New World of ICT Superpowers

Dr. Dan Steinbock writes:

Today, the U.S. economy reflects relatively solid 3.6% growth. This figure is quite modest compared with China’s 10% and India’s close to 8%. China has been on this trajectory since the early 1980s and India since the early 1990s. In both cases, this level of growth is expected to continue for some decades to come. In 2004, China ranked seventh in total GDP worldwide. Recently, it leapfrogged both the UK and France. Today, it is the world’s fourth greatest economy and should catch up with Germany by 2008. India is following along the same path. It is easy to see why these two countries have risen so quickly in terms of global economic power and influence.

National innovative capacity is increasingly seen as one of the most important benchmarks in determining a country’s world-class competitiveness and level of prosperity. At first glance, this appears to put China and India in a weak position. The World Economic Forum’s most recent report on global competitiveness ranks the U.S. second (after Finland), with China (46) and India (55) far behind. A key measure of innovation, patenting, seems to confirm this. Measured by U.S. patents, America enjoys absolute superiority, with India and China following well behind. However, as in GDP, the current situation can be deceptive. There is a more forward-looking measure that contrasts annual U.S. patents per million inhabitants with the growth rate of U.S. patents. Here, the U.S. and Japan are superior in terms of absolute volume, but, measured in terms of relative growth rates, India and China are superior.

Nowhere are global opportunities as great as in the ICT sector. The explosion of mobile growth, first in China and now in India, provides a textbook example of the emerging new world of ICT superpowers.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.