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China improves, India slips in network readiness

April 13, 2011

Information and communication technologies which are crucially linked to the growth and development of a nation have a long way to to when it comes to China and India. According to the World Economic Forum’s 10th Global Information Technology Report, China and India, which are currently ranked 36th and 48th, have still a long way to go. China “leapfrogged” 23 positions since 2006; India, however, slipped five places compared to last year, the report revealed. Comparatively, seven Asia-Pacific markets made it the top 20 – Taiwan at No. 6, Korea at No. 10, Hong Kong at No. 12, Australia at No. 17, New Zealand at No. 18 and Japan at No. 19. Each year, the WEF ranks countries on the basis of how they adopt and implement information technology across their economies.

According to the report, China and India will have to continue to invest heavily in broadband and mobile telephony infrastructure in order to provide services to the entire nation. The study currently shows that businesses are relatively quick to adopt new technologies, but use of IT by the general population remains relatively low. But investing in broadband technology should help economic growth. According to the report, every 10 percent increase in broadband penetration can boost annual gross domestic growth by 0.6 percent to 0.7 percent. Having a fiber network improves a country’s image, making it appear quicker to adopt new technologies than competing nations and so more attractive to foreign investors. This, the WEF said, should spur “private operators in emerging markets such as China, India, or the Middle East… to roll out fiber networks of substantial size because of the natural expected expansion and upgrading of housing stock in these markets.”

“ICT, and the Internet in particular, have changed the world dramatically, and all indications point to an even higher rate of transformation of our lives going forward,” said Soumitra Dutta, Roland Berger Professor of Business and Technology at INSEAD and co-editor of the report.

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