Taiwan was ranked 7th in the 2012 global competitiveness rankings by the Switzerland-based International Institute for Management and Development (IMD), falling one notch from 2011 due mainly to the country’s lackluster economic performance, according to the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2012 released yesterday by the Lausanne-based business school.
The position was Taiwan’s second-best performance since it first appeared in the IMD rankings 18 years ago.
Hong Kong again ranked at the top, with the US at No. 2, followed by Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden, Canada and Taiwan. Norway, Germany and Qatar rounded out the top 10.
Ranked seventh in the world, Taiwan came in at No. 3 in Asia, next only to Hong Kong and Singapore. By comparison, South Korea’s spot remained unchanged at No. 22, Japan declined one notch to 27th, and mainland China fell to 23rd from 19th.
Among major economies with a population of over 20 million, Taiwan has surged ahead of Australia, behind only the US and Canada.
Of the four major indicators, the Taiwan government’s efficiency ranked 5th among the 59 economies listed by the yearbook, up sharply from 10th place in 2011. The advancement was mainly the result of significant improvements in public finance and business legislation, with the former advancing to 16th place from 20th last year and the latter jumping to 18th from 28th.
In terms of economic performance, Taiwan saw its ranking fall to 13th place in 2012 from No. 8 in 2011, due mainly to the lackluster performances of the domestic economy, foreign trade, international investment and employment. The country’s domestic economy ranking plunged to 18th in 2012 from 5th a year ago, and the foreign trade ranking also dropped sharply to 15th from 5th.
Taiwan also lagged behind other Asian countries in some economic performance subcategories; foreign investment in the stock market totalled only $63.4 billion in 2011, ranking 45th among the 59 economies surveyed, far behind the corresponding figures of $578.8 billion for mainland China (9th), and $127 billion for South Korea (31st).
As for business efficiency, Taiwan’s ranking fell one notch to 4th place due to weak performances in the labour market, productivity, and attitudes and values. But management practices surged two spots to No. 1.
Better performances in health and the environment, education, and scientific development pushed Taiwan to 12th from 16th in 2011 in terms of infrastructure.
In addition, the yearbook warned the country faces such challenges in 2012 as cultivating first-class talent and strengthening innovative R&D, ensuring comfortable living standards and maintaining a sustainable environment, further promoting normalisation of cross-strait economic and trade relations, strengthening corporate governance, and continuing financial and fiscal reforms.