International Innovation Index, printed yearly by World Mental Property Group, has simply been launched for the 14th time—this 12 months, monitoring innovation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Worldwide standings are led, but once more, by Switzerland, Sweden, and the USA.
In Asia, South Korea edged out Singapore for the highest spot, forward of China in third. China, which can also be main the higher middle-income class globally, is forward of Bulgaria and… Malaysia.
Sure, within the second earnings tier—behind high-income nations—Malaysia stays some of the modern economies, not solely in Asia however worldwide.
Globally, it locations the nation in thirty sixth place—beating a number of EU nations (like Poland, Slovakia, or Croatia), following carefully behind the likes of UAE, Portugal, Spain, or Italy, and never far behind Australia or New Zealand.
However because the rating consists of many alternative components, Malaysia’s efficiency in a number of areas is, really, among the many greatest on this planet. Let’s check out a extra detailed breakdown.
A take a look at Malaysia’s strengths
1. Schooling – dominance of science and engineering topics amongst graduates
Whereas the nation scores fairly common on training total, its spotlight is tertiary enrolment in science and engineering topics, which locations it among the many greatest on this planet.
In different phrases, whereas the general variety of college students is just not the very best, they have an inclination to select sensible, technical, and scientific topics—on this regard, beating out neighbouring Singapore, and even the likes of Korea or Japan.
If we add to it the truth that many Malaysians examine in top-tier universities overseas—mainly within the UK, US or Australia—and English is de facto the lingua franca of the city inhabitants, it creates a really fertile floor for IT startups and even manufacturing firms.
In some ways Malaysia is a perfect compromise, providing comparatively low employment prices and a well-educated workforce, situated at commerce crossroads between East and West.
Talking of commerce…
2. Commerce and trade – well-developed industrial clusters and one of many highest shares of high-tech items in whole commerce, globally
Excessive-tech export and imports dominate Malaysian commerce with the world—this isn’t shocking contemplating a comparatively excessive presence of internally complementary industrial clusters.
In spite of everything, the nation has been a goal of funding in IT, engineering, and manufacturing for a few years now. That is actually aided by its location and proximity to the world’s busiest commerce routes, in addition to a shared border with Singapore, which is among the pre-eminent world enterprise hubs the place worldwide MNCs place their regional places of work.
Malaysia can also be standing out by way of world model worth—i.e. the worth of its greatest firms among the many Prime 5,000 manufacturers on this planet, in relation to GDP (corrected by buying energy parity).
In different phrases, Malaysian firms are globally sturdy for his or her measurement and the dimensions of the home financial system.
They’re additionally among the many most affected by ICT (Info and Communications Applied sciences), rapidly adopting novel digital options in enterprise.
Picture Credit score: International Innovation Index 2021, WIPO
Lastly, and maybe a bit surprisingly, Malaysia can also be rating among the many world’s greatest for the share artistic items have in its nationwide exports.
It is a class of merchandise which can be purchased for his or her intrinsic worth (like artwork or style), or contain a excessive diploma of mental creativity (like software program, music, gaming, or different digital items). *Observe: Particular breakdown is just not supplied, so it’s exhausting to say what items are particularly included on this entry.
Stopping the mind drain
Having labored in Malaysia in one of many firms taking part within the world digital financial system, and witnessing the speedy progress of the home IT scene prior to now decade, I’ve to confess that the nation is among the greatest positioned to draw international funding in innovation in portions far higher than it does immediately.
Malaysia boasts good engineers and glorious foreign-educated professionals (who’re nearly as good as they get anyplace on this planet).
Native labour prices are nonetheless pretty low, infrastructure is sweet and getting even higher, and the enterprise setting is welcoming (the nation ranks a really excessive twelfth in World Financial institution’s Ease of Doing Enterprise rating). Widespread proficiency in English and proximity to commerce routes—each by air and sea—full the combination.
However there’s one drawback: home mind drain that drives lots of the brightest individuals to hunt careers overseas.
There are numerous political, social, and historic causes for the phenomenon that I’m not going to delve into right here, but it surely’s clear that the outflow of expertise is costing the nation untold billions in misplaced financial progress and funding.
If this hole is closed, Malaysia can very effectively speed up its progress right into a high-income class and surge even larger within the innovation rankings within the years to come back.
Featured Picture Credit score: James Teo Hart by way of Depositphotos