The UK has snuck into fifth place in a Business Software Alliance (BSA) global study.
According to the BSA's Global IT Competitiveness Study, the UK’s IT industry is continuing to outperform other large European economies including Germany, France, Italy and Spain; contributing £102bn to the UK economy.
Top of the table was the US, followed closely by Finland, Singapore and Sweden.
The Index has been updated four times since 2007 and benchmarks 66 countries on a series of indicators including IT innovation, overall business environment, IT infrastructure, human capital, R&D, legal environment and public support for industry development.
The UK came sixth overall when the report was last published in 2009, and performed well in other areas this year, falling one place in the global rankings to eighth when it came to the business environment. The UK’s R&D environment ranking has moved up one place to 11th, due to improvements in IT-related patent activity in the years covered by the Index.
IP protection and enforcement are strengths of the UK legal environment and continue to remain strong, the study claimed. Past years’ top performers are still clinging on to the top spots in 2011, but competition is becoming tougher as new challengers, especially in developing economies, raise their games to meet the standards set by the leaders.
India and China currently lie in the middle of the table, but both countries are edging towards the top spot. According to the report, Europe continues to "look attractive" in terms of IT infrastructure and the legal environment, but it is failing to keep pace with other regions when it comes to human capital, suggesting rigid labour market regulations and a poor climate for investment in next-generation broadband could slow IT sector development in the future.
Robert Holleyman, chief executive of the BSA, said: “It is abundantly clear from this year’s Index that investing in the fundamentals of technology innovation will pay huge dividends over the long term.
“It is also clear that no country holds a monopoly in IT. There is a proven formula for success, and everyone is free to take advantage of it. Because of that, we are moving to a world with many centres of IT power. In the years ahead, policy and business decision makers in the UK have an opportunity to build on that momentum. We know from global experience it will be worth the effort.”
Two of the biggest movers compared with 2009 were Malaysia, which leapt 11 places, and India, which jumped 10 places. Other strong performers included Singapore, Mexico, Austria, Germany and Poland.
Holleyman added: “As the global economy starts to recover, it is more important than ever for governments to take a long-term view of IT industry development. Policy and business decision makers cannot just look at this issue on an annual basis, or they risk being left behind. They must assess the next seven to nine years, and invest accordingly, in order to make substantive gains in IT competitiveness.”
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