Ireland named a ‘standout’ country among world’s fastest-moving digital economies

3 Jun 2015

Ireland, Singapore and Israel among 'standout' countries where the digital economy is moving at its fastest

Ireland has been listed alongside Israel and Singapore as a ‘standout’ country by the Harvard Business Review — one of the economies where the digital economy is moving at its fastest.

The Harvard Business Review reported on research carried out by the Fletcher School at Tufts University that defines ‘standout’ countries as those that have shown high levels of digital development in the past and continue to remain on an upward trajectory.

Singapore tops the standout league because of its sophisticated digital infrastructure and has continued to entrench its lead position by investing in infrastructure. Other countries cited as standing out include Switzerland, Hong Kong, South Korea, New Zealand and the UAE.

‘Stall-out’ countries that have shown leadership in the past but are now losing momentum include Norway, France, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

‘Break-out’ countries that have the potential to develop strong digital economies and that are moving fast include Malaysia, Chile, China, South Africa, Mexico, India, Columbia and Vietnam.

‘Watch-out’ countries that lack momentum including Portugal, Poland, Italy, Greece and Hungary.

We may be on a journey toward a digital planet — but we’re all traveling at different speeds

The Fletcher research rated countries on factors including: the rhythms in digital commerce; private equity investment, e-commerce start-ups and innovation, and used a four-pronged index taking into account supply-side factors, demand-side factors, innovations and institutions/regulations.

HBR digital report

The article surmises that the world is still nowhere near becoming a single-function digital economy.

“The next billion consumers to come online will be making their digital decisions on a mobile device – very different from the practices of the first billion that helped build many of the foundations of the current e-commerce industry. There will continue to be strong cross-border influences as the competitive field evolves: even if Europe slows, a European company, such as Rocket Internet, can grow by targeting the fast-growing markets in the emerging world; giants out of the emerging world, such as Alibaba, with their newfound resources and brand, will look for markets elsewhere; old stalwarts, such as Amazon and Google will seek growth in new markets and new product areas.

“Emerging economies will continue to evolve differently, as will their newly-online consumers. Businesses will have to innovate by customising their approaches to this multi-speed planet, and in working around institutional and infrastructural constraints, particularly in markets that are home to the next billion online consumers.

“We may be on a journey toward a digital planet — but we’re all travelling at different speeds.”

City streetscape image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years