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World Bank – Singapore Most Business-friendly Nation: Business Planning

Singapore and NZ outshine Australia as business-friendly nations: Report

By Michelle Hammond
Thursday, 27 September 2012

Singapore is the world’s most business-friendly nation, according to a study by the World Bank, which shows New Zealand ranks third while Australia doesn’t even make the top 10.


The World Bank recently released its “ease of doing business” index, which ranks economies from one to 183, with first place being the best.


The higher the ranking, the more conducive that country is for people to establish and operate a business. The index takes into consideration 10 equally weighted topics.


They include the ease of starting a business, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contacts and resolving insolvency.


According to the index, Singapore was the most business-friendly nation in 2011, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United States and Denmark.


They were followed by Norway, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Iceland and Ireland. Australia, meanwhile, lagged behind in 15th place after falling from 11th place in 2010.


This is in spite of the fact that Australia has a higher start-up rate that any developed country except the United States, according to other research released earlier this week.


However, the efficiency and intensity of government support have been cited as negative factors with regard to innovation in Australia, along with the speed at which products come to market.


Meanwhile, StartupSmart highlights the attributes of the top three business-friendly nations.




Often described as a gateway to the rest of the world, tourism forms a huge part of Singapore’s economy. In 2007 alone, more than 10 million tourists visited the country.  


Singapore is a world leader in several economic areas. It is the world’s fourth leading financial centre and the world’s second biggest casino gambling market.  


Meanwhile, its port is one of the five busiest ports in the world. Singapore is also the world’s fourth largest foreign exchange trading centre after London, New York and Tokyo.  


Earlier this year, Sydney tech start-up incubator Pollenizer expanded to Singapore to gain access to its “impressive group of founders, investors and ecosystem builders”.  


Hong Kong


As one of the world’s leading international financial centres, Hong Kong has a major capitalist service economy characterised by low taxation and free trade.  


The government has traditionally played a mostly passive role in the economy, with little by way of industrial policy and almost no import or export controls.  


Hong Kong has grown to become a leading centre for management, financial, IT, business consultation and professional services.  


New Zealand


New Zealand has a modern, prosperous and developed market economy, with an estimated gross domestic product at purchasing power parity per capital of roughly US$28,250.  


Since the 1970s, New Zealand has experienced a series of “brain drains”. Nearly one quarter of highly skilled workers live overseas, mostly in Australia and Britain.  


But in recent years, a “brain gain” has brought in professionals from Europe and lesser developed countries.  

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