The ever-evolving competition for technological dominance and supremacy continues to escalate. In a year filled with remarkable advancements in the realms of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and green technology, Global Finance has unveiled its latest set of scores and rankings for national technological strength, based on a unique fusion of evaluative metrics.
South Korea remains a global leader in technological advancement, taking the top slot as the most technologically advanced country in the world. The nation’s consumer electronics giants invest heavily in research and development, while its citizens possess advanced technological skills and an innovative culture. East Asia is well-represented in the top 20, with Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore among the frontrunners.
Developed Asian and European nations continue to dominate the rankings, with all but one of the top 17 countries belonging to either region. Taiwan, in particular, has jumped up a few spots to #3 due to increased investment in research and development. Meanwhile, Germany, renowned for its engineering expertise, is now actively applying its know-how to the field of green energy. The Nordic nations—Belgium, Switzerland, and Japan—are among the world’s leaders in technological innovation, despite having fewer natural resources than their more economically powerful counterparts.
Israel, with its robust startup ecosystem, has also gained significantly in the rankings. Despite being a relatively small nation, Israel invests heavily in research and development, and Israeli companies are making rapid advancements in life sciences, military technology, and other sectors. The UAE, a standout in the Middle East, is ranked at #18.
On the other hand, Japan has slipped significantly in the rankings due to a decrease in its population’s internet usage and a notable reliance on analog technology in the public sector. Its digital competitiveness has also declined due to a lack of business technological agility and diminishing international experience in technology.
Despite their deep scientific knowledge and significant technological expertise, China and India have struggled to make significant progress in this year’s ranking. China and India are the world’s most populous developing countries and were expected to show strong growth in technological advancement. However, both have fallen in the rankings, with China coming in at #41 and India at #65. China’s internet population is significantly lower than its economic peers, such as Russia, Mexico, and Argentina, or the group of most technologically advanced countries.
Additionally, while China invests heavily in research and development for critical technologies, it lacks the ability to utilize its population for greater technological advancement. The Chinese government has also restricted the private technology sector, limiting its reach and size.
The issue of national technological advancement has become increasingly significant in today’s globalized world. Countries are constantly vying for supremacy in the field of technology, which has become a major determinant of a country’s overall economic competitiveness.
India, for example, has invested only a small percentage of its GDP in research and development, a shortcoming that the establishment of the National Research Foundation may not be able to rectify. Similarly, Brazil, Indonesia, and Russia continue to struggle in this area, with the latter country facing the potential loss of its technological professionals due to the ongoing war with Ukraine.
To rank countries in terms of their technological prowess, four metrics are used. The first two measure the technological breadth and adoption of a country: the percentage of internet and LTE users in the population. This reflects the availability of internet use for a wider population and counters the overemphasis on measuring only high-tech industries and institutions.
The third metric is the Digital Competitiveness Score, which considers various factors such as technological knowledge, current technological strength, and readiness to create and advance new innovations. This score is compiled by the IMD World Competitiveness Center and provides an assessment of a country’s current technological environment and its potential for future success.
Finally, the percentage of GDP spent on research and development represents the government’s investment in future technological development as well as its commitment to competing for future advancement.
When these metrics are combined, countries are ranked according to their technological capabilities and the degree to which their populations have mastered these technologies. Notably, there have been significant changes in the rankings over the past year. The differences between the top and bottom countries are now more pronounced in the digital competitiveness score and research and development investment, reflecting increasing breadth in these areas.
In contrast, the differences in LTE penetration and internet users as a percentage of the population have decreased, since once a country expands its internet and LTE base to almost 100%, there is little room for further improvement. Nevertheless, developing countries still have the potential to gain ground in these areas by expanding their internet access.
Overall, the ability to innovate and adapt to new technologies is crucial in determining a country’s competitiveness in today’s world. As such, these rankings provide important insights into how different countries are faring in this regard and what steps they may need to take to stay ahead of the curve.