Friday, January 17, 2003

Malaysia now South-East Asia's
largest Internet centre

BY JOHAN FERNANDEZ in New York

THE number of Internet users in Malaysia jumped 35% last year to 5.7 million, making it South-East Asia’s
largest Internet centre.
Malaysia also ranks 8th among the most economically integrated nations in the 2003 World Globali-sation Index, compiled by the A.T Kearney/Foreign Policy Magazine Index. Overall too, Malaysia moved up 2 notches to 18 among 62 countries in the index that represents 85% of the world’s population.
The index was created two years ago to measure a country’s global links, from foreign direct investment to international travel, telephone traffic and internet servers.
This year, to determine the country’s ranking in global integration, several indicators including information technology (IT), finance, trade, personal communication, politics and travel were taken into consideration.
In addition to giving each nation an overall score, there was a multifaceted view of the country’s level of globalisation integration by combining these indicators into four sub-categories: economic integration, technology, personal contact and political engagement.
The report said that among emerging markets, South-East Asia could again claim the title of world’s most economically integrated region, although its export-oriented economics took a beating in global trade, with exports falling more than 4%.
It said that as a share of gross domestic product, South-East Asian exports grew by more than 22 percentage points since 1995, a record no other region can match.
The report said that Malaysia and Singapore ranked among the top 10 most economically integrated nations in this year’s index.
Singapore dropped from 3rd to 4th place as both net foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows and total portfolio capital declined.
For the 2nd year in a row, Ireland ranks as the most globalised nation, with its strong portfolio capital flows and foreign investment, particularly in its high-tech industries.
The US ranks 11th, a place it maintains because of its strength in technology indicators.