Sweden Takes Top Spot in Global IT Index

SINGAPORE (02/15/2000) - Sweden has overtaken the U.S. to become the dominant information economy in the world, according to the 2000 International Data Corp. (IDC)/ World Times Information Society Index (ISI) released yesterday.

The index estimates countries' abilities to absorb information and utilize technology. Rankings are derived from 23 variables in four categories -- computer infrastructure, information infrastructure, Internet infrastructure and social infrastructure.

According to IDC, Sweden's Employee Purchase Scheme, which boosted PC use significantly by enabling companies to sell PCs to their employees at very low prices, was a factor in moving Sweden ahead of the U.S. with an ISI score of 5,062 compared to the U.S. at 5,041.

The U.S. still tops the computer infrastructure segment, but its relative weakness compared to the Nordic nations in social infrastructure cost it the top spot overall, according to Matt Toolan, director of IDC's Global IT Market and Strategies Research. The U.S. is expected to regain top spot next year because of its consistent investments in IT, Toolan said in the report.

Finland, Norway and Denmark filled the three spots in the rankings immediately after the U.S., with Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia and Japan rounding off the top ten, IDC said.

The cumulative score of the 55 countries surveyed rose by 7.2 percent this year, indicating a healthy increase in their ability to absorb information and utilize technology, according to the report.

Growth was above average in central Europe, North America, Japan, and the more developed Asian economies, according to IDC.

Although all societies are making advances, they are doing so at very different rates, and significant gaps are emerging, according to Wilford Welch, director of global research at World Times.

Singapore is Asia's highest-ranked information economy after Japan, in 13th position overall, while Chile is highest ranked in Latin America and 32nd overall. South Africa ranked 38th, the only country from Africa to make the list.

IDC can be contacted at +1-508-872-8200 or online at http://www.idc.com/. The World Times can be found online at http://www.worldpaper.com/.

(International Data Corp. is owned by International Data Group, the parent company of IDG News Service.)Table 1: 2000 IDC/World Times ISI IndexCountry ISI ScoreSweden 5,062U.S. 5,041Finland 4,577Norway 4,481Denmark 4,336Canada 4,336Netherlands 4,230Switzerland 4,174Australia 4,129Japan 4,093Singapore 4,014U.K. 3,807Germany 3,558Hong Kong 3,484Belgium 3,419Austria 3,397New Zealand 3,289Taiwan 3,177Ireland 3,144Israel 3,140Source: IDC, World Times, Feb 1999.

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