Malaysia Falls to 33rd Spot in World Digital Competitiveness Ranking, Trails Singapore


Malaysia has slipped two rungs to the 33rd spot in the 2023 edition of a global ranking on digital competitiveness, trailing far behind Singapore which was ranked as the third most digitally competitive economy.

In the International Institute for Management Development’s (IMD) World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2023 which ranked 64 economies this time, the top 10 were the US, the Netherlands, Singapore, Denmark, Switzerland, South Korea, Sweden, Finland, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Following closely behind Malaysia (33rd) was Thailand at the 35th spot, while the other Southeast countries included in the rankings were Indonesia (45th) and the Philippines (59th).

This annual ranking was first carried out in 2017, with Malaysia ranked 24. Malaysia later fell to the 27th ranking in 2018, inched up to 26th (2019) and stayed at the same ranking (2020), before falling to 27th (2021) and further declining to 31st (2022).

The IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking measures the ability of countries to adopt and explore digital technologies that can lead to transformation in government practices, business models, and society in general.

Malaysia’s ranking was based on its ranking on three broad categories of knowledge, technology, and future readiness; where it ranked 29th, 27th, and 33rd respectively for these categories.

These three categories cover factors such as talent, training and education, scientific concentration, regulatory framework, capital, technological framework, adaptive attitudes, business agility, and IT integration.

On the IMD website, notes provided by the Petaling Jaya-based Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) state Malaysia’s challenges in 2023 include embracing a digital-first mindset and enhancing digital technology across various sectors.

Other challenges for Malaysia in 2023 are strengthening talent development through demand-driven labour market model to ensure industry-ready workforce; boosting productivity and competitiveness through regulatory reforms for ease of doing business at national and sub-national levels; and enhancing environmentally sustainable development for a better quality of life.

The World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2023 is separate from the IMD’s World Competitiveness Ranking 2023, where Malaysia this year improved from its 32nd ranking in 2022 to be ranked 27th this year. The global competitiveness ranking, published annually since 1989, ranks countries according to their capacity to create and maintain an environment which sustains the competitiveness of enterprises.

In IMD’s World Talent Ranking 2023, Malaysia maintained its 33rd spot from last year. This global ranking assesses countries’ ability to develop, attract and retain talent to sustain the talent pool that businesses employ to create long-term value.