Asia-Pacific remains a global powerhouse. According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2019 by the World Economic Forum the region is the most competitive in the world. At the top of the list is fast-growing Singapore, who has outdone the United States. Hong Kong comes in third.

The annual report assesses the drivers of productivity and long-term economic growth through 103 indicators, using a scale from 0 to 100. Each indicator shows how close an economy is to the “ideal state of competitiveness”.

This year, the U.S. lost its top position to Singapore. The Southeast Asian city-state scores 84.8 out of 100 and is thus the country closest to the ideal state of competitiveness. The U.S. has dropped to 83.7 from the previous year’s 85.6 index value. Coming in at the third position is Hong Kong which climbed from 82.3 to 83.1.

Singapore first in infrastructure, health and labour market

Singapore leads the list due to its modern infrastructures, such as well-developed roads, ports, and airports. The city-state comes also first in health and labour market. Furthermore, the Global Competitiveness Report also showed that the country has a stable financial system that seems to attract investors globally. However, it scores 124th on the Freedom of Press Index. The report points out that Singapore should encourage entrepreneurship to ensure a long-lasting reign at the top.

Asia-Pacific ranking - 2019 Global Competitiveness Report. (Source: World Economic Forum)
Asia-Pacific ranking – 2019 Global Competitiveness Report. (Source: World Economic Forum)

Hong Kong climbed four places to third globally and second in Asia. All this is mainly due to improvements in its financial system where it tops the rankings. In health and macro-economic stability, Hong Kong has near-perfect scores of 100.

Coming in third in Asia-Pacific was Japan, which had dropped to 6th position. Asia’s top five was wound up by Taiwan and South Korea, who had increased in performance. Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia recorded a drop in their global performance with each country coming in at 6th, 7th, and 8th, in the Asian ranking respectively.

China managed a 9th place in Asia’s index and was position 28th globally. Though stable, China is likely to experience a drop in the future if the pro-democracy protests are to continue. Lastly, Thailand came in 10th, having dropped to the 40th position globally.

Outside the top 10, both Brunei and Vietnam increased their performance whereas, Asian giants such as Indonesia, the Philippines, and India registered a drop in their global performance. India recorded the worst decline among the top 15 Asian countries globally, dropping from the 58th position to the 68th position. India’s drop to the 68th position is mostly attributed to the insufficient trade openness within the country. Also, India paid less attention to workers’ rights.