China in top 20 of global competitiveness ranking, Portugal rises and Brazil falls

15 May 2006

Lausanne, Switzerland, 15 May – China became one of the 20 most competitive economies in the world in 2006, while Portugal rose two positions and Brazil fell by one, a Swiss report has shown.

In the report drawn up by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), in Switzerland, China was the country whose position improved most having jumped 12 places, from 31st to 19th, amongst 51 countries and regions from all over the world, ordered by an index which takes into account economic performance, government efficiency, corporate efficiency and infrastructures.

China is ranked higher than Estonia, which travelled six places up the ranking to 20th place, and is followed by Germany’s Bavaria region, which went up two places to 16th, Japan, which fell four places, and Taiwan, which lost seven places, ending up in 18th position.

The Chinese region of Zheijiang was the one to have fallen furthest last year- 13 places to 33rd – while Hong Kong maintained its second place ahead of Singapore and Iceland, which also kept their positions in the ranking, and Denmark, which rose by four positions, to fifth place.

Once again the ranking was led by the United States, which this year saw its leadership under threat, especially from Asian countries and regions.

Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, appeared in 52nd place in the 2006 report, one place below last year’s ranking for the country, its most competitive region being Sao Paulo, which fell five places, to 48th.

Last year Portugal put an end to a downward trend in the ranking and was placed in 43rd position, two places ahead of its ranking in the previous competitiveness report.

Portugal was in 32nd place in 2001, 33rd in 2002, and 39th in 2003, out of 49 participants, and then fell to 45th place when the number of countries looked at increased to 60.

Portugal ranked in 20th place amongst economies with a population of less than 20 million and in the Europe – Middle East – Africa region.

By gross domestic product (GDP) of over US$10,000 per inhabitant, Portugal ranked in 33rd place, ahead of only Slovenia, Italy’s Lombardy region and Italy itself, which ranked in last place.

Portugal ranked 48th in economic performance, a sub-ranking in which China placed third, and 42nd in terms of government efficiency, and in which Hong Kong was the leader followed by Singapore and Denmark. Poland, Brazil and Italy were at the tail-end of this sub-ranking.

Hong Kong also led in terms of corporate efficiency, ahead of Iceland and Denmark in a table in which Portugal took 50th place, the country’s worst performance in all four sub-rankings.

Portugal ranked best in the infrastructure ranking, placing 34th in a table headed by the USA, Japan and Denmark, and whose worst ranking countries were Mexico, South Africa and Indonesia.

The IMD has published the competitiveness ranking since 1989.

The biggest falls in the ranking were Taiwan, South Korea, which fell nine place to 38th overall, New Zealand (six places), France, Thailand and Chile (five places) and Italy (three places). (macauhub)