Singapore and South Korea leads the world in innovation, US drops out of top 10

South Korea and Singapore are top leaders in the latest Bloomberg Innovation Index.

Tricia Ang | 5 February 2021

Photo by @_____ on Unsplash

South Korea has claimed back first place in the latest Bloomberg Innovation Index, while the US dropped out of a top 10 that features a cluster of European countries.

South Korea regained its position from Germany, which is now standing in fourth place. The Asian nation has now been ranked first seven of the nine years that the index has been published.

Singapore and Switzerland each climbed one spot to rank second and third.

The Bloomberg index analyses dozens of data using seven equally weighted criterias, this includes research and development (R&D) spending, manufacturing capability and concentration of high-tech public companies.

The 2021 rankings represent a society in which the battle against Covid-19 has taken innovation to the fore – from government attempts to curb the pandemic to digital technology that has enabled economies to work through it, and a race to produce vaccinations that will finally put an end to it.

“In the year of Covid-19 and facing the urgency of climate change, the importance of innovation fundamentals only increases,” said Citigroup global chief economist Catherine Mann.

Transformation and innovation

Mr. Bezos’ share in Amazon gives him a personal valuation of some US$196 billion, making him the richest man in the world, ahead of Tesla’s founder Elon Musk, who briefly kept the distinction.

Amazon’s spectacular growth has come in the wake of massive global expansion, taking a risk with its investments and innovations.

“It is hard to believe that Mr Bezos only founded the company some 26 years ago,” said analyst Neil Saunders of research firm GlobalData.

“Into that short period has been crammed a whole lifetime of innovation and entrepreneurship that have transformed not only the company’s fortunes, but also the whole shape and configuration of the retail sector.

“Its relentless focus on the customer and its constant pursuit of finding better ways of doing business made it not only a survivor, but also a leader of the Internet age.”

Recently Mr Bezos has been featured in headlines not only for his business achievements, but also for his 2019 divorce from Ms MacKenzie, his wife of 25 years, and an extortion attempt he announced to the public.

He stood up to the National Enquirer, under the influence of then President Donald Trump’s ally, Mr. David Pecker, who threatened to leak lurid, private images of Mr. Bezos and his lover by making the specifics of the encounters public himself.

“If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?” Mr Bezos wrote on Medium.