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UK beats US for e-business readiness

UK beats US for e-business readiness

The UK ranked the second best place in the world for e-commerce, with its Nordic neighbours not far behind, reports the fifth annual "e-readiness" survey from IBM and the Economist's Intelligence Unit.

The survey looks at technology infrastructure, business use of technology, support services and use of e-commerce by business and consumers to rank countries most favourable for e-business.

Top of the list was Denmark, whilst the US slipped to sixth.

America’s relegation from joint third place, which it shared with the UK in 2003, was due to the fact that this year's survey took broadband penetration into consideration for the first time.

Scandinavia dominates the top of the table with Denmark in first place, Sweden in third, Norway in fourth and Finland in fifth.

Researchers credited Scandinavian governments with driving development and "the eagerness with which citizens have incorporated Internet technology into their daily routines".

Asian contenders included Singapore in seventh place and Hong Kong in ninth place.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia were included for the first time, and Estonia did best in 26th position.

The survey notes that 3G usage has failed to live up to expectations with only 22m users of the world's 1bn mobile subscribers using the technology and 90 per cent of these are in Japan and South Korea.

The overwhelming conclusion drawn by the report was that the outlook for the technology industry is looking considerably brighter than it has been for a while.

It points to increasing global demand for mobile phones and faster Internet connections as the cause of this welcome upturn, as well as cheaper and easier-to-use products and software.

“All these factors are combining in many countries to make it less of a hassle for companies to use the Internet,” the EIU says.

A vital ingredient in future developments, however, will be the role of governments.

"To speed things up even further, firms need to co-operate with local governments, the communications industry and businesses," the EIU says.

This already has happened in Nordic countries; helping push four of the region's states into the top five places in the e-readiness rankings.

What sets it apart according to the EIU "is the extent to which the Internet has reshaped business transactions".

Another boost was "the eagerness with which citizens have incorporated Internet usage into their daily routines and the extent to which (the region's) governments have driven developments".

Sources: BBC Online, Revolution, The Register

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