Singapore, Hong Kong, and New Zealand lead the world in the ease of doing business for local firms, according to Doing Business 2011: Making a Difference for Entrepreneurs, the eighth in a series of annual reports published by International Finance Corp. and the World Bank.
For the first time in eight years, the economies of East Asia and the Pacific were among the most active. Eighteen of 24 reformed business regulations and institutions in the past year—more than in any other region.
Emerging-market economies such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam took the lead, easing business start-up, permitting, and property registration, and improving credit information sharing. Malaysia reduced the time and cost to transfer property by introducing more online services. Vietnam earned a spot among the 10 most-improved economies and moved up 10 places in the global rankings on the ease of doing business, to 78 among 183 economies.
New information technologies simplified business start-up, international trade, and property registration in Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Samoa.
“New technology underpins regulatory best practice around the world,” says Janamitra Devan, Vice President for Financial and Private Sector Development at the World Bank Group. “Technology makes compliance easier, less costly, and more transparent.”
Since 2005, about 85% of the world’s economies have made it easier for local firms to operate, through 1,511 improvements to business regulation. China was among the 15 most-improved economies, having introduced in the past several years 14 regulatory changes that make it easier to do business— affecting nine areas covered by Doing Business.
Singapore has been the world’s top-ranked economy on the ease of doing business for five years running. Hong Kong SAR China held onto the number-two spot in part by increasing the efficiency of commercial dispute resolution. The Republic of Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia held onto their spots among the world’s top 25.
Globally, doing business remains easiest in OECD high-income economies and most difficult in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. But developing economies are increasingly active. In the past year 66% of developing economies reformed business regulation; six years before, only 34% did.
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