PETALING JAYA - Malaysia has emerged as the front-runner in the 2017 ranking for best countries to invest in, scoring at least 30 points more than any other country on a 100-point scale.
The ranking is based on scores from over 6,000 business decision makers compiled on eight equally-weighted country attributes - corruption, dynamic, economically stable, entrepreneurial, favourable tax environment, innovative, skilled labour force and technological expertise.
Countries that the decision makers favoured more than all other survey participants did in these factors are placed higher in the ranking, undertaken by BAV Consulting, a firm of global marketing communications company Y&R brand strategy, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
More than 21,000 participants from four regions were asked to associate 80 countries (up from 60 last year) with specific attributes.
The study and model used to score and rank countries were developed by BAV Consulting, specifically John Gerzema and Anna Blender, and The Wharton School, specifically Professor David J. Reibstein, in consultation with US News & World Report.
According to the US News & World Report, Malaysia "is the clear front-runner in this ranking," ahead of second placed Singapore, India (6th), Thailand (7th) and Indonesia (10th).
It said Malaysia "is one of the top recipients of foreign direct investment, and its pro-business government offers a wide range of incentives to investors."
The report said more than $1 trillion is pumped around the world in foreign direct investment each year and a country's share of which is sometimes thought to signify its value and potential to the world.
"Investors are drawn to what they don't have.
"The things that make a country unique - its people, environment, relationships, framework and teachings - create four distinct factors identified in a report by the World Bank Group that motivate an individual or corporation to invest in that country: natural resources, markets, efficiency and strategic assets like technologies or brands," it said.
Other countries at the top of the list, like Singapore and India, typically have a younger, educated population.
The majority of their citizens can provide the type of skilled work that the labour market demands at competitive wages and continue the cycle by contributing to the country's consumer market.