For the past six years, the Economist Intelligence Unit has rated countries around the world for Web-readiness, and this year Denmark once again retained the number one position among 65 nations.
April 26, 2005 – Overall, the Sixth Annual E-Readiness Rankings Report, sponsored by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, was upbeat, stating: “For perhaps the first time since the technology bubble burst, the global economy is beginning to feel comfortable in a digital skin. Spending on information and communications technology (ICT) is growing again with some buoyancy in developed markets. In emerging markets, expansion of connectivity – individuals’ and organizations’ access to voice and data communications – continues on a rapid ascent. Broadband Internet access, meanwhile, is reaching critical mass in several countries and becoming a catalyst for other improvements in the digital economy.”
Europe dominated the listings. Western European nations took seven of the top ten spots in this year’s rankings, with the Nordic countries occupying four of them. Denmark (in 1st place), Sweden (3rd), Finland (6th) and Norway (9th) remain best in class in key areas of connectivity, such as mobile penetration and Internet use. Denmark and Sweden are also standard-setters in e-government implementation. Broadband development helped Switzerland rise to 4th place, and the Netherlands to keep its 8th spot.
The US showed strong gains to retake the number two position after falling back last year. Not only has the US seen broadband adoption surge, the country remains a global leader in secure Internet server penetration and ICT spending.
With Hong Kong in the lead, the Asia-Pacific region was also well represented. Hong Kong moved up to sixth place to overtake Singapore (11th) as the top Asian performer in the rankings, thanks to innovative development of e-business services, a positive legal and policy environment and advances in mobile services. South Korea (18th) remains the world’s most developed broadband access market, but weaknesses in that country’s e-readiness armor, such as in Internet security, held it down in the rankings.
Emerging markets are making progress, but usually some of the components of a digital economy – infrastructure, security, transparency, innovation and skills – are still missing. Nevertheless, a few of the emerging markets are world-class or near. The best examples are Estonia (26th), Slovenia (27th) and the Czech Republic (29th) with their strong development of e-government services. India (49th) and China (54th) remain on the lower rungs of the e-readiness ladder, but are making growing contributions to the global digital economy on the strength of a strong ICT skills base (India) and a prodigious ICT manufacturing sector (China).
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