World’s top innovative nations

January 16, 2009

1. United States

The United States still rules the world when it comes to innovation. This is no surprise, as the US with a legacy of over 100 years in innovation, has been consistent in taking the leader’s slot. The US knows it must continue to innovate to stay ahead. It tops in three areas: human capacity, business markets and competitiveness. The five input pillars that are included in the GII are: Institutions and Policies, Human Capacity, General and ICT Infrastructure, Markets Sophistication and Business Sophistication. The input pillars define aspects of the conducive environment required to stimulate innovation within an economy. There are three output pillars which provide evidence of the results of innovation within the economy: Knowledge Creation, Competitiveness and Wealth Creation. The US scored high on both input (ranked 2nd) and output (ranked 1st) pillars.

2. Germany

Germany follows in second position, maintaining its position from last year. Germany scores relatively low on the input pillars (10th) and very high on the output pillars (2nd), leading to an overall second rank. It is important to note that that eight out of the top 10 countries in the list are from Europe. As global competition intensifies and innovation becomes more important, the business sector has been internationalizing knowledge-intensive corporate functions, including research and development, the study points out.

3. Sweden

Sweden rises to 3rd rank in 2008 year from 12th position in 2007. It’s important to provide a safety net to innovators, says the study. There must be a conducive environment for innovative companies. A ‘succeed or perish’ environment often kills innovative ideas in the nascent stages as people will be too intimidated to take creative risks that could fail.

4. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom fell from 3rd to 4th position in 2008. The study reflects that innovation is correlated with income levels in a country. For example, the innovation levels in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries are much more than non-OECD countries. The high income countries do significantly better by topping innovation rankings. The average innovation index falls with the income levels of the country.

5. Singapore

Singapore rose to 5th rank in 2008 from 7th. Singapore is also 2nd from the Asian region. Innovation is not just about generating new ideas, says the study. It is about translating these ideas into value-added products and services. This requires flexibility of attitude and a willingness to adapt and welcome unprecedented levels of change on the part of all stakeholders involved, says the study.

6. South Korea

South Korea made a giant leap by grabbing the 6th rank, up from 19th position in 2007. Over the last two decades, the Republic of Korea has undergone a great change, with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and innovation becoming the power engine for its high economic growth. After facing a big financial crisis in 1997, Korea emerged into a powerhouse of knowledge through the consolidation of knowledge industries with the ICT industry itself contributing to more than 30 per cent of its total exports, the study states.

7. Switzerland

One of the world most beautiful places has also made it to the top innovative nations’ list. Switzerland is ranked 7th in the global innovative index. Innovation is the key driver of any economy. It works best when like-minded individuals come together in small collectives, irrespective of political and cultural differences and work on projects that yield value for all parties involved.

8. Denmark

While Denmark features among the top nations with an overall score of 5.73 along the different input pillars, it ranks relatively low at position 21st along the output pillars. This pulls the overall GII rank of Denmark down to 8th and raises questions as to why despite creating a highly conducive environment for innovation, it is not able to capitalize on it. The remarkable leadership and phenomenal development of the three Nordic countries of Finland, Denmark and Sweden have consistently done well in the development of institutions and policies that nurture innovation. Denmark tops the ICT and infrastructure pillar. Denmark also comes at top position in the 2008 Networked Readiness Rankings of the World Economic Forum.

9. Japan

The world’s industrial powerhouse Japan moved down to 9th position in 2008. It was ranked fourth in 2007. Ranked relatively lower along the input pillars (16th), Japan comes in at an impressive 3rd position along the output pillars. Clearly, Germany and Japan are able to leverage their less favorable innovation environments into more effective innovation results. The Japanese society is currently undergoing deep structural changes. Japan enjoys a competitive edge in business sophistication, innovation and R&D (research and development) spending. But its macroeconomic weaknesses have led to one of the highest debt levels in the world. People are also questioning the values of the political, economic and social institutions, and alternatives are being explored. This includes the fields of education, research and innovation as well. The government and the private sector give high priority to R&D spending.

10. Netherlands

The Netherlands with a prosperous economy is ranked 10th in the list. It is also the 16th largest economy in the world. A country’s readiness is linked to its ability to garner the best from leading-edge technologies, expanded human capacities, better organizational and operational capabilities and improved institutional performance, according to the study.


