Asian economies are closing the gap on the West in terms of their IT competitiveness, a study showed Tuesday, as they strengthen copyright protection and implement regulatory reforms.
While the West leads the world in terms of an attractive place for IT firms to work, more Asian nations are moving up the ladder, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The United States retained its position as the world's most competitive IT industry this year, followed by Finland and Singapore.
Europe dominated the top 20 places in a competitiveness index, which was based on criteria such as foreign investment policies, infrastructure, enrollment in higher IT education, patent registries, copyright protection and access to capital.
However, seven Asian economies made it to the top 20 -- Singapore (3), Australia (8), Taiwan (13), Japan (16), New Zealand (18), South Korea (19) and Hong Kong (19) -- up from six in the previous survey in 2009.
Malaysia and India recorded the sharpest improvements among the 66 economies surveyed worldwide.
Malaysia moved up 11 notches to 31st, while India climbed 10 places to 34th. Singapore advanced six paces.
"The (competitiveness) gap is closing and we can expect it to continue to close," said Roger Somerville, senior director for the Asia Pacific at Business Software Alliance (BSA) which commissioned the study.
He told AFP the current market turmoil and the 2008 financial crisis, which have adversely affected Western economies, have boosted Asia's rise.
China was in 38th place in the global index, up one notch, but needs to improve its copyright protection environment, he said.
BSA is a global industry group that works for copyright protection and counts among its members some of the world's biggest technology firms.