October 01, 2021

Korea Ranked No. 5 in the Global Innovation Index and the No. 1 innovation leader in Asia

Commissioner Kim Yong-rae of the Korea Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced that the Republic of Korea (ROK) ranked 5th in the 20210 Global Innovation Index (GII) revealed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on September 20th, 2021.

For the first time in 2021, the ROK (5th) joined the top 5 countries with the most innovative capabilities joining Switzerland (1st), Sweden (2nd), USA (3rd), and the UK (4th) out of a total of 132 countries. The ROK advanced five positions from the previous year* and has been evaluated as the country with the most improved innovative capabilities among the top 20 countries.

* Previous rank: (2021) 5th ← (2020) 10th ← (2019) 11th ← (2018) 12th

- Especially, the ROK advances as the top leading country of innovation in Asia, ahead of Singapore (8th), China (12th), Japan (13th).

In detail, there are seven total pillars* for measuring innovation in the GII, including five input pillars and two output pillars.
* Input Sub-Index (5 pillars): Institution, Human capital and research, Infrastructure, Business sophistication, and Market sophistication
Output Sub-Index (2 pillars): Knowledge and technology outputs and Creative outputs

- The ROK has been evaluated as No. 1 for three consecutive years in the human capital and research pillar of the Input Sub-Index. The continued investment for the future has led to the active creation and expansion of intangible assets and the ROK’s successful performance despite the negative impact of COVID-19 faced domestically and abroad.

- Also, the ROK advanced from No. 10 to No.5 in the Output Sub-Index ranking, which measures the outcome of innovative activities, as the ROK’s domestic and international patent applications increased this year.

* (Domestic patent applications in 2020) increased by 9.1% year-on-year(PCT applications in 2020) increased by 5.2% year-on-year

- Furthermore, among the 81 indicators of within the pillars, there were nine indicators* where the ROK ranked 1st, four of which are IP-related and two were newly added.
* Patent applications per GDP, PCT applications per GDP, Patent families per GDP, design applications per GDP, Researchers per population, Percentage of research talent in business, Government’s online services, E-participation (government’s use of online services), and the Percentage of high-tech exports.

Meanwhile, an event was held by WIPO on September 20th to launching the publication of the 2021 Global Innovation Index where high-ranking officials from six countries* including the ROK, with noteworthy performance in the Global Innovation Index were invited to share their innovation policies and experiences.

* India, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, the UAE, and the ROK.

- Representing the ROK, Minister Mun Sung-wook of the Trade, Industry and Energy sent a video message on the successful outcome of ROK’s innovative efforts, such as Korean COVID-19 measures and global market dominance in the semiconductors and secondary battery sector. He also introduced the ROK government's plans to achieve digital transformation, carbon neutrality with eco-friendly policies, and investments expansion in future-oriented industries, as well as calling for the need for international cooperation to achieve such goals.

Regarding this significant accomplishment, Commissioner Kim Yong-Rae of KIPO emphasized that "the key to the ROK’s remarkable rise ranking and high recognition in the Global innovation Index comes from our innovative efforts and actions to overcome the crisis." He also added, that "going forward, KIPO will build a foundation for a system to effectively use and protect intellectual properties, the fruits of creative ideas and innovation, and lead the creation of an ecosystem in which innovation and economic development can make a virtuous circle."