SINGAPORE: The 2023 IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking (WDCR), released on Thursday (Nov 30), shows that Singapore has climbed up to take third place, following the United States and the Netherlands in first and second places, respectively.

Singapore, however, ranked first in the technology factor. In the knowledge factor, the country came in third and tenth in terms of future readiness. The technology factor shows how digital technologies can thrive in a nation, as seen by its regulatory framework, capital, and technological framework.

The ranking looks at how countries approach digital transformation, given that artificial intelligence (AI) has entered the scene. “In other words, what it takes for nations to be truly digital – an increasingly important trait at a time when the emergence of this technology is already in the process of transforming society,” the report reads.

Screengrab/worldcompetitiveness.imd.org

Singapore has been among the world’s digital nations for some time now, defined as countries where governments, companies, and individuals embrace digital technologies fully.

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“Digital nations require a mix of infrastructure and regulation (which are intangible), plus digital talent and digital attitudes (also known as ‘readiness’). And we try to measure all of this,” said Professor Arturo Bris, the director of IMD’s World Competitiveness Center.

He expressed the hope that this year’s ranking would shine a light on key factors that can help nations combine prosperity with economic development and digital transformation, as well as the development of AI solutions.

“There is ample evidence across our rankings that national competitiveness results from investment in education and the provision of those skills required by the labor market. When it comes to technology and AI, the need is even greater,” he added.

The report also zeroed in on cybersecurity. The report on the rankings shows that only five per cent of the 4,000 senior executives worldwide who responded to the WDCR survey said that they did not put new cybersecurity measures in place over the past year. This is also an area where countries will need to work together.

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The United States, which had taken first place every year since the ranking was launched in 2017, fell to second place in 2022 but regained pole position this rear with “robust” results across all three broad categories—technology, knowledge, and future readiness.

Denmark, which had taken first place last year, slipped to fourth this year because of a decline in future readiness and technology factors. Switzerland, which ranked first in the knowledge factor, rounds out this year’s top five, keeping the ranking it held last year.

Aside from Singapore, South Korea, ranked sixth, Taiwan, ninth, and Hong Kong, 10th, are the economies in Asia in the top ten of this year’s rankings.

Singapore has far outpaced other South East Asian nations. Here’s how some of Singapore’s closest neighbours ranked: Malaysia (33rd), Thailand (35th), Indonesia (45th), and the Philippines (59th). 

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