THE PHILIPPINES edged up just a notch on IMD business school’s annual world digital competitiveness index after last year’s 10-place drop, but it remained third to the last among Asia-Pacific economies covered.

The Philippines placed 55th overall out of 63 economies, but stayed 12th out of 14 in Asia and the Pacific, ahead again of Indonesia and Mongolia in the region.

Each economy is ranked in indicators grouped under the pillars of knowledge, where the Philippines placed 51st from 50th last year; technology, 55th from 58th; and future readiness, 54th from 52nd.

The Philippines performed its best in high-tech exports, where it placed in the top one percent; number of female researchers, seventh; high-tech patent grants, 12th; number of graduates in sciences, 13th; investment in telecommunications, 15th; and e-participation, 19th.

“The Philippines’ performance was driven by progresses in technology adoption by citizens, talent and capital availability for firms (i.e. improvements in the Talent, Capital and Adaptative attitudes subfactors),” IMD Senior Economist José Caballero said in an e-mail.

Mr. Caballero attributed the country’s smaller gains in comparison to other Asian countries to weaknesses in Philippine research and development expenditure, regulatory frameworks and technological frameworks.

The Philippines performed its worst in terms of starting a business, communication technology and Internet bandwidth speed in which it placed 62nd in each indicator; enforcing contracts (61st), Internet retailing (59th), as well as smartphone possession and Internet users in which the country placed 58th.

The top 10 on the global list consisted of the United States, which also topped last year; Singapore, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland which stayed in second to fifth places, respectively; the Netherlands which placed sixth (from ninth); Finland which stayed in seventh place; Hong Kong with leapt to eighth from 11th; Norway which fell to ninth from sixth and South Korea in 10th place from 14th. — Jenina P. Ibañez

2019 IMD world digital competitiveness ranking