A night view of Hong Kong. (Photo/CCTV)
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) was crowned as the world's most competitive economy for the second year in a row, topping a list of 63 economies, according to an annual ranking compiled by the World Competitive Center published on Wednesday.
Hong Kong SAR was followed by Switzerland and Singapore.
The World Competitiveness Center is a research center at the Lausanne-based International Institute for Management Development (IMD).
The U.S. slipped one spot to the fourth, as business executives in the US surveyed by IMD ranked the country lower in categories including government and business efficiency.
Arturo Bris, Director of the World Competitiveness Center, said the interviewees saw a great risk of political instability and protectionism, which offset the country's progress in reducing unemployment and stabilizing inflation.
"This is because of the new presidency, including protectionism, the fact that we don't know what is going to happen," argued Bris as he tried to explain the reason behind executives holding the opinion that the image of the US is deteriorating.
Meanwhile, the world's second largest economy seemed to have gained ground. The Chinese mainland climbed seven places up to the 18th, topping the list of countries with a per-capita GPD lower than 20,000 US Dollars.
Speaking of the most improved countries, Bris said the indicators that stood out are related to government and business efficiency as well as productivity. "These countries have maintained a business-friendly environment that encourages openness and productivity."
Explaining China's accelerating ascension on the list, Bris said this "can be traced to its dedication to international trade. This continues to drive the economy and the improvement in government and business efficiency."
The institute assessed each economy on four competitiveness factors, namely, economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure, with each consisting of five sub-factors.