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Doing Business 2010: Indonesia Is the Most Active Business Regulatory Reformer in East Asia and the Pacific

Washington, D.C., September 9, 2009 —In a record year for regulatory reform worldwide, most economies in East Asia and the Pacific strengthened business regulations, making them more efficient to help increase opportunities for local firms. Three economies from the region—in order, Singapore, New Zealand, and Hong Kong (China)—led the world in ease of doing business.
Between June 2008 and May 2009 a record 131 of 183 economies around the globe reformed business regulation, according to Doing Business 2010: Reforming through Difficult Times , the seventh in a series of annual reports published by IFC and the World Bank. In East Asia and the Pacific 17 of 24 economies made reforms against the backdrop of the global economic crisis.
As a result of its reforms, Indonesia—the region’s most active reformer—moved up to 122 from 129 on the global ease of doing business rankings. Indonesia cut the time required to start a business by 16 days and the time to transfer a property by 17 days. The country also strengthened disclosure requirements for related-party transactions to protect investors.
Singapore, a consistent reformer, is the top-ranked economy on the ease of doing business for the fourth year in a row, with New Zealand as runner-up. Singapore introduced online and computer-based services to ease business start-up, construction permits, and property transfers.
Hong Kong (China) held its number three position in the global rankings by creating a one-stop shop to expedite the process for obtaining construction permits and by easing business start-up and property transfer procedures. Thailand also eased business start-up and ranks twelfth globally on the ease of doing business.
“Business regulation can affect how well small and midsize firms cope with the crisis and seize opportunities when recovery begins,” said Penelope Brook, Acting Vice President for Financial and Private Sector Development at the World Bank Group. “The quality of business regulation helps determine how easy it is for troubled firms to survive difficult times, how fast local entrepreneurs will start investing again and how quickly new business can get started.”
Other reforms occurred throughout the region. China made it easier for domestic firms to trade by relaxing rules on trade credit. The Philippines introduced new insolvency rules to make it easier to reorganize firms. The Pacific island economies also continued to pick up the pace of reform. Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu reformed in areas including starting a business, getting credit, paying taxes, and enforcing contracts.
Doing Business analyzes regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycles, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and closing a business. Doing Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors. For example, it does not measure security, macroeconomic stability, corruption, skill level, or the strength of financial systems.
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), 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 www.worldbank.org , www.miga.org , and www.ifc.org .
For more information about the Doing Business report series, please visit: www.doingbusiness.org
For more information on Doing Business 2010, please contact:
Nadine Ghannam +1 (202) 473-3011                       Rebecca Ong +1 (202) 458-0434
E-mail: nsghannam@ifc.org                                       E-mail: rong@worldbank.org
Contacts for region-specific queries on Doing Business 2010:
East Asia and the Pacific
Hannfried von Hindenburg +1 (202) 460-7717       Mohamad Al Arief +1 (202) 458-5964
E-mail: hvonhindenburg@ifc.org                               E-mail: malarief@worldbank.org