The World Economic Forum's Global Information Technology Report ranks nations on how good they are at exploiting global IT developments and takes into account- affordability of Internet access, telephone connection charges, quality of maths and science education, government prioritization and procurement of ICT.The Report uses the Networked Readiness Index (NRI), covering a total of 104 economies in 2004-2005, to measure "the degree of preparation of a nation or community to participate in and benefit from ICT developments".
The NRI is composed of three component indexes which assess:
• the environment for ICT offered by a given country or community
• the readiness of the community's key stakeholders - individuals, business and governments
• and the usage of ICT among these stakeholders
The report places Singapore as the best performer worldwide in a number of categories - quality of maths and science education, affordability of telephone connection charges, and government prioritization and procurement of ICT -- and gets extremely high scores in other areas, such as affordability of Internet access.
The United States drops to number 5 in the ranking, following a three-year reign at the top. However, the loss in rank is less due to actual erosion in performance with respect to its past history and more to continuing improvements by its competitors. The United States maintains global leadership in the business readiness component of the rankings as well as in variables such as the quality of its scientific research institutions and business schools - which have no peer in the world - and the availability of training opportunities for the labour force as well as the existence of a well-developed venture capital market, which has spurred innovation.
Asia and the Pacific do extremely well this year with Singapore at number 1, Hong Kong and Japan entering for the first time in the top ten, at 7 and 8 respectively, and Australia, Taiwan, New Zealand, Korea and Malaysia quite well positioned at 11, 15, 21, 24 and 27 respectively. India and China significantly improve their positions climbing to number 39 and 45, compared to 45 and 51 in 2003, respectively. Japan's top ten performance is noteworthy, given the country's impressive track record in the area of technological innovation, second only to the United States in terms of US patents registered.