastructure, was one of the three key elements of the ranking.
Openness to innovation, which includes exploring international patents, research and development spending, and research infrastructure, was one of the three key elements of the ranking.ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN

SINGAPORE - Singapore is poised to be one of the most technologically ready economies over the next few years, alongside Australia and Sweden, a new study by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has found.

Titled Preparing For Disruption: Technological Readiness Ranking, the new report released on Tuesday (June 5) looked at 82 of the world's largest economies, and focused on how future-oriented these business environments are.

Three key elements of the ranking include: Access to the Internet (which looks at Internet usage and mobile phone subscriptions), the digital economy infrastructure (including e-commerce, e-government and cyber security), as well as openness to innovation (exploring international patents, research and development spending, and research infrastructure).

Another key finding of the study is that government investment will drive a broad-based improvement in countries' tech-readiness in the next five years. Specifically, spending on e-government, cyber security and a robust e-commerce environment will increasingly be seen as a policy priority, the EIU said.

In addition, China has seen strong growth in its patent applications in recent years. Nonetheless, based on EIU's measure of patent grants as a proxy for innovation, the US is still the clear front runner, the intelligence unit said.

The previous ranking from 2013-2017 saw Finland and Sweden securing top spots, while the US and France will join the top 10 countries in this year's ranking, as Libya and Angola retain the lowest positions.

Said country forecast director at the EIU Emily Mansfield: "Technological change is inescapable, and how well prepared governments, businesses and individuals are for disruption is increasingly important. The US will climb sharply in our ranking in the coming years as Internet access improves, and will remain the world leader for innovation clusters and new patents."

Added Ms Mansfield: "Meanwhile the UK's position will decline, reflecting comparatively low R&D spending - a key contributor to productivity growth - and inadequate investment in cyber security."