BusinessWeek reports  that an annual study by one of Europe's top business schools indicates that Asian economies are overtaking the U.S. and Northern Europe to become the most competitive in the world. Singapore, in position #2, trails the U.S., but the author of the report expects it to take the top spot next year.
The 20th World Competitiveness Yearbook , released May 15 by IMD business school  in Lausanne, Switzerland, also points to the fact that Asia has proven relatively immune to the U.S. financial crisis. Also, among the top 20 economies out of the 55 ranked, those in Asia-Pacific posted the greatest gains compared with last year. A few examples: Malaysia climbed four spots to #19, Thailand rose six spots, and the Philippines went up five (see all rankings here ).
The report also indicates that Asian economies are developing not only domestic markets but also regional ones. Growing investment and trade among Asian nations "is creating a very strong level of confidence in the region," IMD professor and report author Stéphane Garelli said. He added that the emerging economies of Vietnam and Kazakhstan will join the rankings before long.
IMD uses 331 criteria in its rankings, including hard data from the World Bank and the U.N. The rest comes from surveys. I imagine much of that WB data is included in the Bank's own Doing Business  report (which, by the way, recently launched a subnational report on China ). This seems like a good opportunity to point again to the Business Planet map  --featured in this blog some time ago--, which maps data from that report, as well as enterprise surveys, privatization transactions, and trends in private infrastructure projects.