Memos from Asia

6 Best Asian Countries to Do Business in 2020

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Asian countries are becoming more business-friendly and attractive for international entrepreneurs.

High fertility rate, the fastest GDP growth and increasing demand in local markets are making international companies consider entering into Asian countries.

5 out of 15 top countries for doing business are located in Asia such as Singapore, Hong Kong and the Korea Republic, while 5 Asian countries are in the list of 10 fastest-growing economies in the globe. (Trading economics)

The World Bank Group releases a comprehensive cross-country report based on the research of 48,000 professionals in 190 countries, which we will refer in this article.

The ease of doing business in different countries is assessed on numerous criteria, yet the main indicators are enforcing contracts, shareholder protection, labor market regulations, costs, court efficiency, tax regulations, firm entry, and reliability of electricity.

1. Singapore – 86.2 points

Singapore is the top Asian country and 2nd best country in the world for doing business. The sovereign city-state has excellent opportunities for investors, well-designed business regulations and business-friendly environment.

Singapore scored 86.2 points in 2020, which is 0.96 points higher than in 2019. However, it remained in the same position after New Zealand.

To make starting business easier, Singapore abolished corporate seals and simplified post-registration procedures. Besides, the country expanded the alternative dispute resolutions frameworks to ease contract enforcement.

The entrepreneurs spent the lowest time for paying taxes in Singapore, which is the best regulatory performance of the country.

Also, the south-eastern country of Asia scored 98.23, almost 100 points in starting business rank. It means, investors meet low costs, time, procedures, and minimal capital to start a business in Singapore.

According to the World Bank, 4 days are required to start a new business in the United States, while in Singapore only 1.5 days is fairly enough.

2. Hong Kong SAR, China – 85.3 points

The following place is occupied by Hong Kong with 85.3 points, almost 1 point less than Singapore.

Hong Kong improved the rank to the 3rd position in the world in 2020 from 4th place in 2019.

The Special Administrative Region of China has an efficient and fast electricity connection because it offers extensive professional training for all registered electrical workers.

Hong Kong set the best regularity performance in indicators like paying taxes and trading across borders. Businesses make 3 tax payments annually and the time of border compliance is only 1 hour.

3. South Korea – 84 points

South Korea or officially the Republic of Korea is among the top Asian countries with the best opportunities for entrepreneurship. The rank of the country remains the same in 2020, 3rd place in Asia and 5th place worldwide.

Awarding contracts with the government is the fastest in South Korea. For instance, making contracts for road maintenance takes 161 days on average in the Korea Republic, while as long as 15 months needed to do it in Chile.

Getting electricity is the country’s best performance, which has 3 procedures and takes as little as 18 days.

South Korea introduced additional features to its online filing of taxes for corporate income tax that made the process much easier than before.

4. Malaysia – 81.5 points

View of a beautiful cityscape with balcony on a sunny day

Malaysia holds 4th position in the ranking of business-friendly countries. The country went up from 15th rank in 2019 to 12th in 2020. Country $364 billion worth GDP, Malaysia scored 81.5 points.

Malaysia ensures the reliability of supply and transparency of tariff index. Improvement of online procedures startups provided an easier process of starting a business.
Also, it established the best regulations for protecting minority investors. The extent of disclosure index is 10, which is the highest rating.

Malaysia reduced the time for permitting applications and registering property to ease and simplify the deals with construction permits.

All the efforts to make the country more attractive for businesses showed its results and now Malaysia is one of the easiest countries to do business.

5&6. Taiwan China and UAE – 80.9 points

Aerial view of cars and trains with intersection or junction with traffic, Taipei Downtown, Taiwan. Financial district and business area. Smart urban city technology.
Dubai Marina from a high view showing the boats, sea, and the city scape.

Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates were placed 5th and 6th places respectively with the same score of 80.9 points.

Concerning world ranking, Taiwan held a 15th position, which was 13th in the last year. UAE fell 5 places from 11th place to 16th rank.

However, both countries’ gross domestic product is higher than in Singapore. At the end of 2019, the GDP of Taiwan was $233 billion more than Singapore, while UAE produced $49 billion more domestic product than the leader of the ranking. (Trading economics)

Taiwan has the best regulatory performance in corporate transparency index with the highest score of 7.

The United Arab Emirates set the time to get electricity just 7 days, 6 days less than in the Korea Republic. Also, UAE is in the list top countries in terms of protecting minority investors.

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