SINGAPORE (May 24): Singapore has made it to the top five most competitive economies in the world, according to the 30th IMD World Competitive Rankings.

Aided by strong government efficiency, the republic retained its ranking as third most competitive economy in the world and also kept its top spot among Southeast Asian economies.

The US improved three positions from last year and took the first spot, driven by its strength in economic performance and infrastructure.

Hong Kong was the top last year, but dropped to second this year, as it takes a somewhat different approach exploiting its government efficiency and business efficiency.

Other high performing economies advanced even further this year. Notably, Austria at 18th place and China at 13th, considerably improved their positions by seven and five places respectively.

Professor Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, says, “Economic growth, reduction of government debt and increased business productivity enable Austria to move up. In the case of China, investment in physical and intangible infrastructure as well as improvement on some institutional aspects such as the legal and regulatory framework boost its performance.”

In Asia, the Philippines saw the most significant decline in the region. Dropping nine spots to 50th, due to a decline in tourism and employment, the worsening of public finances and a surge in concerns about the education system.

Bris notes that “this year’s results reinforce a crucial trait of the competitiveness landscape. Countries undertake different paths towards competitiveness transformation.”

“Countries at the top of the rankings share an above the average performance across all competitiveness factors, but their competitiveness mix varies. One economy, for example, may build its competitiveness strategy around a particular aspect such as its tangible and intangible infrastructure; another may approach competitiveness through their governmental efficiency,” adds Bris.