Nations with highest per capita income

July 25, 2008

Liechtenstein

Strange, as it might seem, the World Bank ranks nations, sometimes without giving their actual per capita income. No explanation is given by the World Bank, other than a footnote that says: �2007 data not available; ranking is approximate.’ However, information gleaned from other sources bears out the World Bank ranking. So the nation with the highest per capita income in the world is Liechtenstein, a small country bordering Switzerland and Austria. Liechtenstein’s per capita income is about $80,000 per annum. The principality has an industrialized economy, with banking and financial services being the mainstay. Tourism too is a major revenue earner for the nation. The personal income tax rates in Liechtenstein too are exceedingly low: basic income tax rate is 1.2 per cent on income up to 200,000 Swiss Francs, and maximum is 5 per cent on income over 2 million Swiss Francs a year.

Bermuda

Bermuda is tourist’s delight, located in the North Atlantic Ocean. Bermuda’s per capita income is almost 50 per cent more than that of the United States. The tiny island nation’s per capita income stands at just above $78,000. It has the second highest PCI in the world. Bermuda is a major financial centre and is particularly attractive because of its low taxation rates. Financial services are the nation’s largest industry, followed by tourism.

Norway

Norway’s per capita income stands at $76,450, which is the third highest in the world. Norway has a mixed economy consisting of state-owned businesses and a robust free market. It’s a high developed and industrialized state. Fishing, petroleum, hydel power, minerals contribute heavily to the nation’s GDP.

Luxembourg

Luxembourg’s per capita income is at $75,880. That makes it the world’s fourth highest PCI. Luxembourg is located in Europe and is bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. The nation has highly developed industrial and financial sectors.

Qatar

The per capita income of Qataris is $60,000, the fifth highest in the world. Qatar is an Arab emirate located in the Persian Gulf. The nation’s economy mainly depends on its huge oil and natural gas reserves. There is no income tax in Qatar.

Switzerland

The Swiss enjoy a financially comfortable life, with a per capita income of $59,880. Switzerland ranks sixth in the World Bank’s per capita income rankings. Switzerland, a truly capitalist economy, has many giant banks and multinational corporations. It also has highly developed industries in sectors like pharmaceuticals, chemicals, machine parts, electronics, precision instruments, banking, tourism, etc. Dairy farming too is an age old industry in Switzerland. It has very low tax rates.

Denmark

Denmark’s per capita income is at $54,910. According to World Bank rankings, it is the world’s seventh highest PCI. Denmark has a highly industrialized economy, with robust agricultural and corporate sectors. Despite being one of the most competitive nations, the nation has a very weak financial regulatory system. Also, its labor laws are very lax and tilted heavily in favour of the employers.

Iceland

At $54,100, the per capita income of Iceland is the world’s eighth highest. Iceland has a very healthy power sector which helps it be a highly industrialized country. Apart from manufacturing, the nation is also taking big strides in the fields of software generation, biotechnology, tourism, and financial services.

Cayman Islands

The per capita income of Cayman Islands is more than $48,140 and less than $54,100, as per World Bank figures. It has the 11th highest PCI in the world. At number 9 is Channel Islands and in the 10th spot is Andorra. The Cayman Islands are situated in the Caribbean Sea. It is a major financial centre and also one of the world’s best known tax havens. The nation’s economic mainstays are tourism and financial services.

Ireland

The Irish have a per capita income of $48,140, ranking them twelfth in the world. Ireland too has made rapid strides in the field of information technology. Construction, apart from agriculture, too is an important part of the Irish economy.


The world’s most reputable companies

June 12, 2008

No. 1: TOYOTA

The global list, which includes 10 other Indian companies, has been topped by Japanese auto maker Toyota. The Japanese giant is also the world’s largest car manufacturer.

No. 2: GOOGLE

Google is an American Internet company and worldwide search giant, and is the world’s second most reputable company.

No. 3: IKEA

IKEA is a global home products retailer. It is the world’s third most reputable firm. Earlier this year, the Swedish major trashed the Indian retail growth story saying that the country was not even ‘an emerging market’ ready for big retailers with players making more mistakes than success.

No. 4: FERRERO

Ferrero is an Italian confectioner. It is the world’s fourth most reputable business entity.

No. 5: JOHNSON & JOHNSON

Johnson & Johnson is a global pharmaceutical major. The American major is the world’s fifth most reputable firm.

No. 7: KRAFT FOODS

Kraft Foods Inc of the US is world’s third largest food and beverage company. It is also the seventh most reputable firm on earth.

No. 8: NOVO NORDISK

Novo Nordisk is a Denmark’s largest and one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of pharmaceutical products. It is the world’s eighth most reputable firm.

No. 9: GRUPO BIMBO SA

Grupo Bimbo is a giant Mexican food corporation. It might not be too well known in India, but is considered the world’s ninth most reputable firm.

