Thailand fell four places from the 25th spot in 2019 to 29th in IMD’s world competitiveness rankings for 2020, dragged down by poor rankings for economic performance and government efficiency.
As far as Asean peers are concerned, Singapore kept pole position while Indonesia saw the largest drop (8), from 32nd to 40th.
Malaysia fell five positions to 27th, and the Philippines was the only Asean country that saw improvement, up one position to 45th.
While Hong Kong SAR came in at 5th, this is a far cry from 2nd which it enjoyed last year. A decline that IMD attributes to its economic performance, social turmoil in Hong Kong and the rub-on effect of the Chinese economy. However, the 2020 rankings do not pick up on events in the last couple of months.
Thailand’s challenges in 2020
Urgent measures to support citizens and small businesses affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
Measures to recover key sectors affected by the new norm of social distancing and travel restrictions e.g. tourism and services
Hasten digital transformation, especially in education and healthcare.
Establish a national crisis management system with lessons learned from the current crisis, optimizing technology infrastructure.
Source: Thailand country profile
The top three’s different recipes for success
Factors behind Singapore’s success are its strong economic performance which stems from robust international trade and investment, employment and labor market measures.
Stable performances in both its education system and technological infrastructure – telecommunications, internet bandwidth speed and high-tech exports – also play key roles.
Denmark, in 2nd, can credit a robust economy, labor market, and health and education systems. In addition, the country performs very well in international investment and productivity, and topped Europe in business efficiency.
Switzerland has been gradually edging towards a podium position, from 5th to 4th and now 3rd in 2020. Robust international trade fuels its strong economic performance, whilst its scientific infrastructure and health and education systems show steadfast displays.