Technological Infrastructure
NSF 95-309

Technological Infrastructure

Five variables are used to develop this indicator, which evaluates the institutions and resources that contribute to a nation's capacity to develop, produce, and market new technology. This indicator was constructed using -

science and engineering, the ability to make effective use of technical knowledge, and the linkages of R&D to industry.

South Korea received the highest composite score of all eight Asian economies, with relatively strong ratings on each of the variables. (See figure 19.) The lowest score was accorded to Hong Kong;[30] this may be because of Hong Kong's traditional reliance on entrepreneurial expertise over formally conducted R&D. In addition, its comparatively small population may have played some part in its low score since numbers of trained scientists and engineers and the size of the attendant R&D enterprise are compared with economies with much larger populations. Yet even though Singapore's population is smaller than Hong Kong's, Singapore's extensive national investments in information technology and its prominence in the region as a computer manufacturer more than compensated for any population bias. Singapore's technological infrastructure was rated nearly as high as South Korea's and better than Taiwan's.

Figure 19

Among the EAEs, China and Malaysia have the highest rated technological infrastructures. China scored well on each of the variables, but distanced itself from the other EAEs by virtue of its comparatively large purchases of computer equipment. Malaysia's high rating was based on its national mastery of high-tech production and the close relationship between its R&D activities and industrial enterprise. India's score rested on the strength of its large number of trained scientists and engineers and their many contributions to the science and technology knowledge base. Indonesia's large population did not save it from the lowest ranking among EAEs; it garnered low scores on each of the variables making up this indicator.

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30. Hong Kong's overall score is understated because no data are reported for this country on the number of scientists and engineers in R&D (UN Statistical Yearbook). This omission notwithstanding, compared to the other NIEs, Hong Kong scored poorly on the other four variables. This assessment of Hong Kong may change in the near future as the country's rule shifts from Britain to China in 1997: Hong Kong recently opened a new University of Science and Technology and an Industrial Technology Center. See Business Week (1992).
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