World Economic Forum

Hong Kong slips two spots in global competitiveness index, while Singapore still leads Asia-Pacific

Drop shows city’s difficulties in moving from being a global financial centre towards growing an innovation-led economy

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 September, 2016, 1:50pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 September, 2016, 11:07pm

Hong Kong saw its competitiveness slide two notches to No. 9 in the world, trailing Singapore as it struggled to migrate from its position as a global financial centre to becoming an innovation-led economy, according to the World Economic Forum.

The annual Global Competitiveness Index highlighted challenges for the city to “evolve itself from one of the world’s foremost financial hubs to an innovative powerhouse”, as innovation continued to be one of the weakest aspects in its assessment of Hong Kong. The business community also consistently cited the capacity to innovate as its “biggest concern”, the organisation said.

In response to the report, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Chan Ka-keung reiterated on Tuesday that the city was “still a very competitive place” to conduct business, though global microeconomic headwinds might affect it from time to time.

Golden era for science: links to mainland China and rest of world give Hong Kong the edge in innovation

Meanwhile, Singapore once again claimed the crown as the most competitive economy in the Asia-Pacific region, and ranked second on the global index for the sixth consecutive year – surpassed only by Switzerland. Mainland China retained its 28th position, and Taiwan went up one notch from last year to take the 14th place.

Despite a drop in ranking, the World Economic Forum said that Hong Kong’s performance had been “strong and consistent”, with the city ranking in the top 10 for the fifth consecutive year.

It was helped by its strong infrastructure pillar, in which Hong Kong topped for the seventh time. The report also endorsed the city’s highly sophisticated financial sector, efficient domestic market, and flexible labour market.