The Grey Chronicles


Asian Competitiveness Index 2008-2009: ASEAN

The Global Competitiveness Report 2008–2009In the World Economic Forum’s The Global Competitiveness Report [GCR] 2008-2009 (2008), the competitive performances of Asian economies continue to encompass the entire gamut, from highly competitive countries to the most challenged. Singapore and Hong Kong (11th) continued their ascent in the rankings while Japan, Korea (13th), and Taiwan (17th) dipped in their positions.

Seven Asian countries are among the top 30, led by Singapore and followed by Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia (21st), and this year China enters the top 30, displacing Thailand (34th). Other members of the next tier include new entrant Brunei (39th) as well as India (50th), Indonesia (55th), Vietnam (70th), the Philippines (71st), and Sri Lanka (77th). Pakistan (101st) declined in the rankings to join those countries ranked 100 and below, which include Mongolia (100th), Bangladesh (111th), Cambodia (109th), Nepal (126th), and Timor-Leste (129th).

Asia Competitiveness Index 2008-2009

Asia Competitiveness Index 2008-2009

Above shows the respective scores of ASEAN members compared to the top ranked, United States, and Chad in 134th place. The competitiveness of the five founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN] signers of the 1967 Bangkok Declaration, is lead by Singapore, followed by Malaysia (21st), Thailand (34th), Indonesia (55th) and the Philippines (71st). The remaining members which joined ASEAN after 1967, Brunei Darussalam (39th), Vietnam (70th) and Cambodia (109th). Unfortunately, Laos (Lao PDR) and Myanmar (Burma) are not included in WEF’s GCR 2008-2009.

Asia Competitiveness Index, Malaysia and Thailand Asia Competitiveness Index, Indonesia and Philippines

Of the five original ASEAN members, Malaysia and Thailand are considered by WEF as efficiency-driven economies, while Indonesia and the Philippines as factor-driven economies. Singapore is an innovation-driven economy. Thus, to make an equitable comparison, similar economies were grouped together.

The ASEAN5 Competitiveness Index 2008-2009

The ASEAN5 Competitiveness Index 2008-2009

From the above table, it is obvious that population is not the answer. Take note of Singapore’s 4.4 million vis-a-vis Indonesia’s 228.1 compared to the Philippines’s 85.9 million. Neither a small population becomes a hindrance, as in Singapore’s case, nor bigger population, as in Indonesia’s case, a competitive advantage.

The set of factors for each pillar speaks for themselves. While Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand are scoring mostly 5’s or greater, Indonesia and the Philippines are scoring 3’s and 4’s, except for two factors respectively. Indonesia scores 5.3 Health and Primary Education and 5.1 in Market Size. Similarly, the Philippines scores 5.2 for both pillars: and Health and Primary Education.


Porter, Michael E. & Klaus Schwab, (2008). The Global Competitiveness Report 2008-2009, Geneva: World Economic Forum, October 2008. pp. 190-191, 230-231, 276-277, 296-297, 322-323. back to text

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    Comment by sothyroth — 2009.August.2 @ 09:26 | Reply

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    Comment by Harry Seenthing — 2009.July.4 @ 17:26 | Reply

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