Taiwan’s global competitive ranking advanced a notch to the 16th place this year on the back of enhanced business efficiency and technology infrastructure, according to an annual survey by the Lausanne, Switzerland-based International Institute for Management Development (IMD).
The improvement came as the Asia-Pacific region emerged as a beacon for competitiveness, with 11 out of 14 economies either advancing or holding their ground, the 2019 IMD World Competitiveness Ranking found.
Singapore overtook the US as the world’s most competitive economy, as the confidence boost from US President Donald Trump’s stimulus measures appears to have faded, while economic uncertainty took its toll on conditions in Europe, it said.
“Competitiveness is vital for the long-term health of an economy as it empowers businesses to achieve sustainable growth, generate jobs and, ultimately, enhance the welfare of citizens,” IMD world competitiveness director Arturo Bris said in the report.
The center grades 63 economies based on their economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.
Taiwan’s overall economic showing lost points due to weaker foreign investment, employment, international trade and a higher cost of living, the survey said.
Exports slowed this year, while an overconcentration on a few export destinations and products persisted, it said.
However, corporate managers expressed confidence in the nation’s economic resilience.
Business efficiency climbed from 20th place to 14th, as companies reported progress in productivity, asset management, operations and working conditions, the report said.
Taiwan’s infrastructure ranking advanced from 22nd place to 19th, due to the building of technology infrastructure as evidenced by its global leadership in cybersecurity, high-tech exports and the use of smartphones.
The nation’s basic infrastructure was flat, weighed by a fast-growing aging population and a low birthrate, the report said.
Government efficiency also held the same spot as last year, as favorable taxation and institutional regime offset a relatively low ranking for the ease of doing business, it said.
Regionally, Taiwan lags behind Singapore (1st), Hong Kong (2nd) and China (14th) in terms of competitiveness ranking, but was ahead of South Korea (28th) and Japan (30th).
Other Asian economies are catching up with the frontrunners.
Indonesia jumped 11 places to 32nd, enjoying the region’s biggest improvement, thanks to increased efficiency in the government sector, as well as improvements in infrastructure and business conditions.
Indonesia is also characterized by the lowest cost for labor across the economies studied, the report said.
Thailand advanced five places to 25th place, driven by an increase in foreign direct investment and productivity, it added.
Japan fell five places to 30th place, hampered by a sluggish economy, government debt and a weakening business environment.
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