IMD competitive market watch: Where do we stand?

Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia have been ranked overall fifth (5), seventh (7), twenty-fifth (25), and thirty-seventh (37) respectively in terms of competitiveness of the country. 

For the year 2021, the IMD report revealed that Singapore was ranked first for economic performance, fifth for government efficiency and ninth for business efficiency and 11th for infrastructure. The report further revealed the various challenges in relation to competitiveness each market faced during the year 2021.

Singapore faced challenges such as needing to help businesses transform and capture growth opportunities.

This came amidst shifts in the global economic landscape, and it also had to spur job creation, and equip workers with the capabilities to secure jobs in growth sectors. In addition to that, Singapore also had to preserve core capabilities of firms in sectors severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong came in 30th for economic performance. Surprisingly, despite the protests last year and the year before, the survey said it came in tops taking home the first place in for government efficiency. It came in third for business efficiency and 16th for infrastructure.

Hong Kong saw challenges such as the need to revive the economy as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, and the need to navigate through an international environment marked by resurgence of unilateralism and protectionism, and increasing macroeconomic vulnerability.

Hong Kong also had to tap growth opportunities arising from the mainland’s new development strategy of “dual circulation”.

It also had to foster innovation and technology development as key driver for long-term economic growth and needed to address development constraints of inadequate land supply and an ageing population.

Meanwhile,  Malaysia took home the 15th spot for economic performance, 30th for government efficiency, 24th for business efficiency and 32nd  for infrastructure.

 Malaysia faced challenges such as minimising the impact of COVID-19 on economic, social and environment through agile policies and regulations. Upskilling and reskilling were also identified as crucial areas for the nation to keep up with new and emerging job challenges and nurture a future-ready workforce. It also saw inculcating digital-first mindset and increasing the adoption of digital technology across the public sector as a challenge coupled with needing to increase productivity through measures enabling business environment.

Creating an ecosystem conducive to attracting investment was also a challenge Malaysia saw. 

Meanwhile,  Indonesia took home the 35th spot for economic performance, 26th for government efficiency, 25th for business efficiency and 57th  for infrastructure.

The challenges Indonesia saw were deeper inequality driven by pandemic shocks to business climate - particularly faced by SMEs sector.

It also saw an unclear implementation of the omnibus law in order to invigorate competitiveness, asynchronous government regulations that impede business attractiveness, and pseudo current account surplus reflecting domestic industrial indolence. The study added that indecisive policy in health and educational sectors also jeopardise the future sources of competitiveness.

The World Competitiveness Ranking is based on 334 competitiveness criteria selected as a result of research using economic literature, international, national and regional sources and feedback from the business community, government agencies.

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