Index ranks IT industries by nation

More than 60 countries were scored on factors ranging from business environment and R&D efforts. How did the U.S. fare? Chart: World's top IT economies

An IT competitiveness index has ranked more than 60 countries, based on factors such as business environment.

The United States grabbed the top spot, followed by Japan, South Korea, England and Australia, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit of The Economist Group, publisher of the eponymous magazine.

The countries were scored on a scale of 1 to 100 for factors such as a country's business environment, IT infrastructure, and efforts in research and development.

Denis McCauley, EIU director of global technology research, said there is a strong link between the presence of these so-called "competitiveness enablers" in countries and the strength of their IT sector.

All but 4 out of the top 22 countries in the competitiveness index are also among the world's top countries in terms of IT labor productivity.

"Governments and industry leaders must pay close attention to these enablers if they wish to boost the global competitiveness of their IT industries," McCauley added.

Countries must also balance open competition in IT and protection for intellectual-property rights, according to the report, titled The Means to Compete: Benchmarking IT Industry Competitiveness (PDF).

"All in all, there remains a large gap between the gold standard of countries with the most effective legal regimes, such as the U.S. and U.K., and the approach of many emerging economies," the EUI report said.

Gemma Simpson of Silicon.com reported from London.

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