China's first global competitiveness report has put Hong Kong in 21st place, far lower than its position in similar research by Western agencies, which generally place the SAR among the top three. The report was compiled by a top mainland think-tank - the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) - and put the United States in first position, Japan second and Britain eighth. The result is in sharp contrast to this year's global competitiveness rankings released by the World Economic Forum in which Hong Kong was placed second after Singapore. China's rankings examined more than a dozen factors including foreign trade, foreign investment, economic efficiency, finance and infrastructure - similar to the methodology used by the forum. The report noted the sharp difference between its conclusions and those of the forum but offered no explanation for the divergent results. It also noted China's ranking was similar in both reports - 35th in the CASS report and 36th in the forum Report. Officials at CASS and the institution were not available for comment yesterday. While Hong Kong lagged in the overall ranking, it scored well on the segment that examined internationalisation, which assessed foreign trade, foreign investment, finance and economic efficiency. Hong Kong was placed first in terms of trade, which included seven measurements such as the ratio of its trade turnover as a proportion of the world's and the ratio of finished goods in its exports. Singapore came second in this category. Hong Kong was placed second after Japan on economic efficiency, which included inflation, the ratio of savings as part of gross domestic product and GDP value for each kilogram of energy consumed. The report was originally published in China Information News .