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Hong Kong, Singapore easiest for business

Singapore and Hong Kong are the easiest countries in the world to run a business according to a new report from the World Bank.

And with New Zealand ranked third, Malaysia sixth and South Korea seventh, five of the top 10 spots go to Asia-Pacific nations.

The top three earn their ranking by being small and well run, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business report 2014.

China and India, two of the world’s fastest growing markets rank well down the list; China 90th of 189 countries, India 142nd. Neither moved much from their ranking last year. Taiwan was 16th, Thailand 18th, Japan 27th and Vietnam 99th.

The annual report, released on Wednesday, highlights countries where businesses are “best helped and least hindered” by government. Perhaps in part to assuage Chinese concerns about the report last year, World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu writes in a forward to the report that “Doing Business measures a slender segment of the complex organism that any modern economy is”

“An economy can do poorly on Doing Business indicators but do well in macroeconomic policy or social welfare interventions.”
The bank measure the operating environment for a business, and such features as the ease of starting a company, transferring a property, resolving a commercial dispute; import and export clearance procedures, and ease of access to utilities.

Entrepreneurs in the Singapore need just 2.5 days to open a business, 31 days to get electric power and four days and $US440 ($A476) to import a container.

In bottom-placed Eritrea, a similar business would need 84 days to start a company and 59 days to get electricity, while importing goods takes 59 days and $US2000 per container.

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