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2014 Roundup: The Ten Most Innovative Asian Countries

2014 Roundup: The Ten Most Innovative Asian Countries

The fairy-tale story of Asia’s growth continues to dominate headlines. 2014 was a remarkable year for businesses, personalities, and companies who are emerging to become innovation leaders. Let’s take a look at the best of the best in this roundup of top-ten most innovative Asian countries, as evaluated by Bloomberg International and various sources.

South Korea (1st)

South Korea’s rise to the top spot has been nothing short of miraculous, especially when you consider that a mere fifty years ago, the country was poorer than Boliva or Mozambique. The South Korean economy has experienced growth an astounding average of seven percent annually. In 2010, it became the first Asian country to host a G-20 summit. Recent financial reforms including closing down bad banks and forcing the resolution of bankrupt companies, has helped push South Korea to the top spot of innovative Asian countries.

Japan (2nd)

In order to understand Japan’s placement as the second most innovative Asian company, you need to delve deep into its culture. To make innovative leaps, Japanese companies tend to make sure that all eventualities are considered and their consequences weighed accordingly. Japanese companies plan in the long-term while Western based innovation is all about the short-term. Japan’s logistic companies are making great strides in becoming a global leader in guaranteed next-delivery. Strides in demolition have been astounding, resulting in demolition without noise or dust. New and innovative technologies continue to make Japan a dominating force in the Asian market.

Singapore (3rd)

Singapore takes the third spot of the most innovative Asian country. Globally, Singapore maintained its number seventh ranking, below and Denmark in the year’s Global Innovation Index. With its open and dynamic economies as well as a well-trained workforce and outstanding research community, Singapore continues its upward swing as a global innovation leader. Of note is the value that Singapore places on human capital and research.

Taiwan (4th)

This year, Taiwan tops as a leader in securing patents – a sure sign that innovation is increasing. Taiwan became a global leader in the production of semiconductor chips in the 1990s and many of our favorite electronics are designed and produced in Taiwan. Taiwan economic growth has been broad and based on the ability of the country to continuously innovate in the latest high-technology sectors.

China (5th)

China’s government continues its commitment on emphasizing technological innovation, evidenced with its fifth spot on this list. Research and Development spending is now around 42% of the United States level, highlighting China’s commitment to continuing innovation. Chinese companies are often relatively low-cost labor for high-cost capital and machinery. With this trend likely to continue, it’s possible that China will overtake the United States in high-tech output in the near future.

Hong Kong SAR (6th)

Hong Kong ranked as the twenty-seventh most innovative Asian city in the world. Despite lingering weakness in its economy, Hong Kong maintains its presence as a top ten innovative country. In large part, the country can thank Huawei, the world’s second largest telecommunications company, who has ties to five universities all located in Hong Kong. Another important factor in nurturing innovation is Hong Kong’s open market and firm legal landscape.

Malaysia (7th)

Malaysia’s prime minister has been vocal in encouraging the nation to participate in innovation and it was mentioned several times in his recent budget state. The government is also paying attention to science and technology education, specifically STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). All good signs that Malaysia will continue to be a dominant force in the Asia as an innovative leader.         

Rounding out the last three spots is: Thailand (8th), Indonesia (9th), and the Philippines (10th). For emerging economies, a challenge continues to be the need to reduce corruption and improve efficiency. A sound and stable infrastructure along with a focus on education, will be needed for these countries to progress up the ladder, of global innovative leaders.