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Sweden in world’s top five for online business

A UN study looking at how easy different countries make it for businesses to facilitate online purchases has ranked Sweden among the top five nations in the world.

Sweden in world's top five for online business
Sweden is a global tech hub. Photo: Susanne Wallström/Image Bank Sweden
The report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) looked at the opportunities and challenges of e-commerce around the world. 
 
Sweden came fifth in a global table, with neighbouring Norway and Finland scooping the second and third spots. Luxembourg was singled out as a world leader in facilitating online purchases, while Canada came fourth out of a total of 130 nations investigated by the UNCTAD.
 
While the study noted that most of the top global e-commerce companies are from the United States and China, it ranked Sweden among the top countries in the world for home postal delivery and secure servers, credit card access and internet usage by individuals.
 
The report suggested that more than two thirds of Swedes bought products online in 2013, compared to less than one in three people in Spain, Italy and China. The United Kingdom led the way on this variable, with more than seven out of ten Brits using the internet to make purchases, with other Scandinavian countries and Australia also scoring highly.
 
“The index allows countries to compare their readiness with others and also indicates their relative strengths and weaknesses in different elements of the e-commerce process, such as the quality of the internet infrastructure and the availability of payment and delivery solutions,” the UNCTAD said in statement.
 
The ranking is included in the international organization’s Information Economy Report 2015 which, in terms of gross merchandise value, lists the top e-commerce sites in the world as the Alibaba Group (China), Amazon (US) and eBay (US).
 
Sweden's high score in the report follows several other recent studies focussing on the Nordic nation's connectivity.
 
In 2013, it was described as most effective country at using the internet to improve lives in a ranking by a foundation headed by Tim Berners-Lee, the British inventor of the World Wide Web.
 
Last month, Sweden was dubbed the second best country in the EU for 'digital performance' as a new Digital Economy and Society index was unveiled by the EU.
 
After measuring connectivity (how accessible and affordable broadband is), internet skills, how frequently Europeans use the internet for key activities such as online shopping and accessing news and how well developed digital technologies and digital public services were in each member state, Sweden was given a score of 0.66, with 1.0 being the maximum score possible. Denmark was the only country to score higher, with Finland also making the top five. 

MUSIC

Watch this Swede’s incredible marble machine play music

He's making a noise with a unique instrument that creates music using 2000 marbles.

Watch this Swede's incredible marble machine play music
Gothenburg musician Martin Molin with the unusual contraption. Photo: Samuel Westergren
The unusual wooden machine, crafted by musician Martin Molin, 33, makes tunes using marbles which travel along tracks and interact with drums, cymbals and a vibrophone.
 
Using engineering and physics expertise, the contraption is powered using a hand crank which kick starts the process, mobilizing a central wheel which shoots the small round balls into action.
 
The impressive music created sounds as if it has been produced by multiple musicians or a complex computer programme.
 
 
A video of the completed project, produced by fellow Swede Hannes Knutsson, had scored more than 55,000 views by 5pm on Wednesday, after being uploaded just a day earlier.
 
Meanwhile social media also cranked into action as fellow Swedes and global fans alike sounded off about the invention.

Molin, who hails from Karlstad in central Sweden, but is now based in Gothenburg and plays in the band Wintergatan, spent 14 months bringing his idea to life, despite first imagining it would only take two.
 
He recently joked on the project's website that the initiative had been far more tricky than he imagined.
 
“The closer the machine gets to be finished the harder it gets to finish it. It is strange how that happens, when the finish line is in sight, everything slows down automatically except the avalanche of new unforeseen problems,” he said. 
 
“We need to start making music now and spend less time picking up marbles from the floor soon soon soon. But it is happening.”