No. 10: MIGROS

Migros is one of Switzerland’s largest supermarket chains. The Federation of Migros Cooperatives, which owns Migros chain of superstores, ranks number 10 in the world in terms of reputation.

The overall rankings are based on the companies’ performance on seven dimensions — workplace, citizenship, governance, products/services, innovation, leadership and performance.


Wolrd’s 10 biggest Banks

March 27, 2008

The world’s largest banks by total assets in US dollars.

UBS AG, Zurich, Switzerland – is the world’s biggest manager of other people’s money. The bank’s asset stood at $1,963.227 billion as in January 2008. Present in major financial centre’s worldwide; UBS has offices in 50 countries. The bank had 81,557 employees on June 30, 2007. It originated in 1747, with its maiden branch coming up in the Swiss region of Valposchiavo.The new UBS evolved out of a merger of the Union Bank of Switzerland and the Swiss Bank Corporation in June 1998. The merged bank’s new name was originally supposed to be the United Bank of Switzerland. But it had to be named UBS as the proposed name clashed with United Bank Switzerland.

Barclays PLC is a major bank operating in Europe, the United States, West Asia, Latin America, Australia, Asia and Africa. It operates through its subsidiary Barclays Bank PLC. The bank has registered assets worth $1,951.041 billion. It is also the sponsor of the English Premier League. Forbes Global 2000 ranked Barclays PLC as the 18th largest company in the world in 2007. The bank’s roots can be traced back to 1690 in London. It borrowed its name from Alexander and David Barclay, who provided credit to slave traders. Barclays being a member of the global ATM Alliance, its customers can use ATMs of other banks free of charge.

BNP Paribas is a major European bank. It was created on May 23, 2000 through the merger of Banque Nationale de Paris and Paribas. As on January 31, the bank’s assets stood at $1,899.186 billion. Its history can be traced back to 1869, when a group of bankers and investors, including Adrien Delahante, Edmond Joubert and Henri Cernuschi, founded the Banque de Paris. The bank employs 162,700 people and operates in 87 countries. The bank is active in the finance, investment and asset management markets.

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Edinburgh, UK, is the largest banking group in Scotland and the fifth largest in the world by market capitalization. As on January 31, the bank’s assets stood at $1,705.680 billion. The bank originated from the Equivalent Society set up by investors in the bankrupt Company of Scotland. The Society was formed to protect the compensation the investors received as part of the arrangements of the 1707 Acts of Union.

Credit Agricole SA is the largest retail banking group in France and the eighth largest in the world, according to The Banker magazine. On January 31, the bank’s assets stood at $1,663.101 billion. Through its subsidiaries, Credit Agricole SA is involved in the following services: Retail banking, International retail banking, specialized financial services, asset management, insurance and private banking, corporate and investment banking.

Deutsche Bank AG is headquartered in Frankfurt. It employs more than 78,000 people in 76 countries. As on January 31, the bank’s asset stood at $1,485.008 billion. Deutsche Bank was founded in Germany in 1870 as a bank for foreign trade in Berlin by private banker Adelbert Delbruck and politician Ludwig Bamberger.

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd came into being with the merger of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Limited and UFJ Bank Limited. As on January 31, the bank’s assets stood at $1,362.598 billion. The bank, through its several subsidiaries, performs the following activities: commercial banking, trust banking, securities dealing, leasing, venture capital deals, factoring, research and consulting, securities custody service, etc.

ABN AMRO Holding NV, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, evolved from the amalgamation of AMRO and ABN. As on January 31, the bank’s assets stood at $1,301.508 billion. The bank created history when the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Fortis and Banco Santander announced on October 8, 2007, that an offer for 86 per cent of outstanding ABN AMRO stock had been accepted. This made way for the largest ever bank takeover in history. On November 1 2007, an extraordinary shareholder meeting changed the bank’s management.

Societe Generale, one of the oldest banks in France, is also one of the main European financial services companies. As on January 31, 2008, its assets stood at $1,261.657 billion. It is headquartered in France with the main head office in Tours Societe Generale in the business district of La Defense west of Paris.

Bank of America was formed after the consolidation of quite a few historical banks, the most prominent of those being the Bank of Italy. On January 31, the bank’s assets stood at $1,196.124 billion. In 1958, the bank introduced the BankAmericard, which changed its name to VISA in 1977. A consortium of other California banks came up with Master Charge (now MasterCard).Bank of America has divisions in US, Europe and Asia. The US headquarters are located in New York, European headquarters are based in London and Asia’s headquarters are split between Singapore & Hong Kong.