NZ rising in knowledge economy rankings - IDC

Contrary to recent reports, New Zealand is moving closer to becoming a 'knowledge economy', says IDC.

Contrary to recent reports, New Zealand is moving closer to becoming a "knowledge economy", says IDC.

Reports from large consultancy firms Deloitte and Accenture have given a generally negative view of New Zealand’s ranking in preparedness for e-business and status as a knowledge economy. But an analysis published this week by IT industry monitor IDC claims to show this country is moving up the knowledge economy league table. However, the author warns this movement may be only short-term.

New Zealand has climbed from 18th in world rankings in 1999 to 16th this year among a sample of 55 nations, according to IDC’s Information Society Index (ISI).

"These are all countries with an IT industry worthy of notice," says IDC’s Auckland-based consulting manager, Michael Cranna.

The ISI is built from a number of societal and technological factors, from “press freedom” and educational standards to the number of PCs per head of population and the number of telephone lines per household.

“It can no longer be said New Zealand is consistently falling behind,” says Cranna. “While we have some way to go before we return to the halcyon days of 1996 when New Zealand was ranked inside the top 10, this is only the second year since 1996 when we have moved back up the table.”

Significant leads on world averages are evident in PC ownership and telephone lines, according to IDC’s figures, but we fall down markedly in telephone line error rates and are slightly below average in current e-commerce spending. However, the latter figure is improving with time.

While New Zealand’s PC ownership ranking is still high, it has actually slipped since 1999, says IDC. “While the PC market had a strong year in 2000, the size of the workforce also increased, and the net effect was a decrease in PCs per head,” Cranna says.

However, the prospect is dimmer looking into the future. “Our ISI forecasts to 2004 show New Zealand to be peaking this year and then slipping one place every year to be down to 20th in four years, with rapid expansion in Singapore, Taiwan and Korea the main cause.

“If we can’t match those countries, next year will be a different story.”

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