Taiwan declines in IMD world competitiveness rankings

Taiwan slipped three notches this year to 14th in the global competitiveness rankings, which were released Monday by the International Institute for Management (IMD).

Taiwan ranked 14th out of 61 economies covered by the IMD World Competitiveness Center, its lowest ranking since 2010, but it remained the third most competitive economy in Asia, behind Hong Kong (1st overall) and Singapore (4th).

Countries are ranked based on an analysis of over 340 criteria grouped in four main categories: economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.

Responses from an in-depth survey of more than 5,400 business executives, who are asked to assess the situation in their own countries, are also taken into consideration.

Taiwan maintained its 9th-place ranking in the government efficiency category, but slipped in the other three categories, falling to 15th from 11th in economic performance, to 16th from 14th in business efficiency, and to 19th from 18th in infrastructure.

Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, said Taiwan's fundamentals were little changed from the previous year but its overall ranking was dragged down by a "significant decline in GDP growth."

The challenge for Taiwan, like many other Asian economies, Bris said, is where it goes next.

"Taiwan needs to find its own strategy. Taiwan still needs to rely on its big neighbor (China), and this is unfortunately what is happening all over the world.

"But Taiwan needs to find a sector, activity, a driver of growth that will make it competitive vis-a-vis mainland China," Bris said, suggesting such possibilities as tourism, IT infrastructure, and construction services.

Taiwan needs to find strengths that will "allow its people to compete with mainland China without giving up the uniqueness of the Taiwanese economy," he said, but felt that with its rich talent pool and free market and democratic environment, Taiwan "can compete with China on many fronts."

Bris said the big headline of this year's competitive report was that most Asian economies, with few exceptions, fell in the rankings, which he believed is because "they need to find what is the next step."

In response to the report, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said it will promote five innovative industries touted by Taiwan's new government and also diversify export markets and carry out a "New Southbound Policy."

Kao Shien-quey (???), deputy chief of Taiwan's National Development Council, said Taiwan's economic performance was lackluster due to the sluggish world economy.

Source: China Post