Ease of Doing Business

Top 21 Countries in Ease of Doing Business

Finance Ministers around the world must wait in anticipation each year for the World Bank's annual "Doing Business" report highlighting the best and worst countries for starting a business.

Singapore is #1 in Ease of Doing Business

Singapore's Tharman Shanmugaratnam was the one celebrating this year as his country was listed as the nation offering the greatest ease for starting a business in the annual survey's 2015 edition.

Eritrea, Libya and the Central African Republic were ranked as the three worst countries for starting a business, and none of the Eurozone's core economies - Germany, France, Italy and Spain - featured in the top 10. What may be a surprise to some was that Italy was ranked 56th, below Bahrain, Rwanda and Armenia.

Singapore continues to be the economy with the most "business-friendly" regulations. With a 17 per cent corporate tax rate and low inflation, Singapore makes a great location for companies that need to focus money on research and development.
 

  Doing Business
Rank
Starting Business Getting Credit Paying Taxes Trading Across Borders Enforcing Contracts Resolving Insolvency
Singapore 1 6 17 5 1 1 19
New Zealand 2 1 1 22 27 9 28
Hong Kong 3 8 23 4 2 6 25
Denmark 4 25 23 12 7 34 9
South Korea 5 17 36 25 3 4 5
Norway 6 22 61 15 24 8 8
USA 7 46 2 47 16 41 4
UK 8 45 17 16 15 36 13
Finland 9 27 36 21 14 17 1
Australia 10 7 4 39 49 12 14
Sweden 11 32 61 35 4 21 17
Iceland 12 31 52 46 39 3 15
Ireland 13 19 23 6 5 18 21
Germany 14 114 23 68 18 13 3
Georgia 15 5 7 38 33 23 122
Canada 16 2 7 9 23 65 6
Estonia 17 26 23 28 6 32 37
Malaysia 18 13 23 32 11 29 36
Taiwan 19 15 52 37 32 93 18
Switzerland 20 69 52 18 22 22 41
Austria 21 101 52 72 19 5 16

Source: World Bank's Doing Business - Measuring Business Regulations - Economy Rankings.

Ease of Doing Business in Europe Improves
Ease of Doing Business in Europe Improves

Despite there being some reordering within the World Bank's top 20, the list remained very similar to last year’s: 17 economies stayed on the list, while three entered this year—Estonia, Germany and Switzerland.

Economies in the top 21 continued to improve their business regulatory environment in the past year, adding to the ease of starting a business in those jurisdictions. For example, Switzerland made this process easier by introducing online procedures and strengthened minority investor protections by increasing the level of transparency required from listed companies.

Meanwhile, Sweden made registering property easier through a new online system that became fully operational in the past year. The system provides comprehensive coverage, allowing users to conduct searches and file registrations from anywhere in the country.

Britain moved from 10th to eighth in the report, which bases its scores on factors such as corporate tax rates, set-up costs, energy prices and transparency. Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Denmark, Korea, Norway and the US all ranked above the UK.

Since last year's report, the UK has overtaken Georgia and Malaysia in the league table with the World Bank pointing to corporation tax cuts and simplified company registration procedures. Additionally, Companies House, the UK register of businesses, has taken steps to digitise its process. It now takes just six days to start a business.

However, the UK ranked poorly on the amount of time it takes to register property, and on how long it takes to have a building hooked up to the electrical grid.

Ease of Doing Business in Hong Kong

Ease of Doing Business in Hong Kong and the US Remains Steady

Hong Kong's 16.5 per cent corporate tax rate makes it an excellent location in terms of the ease of starting a business. The low consumer price index and high number of people with post-secondary educations also makes it attractive. Cyberport - a creative digital community - also has plans to provide $25.8 million to startups over the next three years.

Although the United States has a high corporate tax rate compared to many countries, startups often tolerate the tax burden because of its relatively low cost of living, educated workforce and miniscule inflation.

Meanwhile, American business magazine Forbes didn't include its home nation among the top 10 countries for starting a business, with the following making the grade from one to 10: Denmark, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Ireland, Sweden, Canada, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland and Finland.

By Mario Hajiloizis

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