Hong Kong dropped four notches to No. 11 in the world digital competitiveness ranking compiled by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD).
The IMD study, which covers 63 countries, assesses the extent to which a country adopts and explores digital technologies leading to transformation in government practices, business models and society in general.
Meanwhile, Singapore lost its top position in the overall ranking to the United States, which climbed from No. 3 last year.
In the three major categories, Hong Kong did relatively well in knowledge and technology, ranking fifth and sixth respectively. But for future readiness, Hong Kong ranked 24th, down seven notches from last year.
In subcategories like graduates in sciences, scientific and technical employment, educational assessment (PISA), and high-tech patent grants, Hong Kong was ranked second in the world.
But in business agility and IT integration, Hong Kong only ranked 26th and 25th respectively.
It ranked No. 48 in net flow of international students, No. 43 in total R&D expenditure, No. 41 in telecommunications investment, and No. 48 in innovation firms.
Total public expenditure on education is where Hong Kong did worst, ranking 56th.
In the last fiscal year, spending on education is estimated to be around HK$88 billion, about 3.3 percent of our GDP.
Twenty-nine countries in the study had shown improvement in their digital competitiveness ranking, 26 countries had shown a decline, while eight remained unchanged, IMD said.
“These changes are not geographically focused,” the institute said. “Improvements and declines occur across continents.”
The United States gained the top position in the overall ranking, dislodging Singapore, which slipped to No. 2.
“The USA capitalizes on its improvements in knowledge and in technology,” said Professor Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center. “It remains stable in future readiness”.
Despite Singapore’s high level of training and education, and an environment conducive to digitalization, the society and the business sector are slow to adopt technologies and digital transformation, the study said.
It also found an “adaptive imbalance” phenomenon in several countries that have high levels of training and education but are reluctant to embrace digitalization.
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