Economy slips seven spots in global technology report
Updated: 2013-04-11 11:01
By Caroline Berg in New York (China Daily)
From left: Benat Bilbao-Osario and Bruno Lanvin, co-editors of the Global Information Technology Report 2013, and Christopher Vollmer of Booz & Company, a sponsor of the report, answer questions at a news conference on Wednesday in New York. Caroline Berg / China Daily
China slipped seven slots from last year to rank 58th out of 144 economies in an index that measures the capacity of an economy to use information and communications technologies for growth and the well-being of its citizens, according to a World Economic Forum report.
Nordic economies and a few Asian "tigers" dominated the top spots in the 12th annual Global Information Technology Report, which was released Wednesday. The study is done by the Forum in partnership with INSEAD, one of the world's largest graduate business schools, with campuses in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
The report considers 10 areas in ranking an economy on what it calls its "Networked Readiness Index", including political and regulatory environment; business and innovation environment; infrastructure and digital content; affordability; skills; individual usage; business usage; government usage; economic impacts and social impacts.
"I think China has dropped not so much because the circumstances became worse, but because other countries have been catching up faster," said Benat Bilbao-Osario, a co-editor of the report.
The economies of three geographically small nations ranked in the top NRI spots: Finland, followed by Singapore and Sweden. The United States ranked 9th. Asian economies that ranked in the top 15 include Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong.
The economies of each of the so-called BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) continue to lag behind in the rankings, according to the report, which said unless the right investments are made in ICT, skills and innovation, sustained economic growth in some of the countries may be jeopardized.
"To a large extent, China's stagnation reflects its large geography," Bilbao-Osario said. "You have southeast China, which is actually really well connected and developed, but then you have large portions of the population of inland China where the situation is not so rosy."
Another concern is the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem where China is still scoring quite low, Bilbao-Osario said. "This ranking can be a sort of wakeup call for the country in order to think where its growth is going to come from."
He singled out Lenovo and Huawei as companies in China that are excelling in innovation and introducing new products.
"I know that China is starting to implement ICT more," Bilbao-Osario said. "However, in order to be able to remain competitive and keep growing, China will have to focus on differentiating its supply of goods and services, which implies having higher rates of innovation."
In addressing China's environmental issues, he said ICT may be better integrated with other technologies to boost a better environment.
The report also considers 54 variables to measure NRI and uses a combination of data from publicly available sources and data from a survey of more than 15,000 executives.
In addition to Bilbao-Osario , the report's editors included Soumitra Dutta, the dean of Cornell University's Graduate School of Management, and Bruno Lanvin, executive director at INSEAD's E-Lab.