Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Singapore & Hong Kong: the most business-friendly countries in the world by World Bank Report 2013

World Bank just released the report that Singapore is the most business-friendly country in the world followed by Hong Kong. Singapore and Hong Kong are chosen as the most favourite countries to trade and invest due to two main factors. The main reason is the transparency of Government which eases the problems of dealing with documents and setting up the businesses in these countries. Apart from that, Singapore and Hong Kong introduces low tax rate as an incentive for foreigners to set up businesses in these countries. 

Singapore and Hong Kong consistently rank as the most competitive and profitable countries for foreign investors as the locals from both countries are able to converse and write fluently in English and Mandarin. Singapore is known for the most safety country among the Expats, which is also one of the main selling factors to be considered to set up business there.

World Bank declares Singapore and Hong Kong most business-friendly places in the world

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 18:40 EDT

Hong Kong ranks as one of the world's best places to run a business, while mainland China remains far down the list, according to a World Bank survey. [AFP]


Singapore and Hong Kong rank the world’s best places to run a business, while mainland China remains far down the list, according to the World Bank’s annual competitiveness survey Tuesday.

The Southeast Asian entrepots and finance centers topped the survey for the eighth straight year, with New Zealand, the United States and Denmark rounding out the top five, as a year ago.

The lower ranks of the 189-country list was populated with African countries like Chad, the Central African Republic and Libya holding.

But a rising African country, Rwanda, took honors as the most improved since 2005, praised for its efforts to boost property registration and for simplifying trading and tax procedures. China, which was furious to receive a ranking of 91 last year and has pressured the World Bank to drop the 11-year-old study, fell five notches this year to 96th place and was leapfrogged by Russia.

The “Doing Business 2014″ report said many countries are making it easier for people to start and run a local business, with low-income economies moving more quickly than larger ones to improve.

“Regulation is a reality from the beginning of a firm’s life to the end,” the report says. “Navigating it can be complex and costly.”

But in many areas, it added, “there has been remarkable progress in removing some of the biggest bureaucratic obstacles to private sector activity.”

The rankings focus on what a small or medium-sized business faces in its home country, as opposed to how a multinational giant would fare in the same environment.

The data was based on surveys of more than 10,000 professionals, mostly people who routinely help administer or give advice on legal and regulatory issues in a country.

The countries are scored on a range of issues, from how many days and procedures does it take to start a business, to the length of time to get a power hookup, to the ease of credit and the cost of exporting or importing a container.

Countries credited with progressing the most in the past five years include Rwanda (ranked 32), Russia (92), Ukraine (112) and the Philippines (108).

Russia and Rwanda both jumped 20 places from last year, Ukraine gained 25 and the Philippines 30 places.

China is likely to remain unhappy with its rating.

It scored particularly poorly on the challenges of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, making tax payments and protecting investors.

Even in trade, the mainstay of the world’s second largest economy, it ranked only 74 on the list.

Last year China pressed the new World Bank President Jim Yong Kim to scrap the survey.

Bin Han, China’s alternate director at the bank, said then that the report “used wrong methodologies, failed to reflect facts (and) misled readers.”

But Kim tied the issues the report raises to the Bank’s campaign to end poverty.
“It is indisputable that ‘Doing Business’ has been an important catalyst in driving reforms around the world,” he argued.

Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director of Global Indicators and Analysis at the Bank, called support for the study “overwhelming”.

“The reason why the World Bank has decided to keep the aggregate ranking is, most importantly, that they still gives you a sense of the best practices in the world.

“Countries find that very useful.”

But others criticized the study’s methodology, pointing out hard-to-justify conclusions.

For instance, in how hard it is for a company to get an electricity hookup, Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, ranks 67, while energy-rich Canada ranks 145.

And under “protection for investors,” underdeveloped Sierra Leone ranks 22, while Switzerland is at 170.

“It is an extremely low-quality report,” one World Bank source told AFP. “They rank things that have nothing to do with each other. It’s no longer economics.”

(Source: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/10/29/world-bank-declares-singapore-and-hong-kong-most-business-friendly-places-in-the-world/)

Malaysia Leaps Into Top 10 of World Bank Doing Business Rank

Malaysia advanced for the first time into a top 10 ranking of nations the World Bank deems friendliest to businesses as Singapore (SGDPQOQ) led the annual competitiveness scorecard for an eighth straight year. 

