2018 World Competitiveness Rankings: The Performance of Southeast Asian Nations
Marking its 30th edition this year, the IMD World Competitiveness Rankings emphasize a long-term trend highlighted in past editions – that the countries on the top of the list each have a unique approach to becoming competitive.
The top five most competitive economies in the world remain the same as in the previous year, but their order changes.
The United States returns to the first spot, followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The United States improves three positions from last year while Hong Kong drops one spot and Singapore remains 3rd.
The return of the United States to the top is driven by its strength in economic performance (1st) and infrastructure (1st). Hong Kong takes a somewhat different approach exploiting its government efficiency (1st) and business efficiency (1st).
The Netherlands moves one place to 4th, swapping with Switzerland which moves down to 5th. The Netherlands’ advancement shows a “balanced” path to competitiveness, ranking in the top 10 in economic performance, government and business efficiency. Switzerland declines mainly due to a slowdown in exports and, to a lesser extent, an increase in perceptions about threats of relocation of R&D facilities.
The remaining places in the top 10 are occupied largely by Nordic countries: Denmark, Norway and Sweden rank 6th, 8th and 9th respectively. These countries show strong performance in the overall productivity of the private sector and its management practices.
The UAE (7th) and Canada (10th) close the top of the rankings.
Other high performing economies advanced even further this year.
Notably, Austria (18th) and China (13th) considerably improve their positions by seven and five places respectively.
Professor Arturo Bris, Director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, says “economic growth, reduction of government debt and increased business productivity enable Austria to move up. In the case of China, investment in physical and intangible infrastructure, as well as improvement on some institutional aspects such as the legal and regulatory framework, boost its performance.”
Regionally, herewith how the Southeast Asian nations are ranked and performed, according to this index:
Notes: The IMD World Competitiveness Ranking presents the 2018 overall ranking for the 63 economies covered by the WCY. The economies are ranked from the most to the least competitive and the results from the previous year’s ranking (2017) are shown in brackets.
The Scores shown are actually indices (0 to 100) generated for the unique purpose of constructing charts and graphics.