U.S. Ranks No. 1 In "E-Readiness"

By John S. McClenahen Not surprisingly, the U.S. ranks No. 1 among 60 world economies in "e-readiness," a term the Economist Intelligence Unit Ltd. (EIU) uses to benchmark the business environment's conduciveness to Internet-based commerce. In the rankings by EIU, a part of the group that also publishes The Economist magazine, Australia is No. 2, with the UK at No.3, Canada at No. 4, and Norway at No. 5. Rounding out the top 10 are Sweden (No. 6), Singapore (No. 7), Finland (No. 8), Denmark (No. 9), and the Netherlands (No. 10). At the other end of the scale, the five least e-ready economies are Nigeria (No. 56), Kazakhstan (No. 57), Vietnam (No. 58), Azerbaijan (No. 59), and Pakistan (No. 60). With some of the world's largest countries scoring very low in "e-readiness," one conclusion being drawn from the rankings is that agility trumps size. "India, for instance, ranks 45th, despite a world-class cadre of software programmers and a booming outsourcing industry for everything from call centers to medical transcription," notes EIU. And China, although it has one of the world's fastest-growing groups of Internet users, is only No. 49 of 60. "The two countries score poorly . . . because poverty, illiteracy, and infrastructure inadequacies prevent e-business from gaining critical mass," explains EIU.

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