Thailand remains 43rd in global innovation index

Thailand stayed put at 43rd out of 132 economies in the Global Innovation Index 2022, released by the World Intellectual Property Organization, while the country’s gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) financed by business and exports of creative products tops this year’s ranking.

The report gauges the innovation performance of countries while highlighting strengths and weaknesses.

Thailand ranks third in Asean and 43rd worldwide, behind Singapore in 7th and Malaysia in 36th place, but ahead of Vietnam in 48th position in the table.

Thailand ranks 44th in the innovation outputs category, up two tiers, and sits in 48th position in the innovation inputs category, a drop of one place.

Among the 36 upper middle-income economies, Thailand ranks fifth.

The report also examined Thailand’s strengths and weaknesses in the area of innovation development.

The country ranks No.1 in the world in terms of the proportion of GERD financed by business for the third year in a row.

“This reflects the investment by private operators focused on innovation development to enhance their competence,” said Pun-Arj Chairatana, executive director of National Innovation Agency (NIA).

Thailand is also in pole position for creative goods exports.

Thailand made major improvements in terms of creative outputs, climbing six positions to 49th, and infrastructure, jumping seven spots to 54th.

In the infrastructure category, the country rose 14 places to 46th in terms of ICT. Thailand ranks 30th for ICT access and 49th for ICT use.

Regarding the country’s weaknesses, Thailand ranks 126th for the proportion of ICT service exports in relation to total trade and 125th for the cost of redundancy dismissals.

According to Mr Pun-Arj, the country fell 14 spots to 78th in terms of institutions’ role in innovation development.

The country’s human capital and research dropped eight places to 71st. These two areas require a lot of attention, he said.

Mr Pun-Arj said the NIA will coordinate with relevant parties to make use of the index’s indicators in order to roll out appropriate policies to effectively drive the country’s innovation development.

He said the country is gearing up for innovation improvement in six aspects.

First, the government aims to serve as an innovation accelerator by opening spaces for innovation development. The state also wants to improve public services through technology, while inviting the public to participate in the development process, said Mr Pun-Arj.

Second, the country is speeding up investment in innovation, particularly in the private sector, through the use of research.

Third, there are efforts to increase activities, build a database for an innovation-linked capital market, foster joint investments to reduce investment risk and provide financial resources for those pursuing R&D, he said.

Mr Pun-Arj said support is being bolstered for innovation-based enterprises as well as patent registration and utilisation.

The final aspect involves the development of innovation from creative ideas and culture, he said.

Mr Pun-Arj said innovation development has the vigorous support of the private sector, backed by the government sector.

The hope is innovation development can help Thailand escape the so-called middle-income trap to become an upper-income country, he said.

A key target is for Thailand to reach the top 30 in the index by 2030, said Mr Pun-Arj.