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According to a new study by the European Center for Digital Competitiveness, France is the top digital riser while China gains significantly and the USA loses ground.

Digital incumbents increasingly face new and dynamic competitors from around the world. While countries such as the USA, Sweden and Singapore are often perceived as digital champions, a new study indicates that they are not necessarily dynamic “digital risers”. Only Singapore has managed to improve its relative position slightly over the past three years. In contrast, the USA and Sweden have actually lost ground over the same period. “We are in the middle of a digital revolution that is very likely being accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic,” says ESCP Business School Professor Philip Meissner, who founded and runs the European Center for Digital Competitiveness.

Within the G7, France was able to advance the most in its relative digital competitiveness between 2017 and 2019, which makes the country the top digital riser in this group; conversely, Italy and Germany decreased the most within the G7. This is the result of the Digital Riser Report 2020, devised by ESCP Business School’s European Center for Digital Competitiveness in Berlin. Based on data from the Global Competitiveness Report issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the report analyses and ranks the changes that countries around the globe have seen in their digital competitiveness over the past three years.

The ranking also reveals clear dynamics regarding the two global digital superpowers. It shows that while the USA has lost out over the same time period, China has gained significantly in digital competitiveness.

The top digital risers all have one thing in common: they have followed comprehensive, swiftly-implemented plans along a long-term vision around digitisation and entrepreneurship. France’s example shows that governments that invest heavily in start-ups and employ lighthouse projects such as La French Tech can greatly increase their country's digital competitiveness in a short timeframe.