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Tiger economies dominate in economic competitiveness

By Zheng Yangpeng | China Daily | Updated: 2013-03-27 09:47
Tiger economies dominate in economic competitiveness

East Asia's four Tiger Economies dominated Asia's economic competitiveness ranking in 2012, while the Chinese mainland kept 10th place for the third year in a row, according to a report released on Tuesday by the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

Hong Kong topped the list, while Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea grabbed the following spots.

The report said the mainland's competitiveness in terms of commercial and administrative efficiency and its social development level remain unchanged. Its ranking in overall economic strength, human capital and innovation capability dropped from the previous year.

"Due to the economic downturn in Europe and the United States, China's exports of high-tech products dropped sharply last year, which contributed to the drop in human capital and innovation capability competitiveness," said Wang Jun, a researcher with the center and one of the authors of the report.

"And China's commercial and administrative efficiency still ranked at the bottom in all of the 35 Asian economies we studied."

However, there were also some bright spots.

China's debt-to-GDP ratio, which stands at 25.8 percent, is still under the international warning level. The country's high savings ratio, and high potential growth rate, are keeping economic risks under control, Wang added.

Compared with the mainland, other major Asian economies' prospects seem gloomier.

Highly dependent on exports to Western nations, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea's economic growth slowed significantly last year, while Japan plunged from the fourth place in 2011 to the ninth place last year in terms of competitiveness.

"After the 2008 financial crisis, the Japanese economy became more dependent on exports to Western economies. As its exporters encountered headwinds, its economy entered another downturn period," said Zhang Yuyan, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who was also one of the report's authors.

The study also said that, in general, Asian economies are seeing an increasing interdependence. However, China is less dependent on other Asian economies than they are on China.

In terms of economic prospects this year, the report estimated that Asian economies' growth rate will rebound to about 6 percent, as external demand recovers.

But the deteriorating eurozone debt crisis, and the looser monetary policies adopted by major economies pose the biggest threat to Asian economies, said Zhang.

zhengyangpeng@chinadaily.com.cn

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