The United States, Sweden and Japan topped a new ranking that measures how well countries use telecommunications technologies — networks, cell phones and computers — to boost their social and economic prosperity.
Connectivity Scorecard, created by London Business School professor Leonard Waverman, and published on Wednesday, measured countries on around 30 indicators including usage of communications technology.
"All the other rankings mainly measure only how much have you invested in ICT (information and communication technologies)," said Professor Ilkka Lakaniemi.
Lakaniemi, the head of global political dialogue at telecom network gear maker Nokia Siemens Networks, which commissioned the study, said South Korea's rank in the middle of the table shows clearly the different approach of the study to other rankings.
South Korea is usually on top spots of similar lists, but Lakaniemi said this is mostly due to heavy public investment, while it falls behind in the usage of technology, especially by corporations.
"You have a lot of consumer applications, you have a lot of entertainment applications, a lot of this and that, but they do not really add much to productivity," Lakaniemi said.
The study said the top-ranking United States, which has benefited the most from ICT, was rated below 7 out of 10, mostly due to weak usage of vast broadband networks, indicating there is room for improvement for all countries.
"These results indicate an opportunity for countries to add hundreds of billions of dollars in economic benefit by rethinking how they measure and enable connectivity," the study said.
Russia topped the list for developing countries, way ahead of China or India.
"It will be interesting to see how in the next 10 years Russia will go down on this list and India up. You have an older population in Russia and a better-educated, younger workforce in India," Lakaniemi said.
The study — which is scheduled to continue on an annual or bi-annual basis — was conducted by consultancy LECG.
Following are the ratings for "innovation driven economies" measured in the study, scale 1-10.
UNITED STATES 6.97
SOUTH KOREA 4.78
HONG KONG 4.46
CZECH REPUBLIC 3.11
Following are indexes for "efficiency and resource driven economies," scale 1-10, but not comparable with indexes for innovation-driven economies.
SOUTH AFRICA 4.11