Date
17 October 2017
Hong Kong is No. 6 in the latest World Economic Forum report on global competitiveness, three places higher than last year. Photo: Bloomberg
Hong Kong is No. 6 in the latest World Economic Forum report on global competitiveness, three places higher than last year. Photo: Bloomberg

Hong Kong is world’s sixth most competitive economy: WEF

Hong Kong has been ranked the sixth most competitive economy in the latest World Economic Forum report on global competitiveness, three places higher than last year, hk01.com reports.

However, the city dropped to 13th place from 8th in terms of judicial independence.

On government transparency, Hong Kong ranked sixth, its worst in 10 years, Apple Daily reported.

For the overall ranking, Switzerland remained on top for the sixth straight year, with the United States and Singapore in second and third place respectively.

The Netherlands ranked fourth, followed by Germany.  Completing the top 10 were Sweden, seventh; the United Kingdom, eighth; Japan, ninth; and Finland, 10th.

China climbed one rung up to 27th, while Taiwan dropped one notch to 15th.

The report said Hong Kong has the best legal and administrative frameworks, infrastructure efficiency, as well as financial and market efficiency.

However, it still has room for improvement in human resources, technology innovation and commercial maturity.

The report, which covers 137 economies, said after the financial crisis most of the global economies have experienced a slump, but the situation is gradually improving, albeit at a slower pace.

It predicted a 3.5 percent global economic growth this year.

Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, highlighted the key role played by innovation in global competitiveness.

“Global competitiveness will be more and more defined by the innovative capacity of a country,” he said. “Talents will become increasingly more important than capital and therefore the world is moving from the age of capitalism into the age of talentism.

“Countries preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and simultaneously strengthening their political, economic and social systems will be the winners in the competitive race of the future,” he said.

The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce expressed excitement over this year’s WEF report.

Stephen Ng Tin-hoi, the chamber’s chairman, said Hong Kong needs to boost the maturity of its industries and raise the bar for innovation, especially in financial technology and smart city development, to keep ahead.

Legislator Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu from the Civic Party urged that the government to stay prudent despite the city’s good performance and to reflect on why its scores in judicial independence and transparency have dropped so much.

Yeung said the city’s damaged judicial independence will ultimately affect the business environment as each contract should be able to litigate in the area in which it was lawfully signed.

“Without this advantage, how many of those contracts will be left?” asked Yeung. “If we don’t treasure judicial independence, which requires a long time to build, Hong Kong will struggle to stay as a global leader.”

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EL/BN/CG

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