Hong Kong drops out of global ICT index top 10 as Singapore comes first

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 April, 2015, 12:13pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 April, 2015, 12:13pm

Hong Kong has dropped out of a global top 10 index measuring an economy’s policies, institutions and environment that allow it to use information and communications technology to promote prosperity, according to a report released yesterday that named Singapore in first place.

The city fell to 14th place, down from 8th in 2014 in the Networked Readiness Index of 143 economies which forms part of the Global Information Technology Report 2015 produced by business school INSEAD in partnership with the World Economic Forum and Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.

“As a general-purpose technology, ICTs have an impact that extends well beyond productivity gains. ICTs act as a vector of social development and transformation by improving access to basic services, enhancing connectivity, and creating employment opportunities,” the report said.

To compile the Network Readiness Index, researchers examined four sub-indexes looking at the regulatory and business environment. Infrastructure, usage and social and economic impact were then compiled to form the index.

The four sub-indexes assessed areas including country’s intellectual property rights protection, how much the business community supports innovation, the cost of broadband internet subscription and the education level and ability to use ICTs.

Hong Kong ranked third for its business innovation environment but was placed 36th for government usage of ICTs, which assesses government leadership and success in implementing strategies to develop ICT as well as the availability of government online services.

“A low-hanging fruit exists in the policymaker toolkit. Governments can accelerate the process through sound regulation and more intense competition,” the report said as a suggestion to all governments.

“By displaying leadership, they can create an enabling environment and orient private operators toward the best solutions for the system’s long-term cost-effectiveness, quality, and sustainability.”

Singapore knocked Finland from the top spot, becoming the only Asian Tiger in the top ten with a consistent ranking across ten categories of the Index and coming first for government usage.

“The government is leading the ICT revolution with a clear digital strategy and one of the world’s best offerings in terms of online services and e-participation tools,” the report said in praise of Singapore.

Hong Kong’s Asian neighbours Japan and Korea ranked 11th and 12th with the report noting they are both highly connected countries as nearly every mobile phone in Japan is a smartphone and 98 percent of Korean households have internet access. Mainland China placed 62nd.