Singapore remained the only Asian territory in the top 10 of a major ranking of innovation worldwide, with Hong Kong just missing out in eleventh place.
South Korea was the next highest ranking Asian country in the Global Innovation Index 2015, an annual survey by Cornell University, Insead business school and the World Intellectual Property Organisation. Singapore took seventh place, while Japan also placed well, at 19.
“Innovation holds far-reaching promise for spurring economic growth in countries at all stages of development. However, realising this promise is not automatic,” said WIPO director general Francis Gurry.
“Each nation must find the right mix of policies to mobilise the innate innovative and creative potential in their economies.”
Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Sweden topped the rankings, followed by the Netherlands and the United States.
The GII surveys 141 economies around the world, using 79 indicators to gauge both innovative capabilities and measurable results.
While still lagging behind more developed economies, both China (29th) and Malaysia (32nd) made significant gains compared to last year.
China scored particularly well in terms of innovation quality, as measured by university performance, the reach of scholarly articles and the international dimension of patent applications.
“Innovation quality matters. Creating world class universities and investing in research is essential for staying ahead in the global race for successful innovation,” the co-authors of the study said in a statement.
The study found that a “well-coordinated innovation policy plan with clear targets and a matching institutional set-up have proven to be a tool for success.”
While the Hong Kong government has invested significantly in promoting high-tech and internet start-ups, speakers at the recent South China Morning Post Game Changers Forum were critical of outdated regulations in the city that risked holding back innovation.
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