Sweden Remains the World’s Dominant Information Economy While the United States Slips, According to the 2001 IDC/World Times Information Society Index

FRAMINGHAM, MA – FEBRUARY 8, 2001 – According to the 2001 IDC/World Times Information Society Index (ISI), Sweden has maintained its position as the world's dominant information economy. Other countries within the top five shifted positions, however. The United States, which was second last year, fell to the number-four spot, and Norway, which was fourth in 2000, climbed to the number-two position. Finland was sandwiched between Norway and the United States.


The ISI ranks countries according to their ability to access and absorb information and information technology. The rating is based on four infrastructure categories: computer, information, Internet, and social infrastructures.

"The Internet had almost 100 million new users in 2000. Because of its importance and growth, we had to increase the weighting of the Internet-related ISI component for this year's rankings," said John Gantz, chief research officer at IDC.

The ISI credited Sweden, Singapore, and Australia with the highest Internet infrastructure scores. The United States, meanwhile, was at the 10th position. "Many people in the United States still don't have Internet access, and this is dragging down the country's total ISI rating," Gantz said. "It adds to its modest score in the information sector and relatively low score in the social sector."

The U.S. information infrastructure is rated 9th, while its social infrastructure ranks 17th. The countries with the strongest information infrastructure are Taiwan, the Netherlands, and Denmark. Norway, Hong Kong, and Japan have the strongest social infrastructure.

The United States currently is ranked as the country with the highest computer infrastructure. Singapore and Australia round out the top three. As other devices become access methods for the Internet, developing nations without a heavy investment in consumer PCs will be able to increase their ISI ranking. The United Kingdom improved its ISI ranking from 12th in 2000 to 6th this year largely on the strength of its rapid cellular phone adoption. Korea and Malaysia also got a boost from their cellular phone use.

In addition to providing an overall ranking and rankings in each of the four categories, IDC and World Times also looked at the countries that were most well-rounded. "To reap the full benefits of the information society, countries really need to be strong in all four areas," Gantz said. "Toward that end, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland are best positioned."

The fifth annual installment of the ISI tracks data from 55 countries that collectively account for 97% of the global GDP and 99% of IT expenditure. A forthcoming report in the ISI will include forecasts through 2004. The data sets are drawn from highly reliable sources including IDC, UNESCO, ITU, World Bank, and Freedom House.

The 2001 IDC/World Times Information Society Index: Measuring the Global Impact of Information Technology and Internet Adoption continues to build on the standard by which all nations are measured according to their ability to access and absorb information and information technology. The ISI has emerged as a critical global strategic planning tool. Just as GDP measures economic wealth, the ISI measures information capacity and wealth around the world.

The first report based on the study is titled Information Society Index (ISI) 2001 Trends and Ranking (IDC #B23953). To purchase this report, please contact Cheryl Toffel at 1-800-343-4952 or ctoffel@idc.com. For additional information on the study, please call Michelle Berube at 508-935-4126 or mberube@idc.com.

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world’s leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at www.idc.com.

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

About World Times

World Times Inc. specializes in presenting fresh perspectives on critical global issues through its publication, The WorldPaper, through research such as the ISI and through international conferences. The WorldPaper is distributed as a world affairs section in 24 countries in 5 language editions with a circulation of 2 million. World Times is headquartered in Boston, Mass.

World Times, Inc. provides additional company information at its Web site (http://www.worldpaper.com).


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