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Rapid-growth markets soft power index:Results: country analyses - EY - Global

Rapid-growth markets soft power index

Results: country analyses

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The strength of China’s soft power within the emerging world is primarily driven by the highly-visible growth of its multinational corporations.

China easily wins the soft power race among the RGMs, with a score 10 points higher than India’s. India and Russia run a close second and third, respectively.

The economies of emerging Eastern Europe comprise the largest number (10 countries) in the top 20, while Central and South America combined have five. The entire continent of Africa has only one country in the top 20 (South Africa).


EM soft power index results

Rank Country 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
1 China 31.1 32.2 32.2 32.2 33.7 30.7
2 India 22.6 21.5 21.9 26.7 22.6 20.4
3 Russia 22.9 18.4 22.9 21.0 23.5 18.0
4 Brazil 5.9 6.0 9.3 12.7 9.7 13.8
5 Turkey 10.3 12.5 11.4 14.4 10.3 12.9
6 Mexico 10.0 11.8 11.8 17.1 19.3 11.5
7 South Africa 13.0 10.0 8.5 12.6 11.8 10.3
8 Hungary 12.2 11.1 7.4 9.2 9.2 10.0
9 Czech Republic 8.5 9.2 9.2 9.2 10.7 9.6
10 Slovakia 7.0 7.4 6.6 6.6 7.0 9.2


Among a large sample of EM countries, China was found to have maintained a consistent dominance in soft power (although it did slip three points in 2010).

In contrast to a rapid rise in its hard power over the sample period (10% economic growth and becoming the world’s second-largest economy), China’s soft power held steady, falling by only 0.4 points.

The strength of China’s soft power within the emerging world is primarily driven by the growth of its multinational corporations (i.e., Most admired companies); increased Tourism (51 million tourists in 2009 compared with just five million for both India and Brazil); and the rapid expansion and ranking of its universities (China was first among all EMs in all three of these categories).

Furthermore, China has boosted its relative soft power ranking with high marks in its recent Olympic performances; modest increases in its exports royalties (i.e., film and music) and growing interest in its language (US college Chinese language enrollments increased 80% from 2002 to 2009).


India ranked second in soft power in 2010, although it has been trading second place with Russia on and off since 2005. Not surprisingly, knowledge of English is one of its two highest-ranking contributions, giving the large Indian diaspora community living in the West an unparalleled advantage.

One-third of Silicon Valley start-ups are reportedly established by Indians — an impossible task without fluency in English. The second-highest contribution is from the TIME 100 list, which has been dominated by prominent Indian businessmen.

In addition, India performed relatively high in the Rule of law, Freedom index and Immigration categories (some of the Indian diaspora has been returning in recent years).

India still ranks above average in Rule of law but it has recently dropped, reflecting the view that India needs to take action to tackle corruption. Bollywood’s exports to the large Indian expatriate community helped India score above average in royalties.


Russia was ranked a respectable third among the EMs in soft power in 2010. Interestingly, much of Russia’s soft power strength is Immigration, which accounted for approximately one-quarter of its total.

A big part of the population coming into Russia includes ethnic Russians who were born in other CIS countries. These ethnic Russians have been returning to Russia at a steady pace since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

While the degree of soft power Russia possesses on a global scale is arguably small, Russia still has enormous influence (both soft and hard) throughout most of the CIS region, much of it coming from the 35 million Russians living there. Outside the CIS region, however, Russia seems to possess little in the way of soft power.

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Rapid-growth markets soft power index: Spring 2012


  • Sandra Sasson
    Marketing & Communications Director,
    Emerging Markets Center
    +30 210 2886 032

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