Scandinavia leads the world in information and communications technology (ICT), according to fDi’s first ever Global ICT Power Rankings, with Denmark and Sweden taking the top two spots and Finland coming in fourth. The US and the UK complete the top five.

The results come from the amalgamation of 20 different indices of the most important factors driving ICT sector success, such as internet and telecoms penetration, connectivity, infrastructure, political and regulatory environment, skills base, research and development expenditure, patents and inward investment. The indices were drawn from research by the World Economic Forum, INSEAD, UNCTAD, the Economist Intelligence Unit, International Telecommunications Union, Mercer Human Resource Consulting, OCO Consulting and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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Methodology

The top 10 countries by each measure received points in descending order beginning with 10 points. For IT managers’ salaries, however, the 10 most expensive countries lost points, with the most expensive, Switzerland, losing five points, the second most expensive losing 4.5 points, and so on.

One of the more interesting dichotomies is that the top 10 list of ICT investment destinations does not reflect the top 10 list of any of the indices used in this study to measure market attractiveness. India, China and Russia show up nowhere in the World Economic Forum, UNCTAD, EIU or ITU top 10 lists, as compiled by fDi, but all make it into the fDi top 20 ICT location rankings. India and China dominated by number of projects in IT and software (with India at number one, the UK at number two and China at number three) and in telecoms equipment and telecoms services (with China first, India second and the US third for both of these).

The disparity suggests many decisions to invest in the Chinese and Indian technology sectors are, at this stage, primarily cost-driven and/or banking on large future growth rather than existing infrastructure and market realities.

Inward investment

France, Japan, Brazil and Hungary attracted enough IT and telecoms projects to warrant slots on the inward investment top 10 lists, as measured by OCO Consulting, but none ranked in fDi’s top 20. Brazil was just edged out, coming in at number 21, having been bettered by one point by Russia. France does well on projects but does not feature in fDi’s final ranking. Hungary ties with Belgium in 24th place, despite being a top 10 country for attracting IT and software projects, ended up with a negative score after having points deducted for its high managerial wages.

Switzerland, the most expensive country for IT managers, according to Mercer, lost five points on salaries; Denmark lost four; the UK lost two points; and Hong Kong lost a point and a half.

Luxembourg tops the Digital Diffusion Index despite its absence in the most of the other top 10 lists (it appears at number eight on ITU’s Networks Index).