A study by the Economist Intelligence Unit that was sponsored by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) found that Thailand ranked a lowly 49th after an assessment that compared the information-technology industry environments in various countries to determine the extent to which they enabled IT-sector competitiveness. The study is now in its third consecutive year.
BSA’s vice president and regional director for Asia-Pacific, Jeffrey Hardee, said the study examined six key criteria for IT-industry competitiveness, including the business environment, IT infrastructure, human capital, the legal environment, the research and development environment and support for the IT industry.
In being placed 49th in the 2009 IT Industry Competitiveness Index, Thailand fell sharply from 42nd place last year.
The quality of Thailand’s overall business environment is ranked 30th in the world, a slight drop from 28th last year. The country is ranked 50th in IT infrastructure, a slight drop from last year’s 49th ranking, and is ranked 43rd in IT human capital, an improvement over last year’s 46th position. Its R&D environment is ranked 58th, a slight rise over 59th last year. For the legal environment, the country is ranked 57th, a drop from 56th ranking in 2008, while support for IT industry development is ranked 29th.
"The study is intended to provide a roadmap for governments in addressing their strengths and weakness when it comes to supporting a strong domestic IT sector," Hardee said.
There are five countries in the Asia-Pacific region that are ranked among the top 20 in the world for competitive IT industries. They are Australia, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. The Philippines and Vietnam are ranked 51st and 56th, respectively.
Reacting to the report, CDG Group chief executive Nart Liuchareon said the government should be continuing action or working on an IT Master Plan to develop and support human resources, provide IT infrastructure such as 3G and Internet broadband and expand research and development, as well as education to enable continuous development of the IT industry and the country as a whole.
Moreover, government agencies should be coordinating their activities and working together to improve productivity and support the private sector.
Nart said the government should be providing support "from the top down" and continually evaluating the country’s IT competitiveness in order to fine tune its IT Master Plan.