South Korea returned to first place in the latest Bloomberg Innovation Index. The Bloomberg Innovation Index is a list of the 60 most innovative countries in the world. Through analyzing dozens of criteria using seven equally weighted metrics, the Bloomberg index determines the ranking. Some of the criteria include research and development spending, manufacturing value-added, and concentration of high-tech public companies. Other categories include productivity, tertiary efficiency, researcher concentration, and patent activity.
“In the year of Covid and facing the urgency of climate change, the importance of innovation fundamentals only increases,” said Catherine Mann, Citigroup Inc.’s global chief economist. “Innovation is often measured by new ideas, new products, and new services,” she added. This year, the ranking reflects a country’s innovation, mainly in the government’s measures to address the ongoing pandemic. The Bloomberg index also considers the digital infrastructures that aid in developing solutions and vaccines.
While South Korea ranked first place, European countries mostly occupied the top spots in the index. Last year, Germany topped the list but they dropped to fourth place this year. As Singapore and Switzerland ranked second and third, the U.S. fell out from the top 10. Although some of the index data came from before the pandemic, most countries with high ranking delivered COVID-19 innovations. Countries including South Korea, Germany, and Israel have been proficient in offering technologies such as vaccination and contact tracing.
South Korea as a Leading Innovative Country
Since Bloomberg released their annual innovation index in 2013, South Korea has topped the list seven times. On a scale of 100, Korea earned 90.49 points, becoming the only economy on the list to score over 90. According to Bloomberg, Korea’s place at the first spot is because of its growth in patent activity and R&D accomplishments. “R&D is essential to have a future,” said Lee Kyung-mook, a Seoul National University professor of business management.
“South Korea has been an Asian technology giant and world leader in technology,” said Michelle Jamrisko, a Bloomberg senior Asia economy reporter. “Where they really stand out is in cutting-edge technology, especially in terms of semiconductors, and they have a strong high-tech density.”
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