New Competitive Global Elite Emerges in IMD Business School’s Latest World Competitiveness Ranking

Career Climbers / 2nd June 2017

The world’s most competitive countries continue to jostle for the top positions in the 2017 IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook, as the USA is pushed out of the top three.

Hong Kong has consolidated its dominance of the annual rankings compiled by the IMD World Competitiveness Center, taking the top spot for the second year. Switzerland and Singapore came in second and third, with the USA ranking fourth, its lowest position in five years and down from third last year. The Netherlands completed the top five, jumping up from eighth last year.

The IMD World Competitiveness Center, a research center at IMD business school in Switzerland, has published the rankings every year since 1989. It compiles them using 260 indicators. This year 63 countries are ranked with Cyprus and Saudi Arabia making their first appearance.

Professor Arturo Bris, Director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, said the indicators that stood out among the most improved countries are related to government and business efficiency as well as productivity.

“These countries have maintained a business-friendly environment that encourages openness and productivity,” he said. “If you look at China, its improvement of seven places to 18th can be traced to its dedication to international trade. This continues to drive the economy and the improvement in government and business efficiency.”

The bottom of the table, meanwhile, is largely occupied by countries experiencing political and economic upheaval.

Introducing the Digital Competitiveness Ranking

For the first time this year, the IMD World Competitiveness Center is publishing a separate report ranking countries’ digital competitiveness. The new Digital Competitiveness Ranking aims to measure countries’ ability to adopt and explore digital technologies leading to transformation in government practices, business models and society in general.

At the top of the ranking is Singapore, followed by Sweden, the USA, Finland and Denmark. “There is no doubt that supportive and inclusive government institutions help technological innovation,” said Bris.

Singapore and Sweden have developed regulation that takes advantage of the talent they have by adopting, for instance, regulation that facilitates the inflow of overseas talent which complements the locally available pool. The US invests more in developing its scientific concentration and generating ideas but the country has a history of government support for technological innovation. This shows that in digitally competitive countries, the government must facilitate the adoption of new technologies.”

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