Singapore keeps spot as world's second most digitally competitive country; US is No. 1

The ranking measures the capacity of 63 nations to use digital technologies to drive economic transformation. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Singapore kept 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.

Rounding out the top five are Denmark, Sweden and Hong Kong, according to the Swiss business school Institute for Management Development (IMD).

The ranking, which is in its fourth year, measures the capacity of 63 nations to use digital technologies to drive economic transformation in business, government and wider society.

Three main factors were used to assess a country's digital competitiveness: knowledge, which measures the capacity to understand and build new technologies; technology, which evaluates its ability to develop new digital technologies; and future-readiness, which assesses its preparedness to exploit digital transformation.

This year's survey was carried out from February to May during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This meant that the results were coloured by the pandemic, which has increased the dependence on digital technology.

Professor Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Centre, said: "The post-Covid world will be characterised by a K-shaped recovery, with two types of economies: those that will recover quickly and those that will recover more slowly.

"Recovery is driven by many factors, such as the health of public finances. But also, fundamentally, by the digital competitiveness of those economies."

All the top performing countries were adept at using digital talent efficiently, having effective regulation frameworks and were quick at adopting new technologies.

This year's analysis included a new criterion of "entrepreneurial fear of failure", which measures the percentage of 18- to 64-year-olds who were held back from starting a business by fear of failure.

The US, which maintained its top spot for a third consecutive year, performed well in education, and research and development. It also led the rankings for the third year in e-participation from citizens.

Like in the previous edition, Singapore excelled in the knowledge and technology factors, where it ranked second and first respectively.

It also improved greatly in employee training, where it jumped 12 places to rank 16th.

However, Singapore continues to trail in the rankings for future-readiness - 12th compared with 11th last year - due to lower adaptivity to technological change and a drop in business agility.

Hong Kong and South Korea also made it in the top 10 overall ranking this year, with Hong Kong moving up three spots to fifth, and South Korea rising two spots to finish eighth.

Singapore had, in June, retained its top spot as the world's most competitive economy in the latest edition of the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking, a survey of 63 economies that analyses their ability to generate prosperity.

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