S. Korea ranks No. 5 on Global Innovation Index, No. 1 in Asia

Posted on : 2021-09-23 18:01 KST Modified on : 2021-09-23 18:01 KST
South Korea jumped five spots in the global rankings from last year and topped the competition in Asia
World Intellectual Property Organization website
World Intellectual Property Organization website

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the UN, ranked South Korea as fifth on its Global Innovation Index, which it published on Monday. Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Korean Intellectual Property Office noted that this was Korea’s highest-ever spot on the index, as well as the best showing for an Asian country.

In this survey of 132 countries, the top four spots were claimed by Switzerland, Sweden, the US and the UK — the same as last year. Korea’s fifth-place ranking was the highest in Asia, followed by Singapore at eighth, China at 12th, and Japan at 13th.

Korea rose five ranks from last year (10th), which was the highest jump in innovation capability among the top 20 countries in the index.

The Global Innovation Index was launched in 2007 with the goal of providing countries with the information they need for crafting business strategies and public policy. The index is ranked by WIPO and INSEAD, in international business school, who measure innovative capacity, a major driver of future economic development, in WIPO’s member countries around the world.

Changes in Global Innovation Index rankings (WIPO Global Innovation Index Database, 2021)
Changes in Global Innovation Index rankings (WIPO Global Innovation Index Database, 2021)

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said that Korea ranked so highly in this year’s index “because it continued investing in the future despite difficult conditions at home and abroad and that such investment led to the creation and proliferation of intangible assets.”

Among seven areas of assessment (five inputs and two outputs), Korea ranked first, for the third year running, in human capital and research, which measures investment in the future.

Korea’s output rank jumped from 10th last year to fifth this year. The two output categories reflect the efficacy of innovative efforts, including the increasing number of intellectual property (IP) applications at home and abroad even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Korea’s IP applications at home in 2020 were up by 9.1% over the previous year, and its international patent applications with WIPO were up 5.2%. That pushed Korea above Germany to 4th place for international patent applications, the first time it has ranked so high in 11 years.

Korea was first place in the world in nine of 81 subindices in the innovation index, or five more than last year. Those nine subindices are as follows: patents by origin per GDP (in terms of purchasing power parity), PCT patents by origin per GDP, patent families per GDP, industrial designs by origin per GDP, full-time researchers per population, percentage of research talent in businesses, government’s online services, e-participation in government, and high-tech exports as a percentage of total trade.

“The main reason [Korea] was able to rise higher on the Global Innovation Index than other countries despite the challenges of COVID-19 is because of our innovative efforts to overcome the crisis and because of the highly praised success of those efforts,” said Kim Yong-rae, commissioner of the Korean Intellectual Property Office.

By Kim Young-bae, senior staff writer

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