With new methodology the Forum's 2018 report assess the competitiveness of countries using factors including human capital, agility, resilience, openness and innovation becoming increasingly important. The new ranking factors are reoriented towards future technology-driven growth which pushed Switzerland into 4th place, Singapore into 2nd and Germany 3rd out of 140 countries and marked on a 0-100 scale.
Hong Kong is the third economy from East Asia at 7th demonstrating East Asia is more than ready to compete on the cutting edge for the foreseeable future. Australia (14th) and Korea (15th) round up the top 20. The strength of the East Asian region is being put down to world-class physical and digital infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, strong capital and well developed financial systems.
The report emphasised that all economies can do better in some areas. Singapore is described as one of the most 'future-friendly' economies yet is in need of a higher skilled workforce, while Cambodia has made some of the biggest gains but is still just 89th. There is always room for improvement, so not exactly a bold statement.
Emerging Markets Recap
The emerging markets are described as "vulnerable to a sudden shock", such as a fast rise in interest rates and escalating trade tensions; Mongolia lie in 99th, Cambodia 110th, Lao PDR 112th.
With the exception of Malaysia and Thailand, these economies have made major strides in improving governance, including in tackling corruption. All of them except Thailand have also made significant progress in terms of transport infrastructure, which has traditionally been a major constraint to growth for these economies. A similar generalized upward trend is seen in health and basic education. In the past decade, the situation has greatly improved in this area—except in Indonesia, which achieves some of the worst health outcomes outside sub-Saharan Africa.