Hong Kong SAR, China, October 29, 2013
—A new World Bank Group report finds that Hong Kong SAR, China, remains one of the world’s most business-friendly regulatory environments for local entrepreneurs, second only to Singapore. The report says that 15 of 25 economies in East Asia and the Pacific implemented at least one regulatory reform making it easier to do business over the past year.
Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises
finds that since 2005, 24 of 25 economies in East Asia and the Pacific have made their regulatory environment more business-friendly. Among the region’s economies, China made the greatest progress during that time in improving business regulation for local entrepreneurs.
The report, which covers the period from June 2012 to June 2013, finds that Hong Kong made starting a business less costly by abolishing the capital duty levied on local companies. At the same time, the territory made transferring property more costly by doubling the stamp duty rate to 7.5 percent in February 2013 for commercial properties worth between HK$6.72 million and HK$20 million.
“Hong Kong continues to perform well this year, with the abolition of capital duty further reducing the cost of starting a business,” said Hans Shrader, senior investment climate program manager for East Asia and the Pacific at IFC, the World Bank Group member focused on private sector development. “Going forward, it will be critically important that a leading economy like Hong Kong continues to reform to maintain its world-class business climate.”
Joining Singapore and Hong Kong on the list of the 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulations this year are, in this order, New Zealand, the United States, Denmark, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Georgia, Norway, and the United Kingdom. This year’s report features a case study on the Republic of Korea’s electronic court system for enforcing contracts, Malaysia’s electronic system for paying taxes, and Singapore’s single-window system for trading across borders.
“For the first time, this year’s
report measures regulations in Myanmar, a country that has started to open up to the global economy after years of isolation,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group. “The data show that there is considerable scope for reform, and efforts are under way to improve the country’s business regulations. By removing bottlenecks to firm creation and growth, governments can signal the emergence of a more business-friendly environment, as has already been done in a large number of economies in the region.”
In addition to the global rankings, every year
reports the economies that have improved the most on the indicators since the previous year. The 10 economies topping that list this year are (in order of improvement) Ukraine, Rwanda, the Russian Federation, the Philippines, Kosovo, Djibouti, Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Guatemala. Yet challenges persist: five of this year’s top improvers—Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, the Philippines, and Ukraine—are still in the bottom half of the global ranking on the ease of doing business as measured by the report.
The joint World Bank and IFC flagship
analyzes regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycle, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and resolving insolvency. The aggregate ease of doing business rankings are based on 10 indicators and cover 189 economies.
does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors. For example, it does not measure the quality of fiscal management, other aspects of macroeconomic stability, the level of skills in the labor force, or the resilience of financial systems. Its findings have stimulated policy debates worldwide and enabled a growing body of research on how firm-level regulation relates to economic outcomes across economies. This year’s report marks the 11
edition of the global
report series and covers 189 economies. For more information about the
reports, please visit doingbusiness.org and join us on doingbusiness.org/Facebook.
About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit
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