Indices the HUAWEI way

Huawei have published what they call the global connectivity index. It’s a global IT competitiveness index, basically. It uses 40 indicators to measure the relative performance of different countries in key areas of IT and the information society. They are grouped in four technology “enablers” which are broadband, cloud, AI, and IoT, and in four “pillars” which are supply, demand, experience, and potential.

This index has several attractive features. First of all it’s a comprehensive set of indicators in a crucial field of competitiveness. Secondly Huawei covers 79 countries, rather than spreading themselves over more countries and having to sacrifice some indicators. Thirdly, and this is the really interesting part, when they change the definitions of particular indicators or the combination thereof, they have recalculated the indices for preceding years. This allowing sensible comparisons of progress over time.

The index itself out to be less interesting, at least in the top ten. The United States is number one every year from 2015 to 2020. Singapore is always in second place, with Switzerland always in third and Sweden always in fourth place. Below this it gets more interesting: most notable is the case of Japan. For the first two years it’s in 5th place but then begins to slip: 6th in 2017, 10th in 2018, 7th in 2019 and 9th in 2020. It’s a shaky performance at best: contrast this with Denmark. This was in sixth place for the first two years but then jumped up to 5th and stayed there consistently for the remaining years until now. Note that the index value for Japan and Denmark increased each year, but the performance of Denmark was better. Places 6 to 10 in the rankings in 2020 were Finland, the Netherlands, the UK, Japan, and Norway.

You would expect Huawei to have good data on China. It puts its home country at position 22 in the rankings with an index value of 62. This is not very high compared to the US in first place at a value of 87. However it is one index point ahead of a country that has always been highly regarded in IT terms, Estonia. Also China has a population of maybe one and a half billion people. Parts of China on their own would score much more highly. And it has improved its position. In 2015 it was at position number 34 with an index value of43. The US has also been showing growth in the index while maintaining its number one position. But if China maintains this relatively stronger growth, it will overtake the US by 2031. At least in this ranking.