Malaysia vaulted to sixth from 12th a year ago after easing procedures for registering a company, applying for a construction permit and getting electricity, the bank said in its 2014 “Doing Business” report. Rounding out the top five after Singapore were Hong Kong, New Zealand, the U.S. and Denmark, unchanged from a year ago. China slid five spots to 96th, while the U.K. dropped to 10th from seventh. 

Construction in Kuala Lumpur

Sanjit Das/Bloomberg
Buildings stand under construction in Kuala Lumpur. Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg 

Bureaucracy has improved under Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s economic and government transformation programs, even as the Southeast Asian grapples with crime and corruption. While the country moved to 54th from 60th place among 176 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index last year, it was ranked worst for bribery among 30 countries surveyed. 

“Malaysia has done a good job in streamlining business processes in the past few years,” K.M. Loi, secretary-general of Transparency International’s Malaysia arm, said in a phone interview today. “But we still need to strengthen business integrity and anti-bribery practices. Corruption hurts everybody.”

Methodology Questioned

The World Bank’s study, in its 11th year, covered a record 189 economies, assessing them on measures such as the costliness of commercial regulations and the strength of public institutions. Nations are ranked based on indicators such as the time required to start a business, file tax returns and export or import goods. 

Jim Yong Kim, World Bank president, pledged in June to improve the report, which he called “an important catalyst in driving reforms around the world.” Non-profit groups such as Oxfam have criticized it and India, which slid two spots to 134th, has questioned its methodology. 

“Governments play a crucial role in supporting a dynamic ecosystem for firms,” the Washington-based lender said in the report. “Without good rules that are evenly enforced, entrepreneurs have a harder time starting and growing the small and medium-size firms that are the engines of growth and job creation for most economies around the world.”

Ukraine’s Rise

The report counted 238 policy improvements, an increase of 18 percent from the previous year and the second-highest total since the financial crisis. Ukraine, rising to 112th after coming in 137th a year ago, was identified as the country that made the greatest progress with reforms, having simplified measures in areas such as customs, bankruptcy and a value-added tax. 

Greece, whose insolvency helped trigger the European debt crisis, rose in the ranking to 72nd from 78th, while Spain, beset with a 26 percent unemployment rate, slipped to 52nd from 44th, according to the report. 

In Malaysia, Najib’s government has tightened anti-corruption legislation and set up specialist courts. It’s also introducing tighter detention laws after a violent crime wave this year, during which AMMB Holdings Bhd. founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi was gunned down and killed in Kuala Lumpur. 

Some other emerging economies also gained in the World Bank’s report, with Russia jumping to 92nd from 112th a year ago and being named among the most improved. Brazil rose to 116th from 130th, according to the report.

Kim’s Support

The publication has taken criticism for its ranking methodology. An outside review initiated by the World Bank last October found that the listing may create perverse incentives for governments seeking to perform better. 

Starting with next year’s report, responsibility for carrying out the research will move from the International Finance Corp., the World Bank unit that lends to the private sector, to the office of the chief economist, according to the bank.
“I am committed to the ’Doing Business’ report, and rankings have been part of its success,” Kim said in June, addressing the review panel’s conclusions. 

The study’s criteria differ from those used in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness index, which accounts for macroeconomic stability and the level of public debt. The Geneva-based forum last month gave its top score to Switzerland, which was No. 29 in the World Bank’s latest report. 

“We anticipate there will be a number of significant changes in the report’s methodology next year,” Augusto Lopez-Claros, a global indicators and analysis director at the World Bank, said in a conference call from Washington. One probable change will be evaluating several cities per country rather than focusing on the city with the greatest business activity, he said. 

The World Bank decided this year to test the “conventional wisdom that doing well favors smaller governments,” Lopez-Claros said, because they are seen as having fewer cumbersome regulations. The report showed that governments with higher spending relative to gross domestic product tended to perform better on the indicators. 

Chad is the worst place to do business, switching positions with Central African Republic, which ranked second-to-last, according to the World Bank. 

(Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-29/malaysia-leapfrogs-into-top-10-of-world-bank-doing-business-rank.html)


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