Singapore tops World Bank's list for 'ease of doing business' in Asia

PHOTO: The Straits Times

Singapore, closely followed by South Korea, remains the best country in which to run a business, according to the World Bank.

While Brunei, Thailand and India have registered the most notable improvement in the ease of doing business, Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh are the region's lowest-ranked economies.

In the World Bank's "Ease of doing business" list, Singapore has been ranked as the second-best country in the world, and consequently also considered to be the best country in Asia.

It is followed by South Korea as the second best economy to do business in Asia. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Thailand are the other Asian countries ranked high by the report for ease of doing business.

While Hong Kong has scored fifth, Taiwan and Malaysia have been ranked 15th and 24th respectively. Thailand has been ranked 26th overall and has registered strong improvement in the ease of doing business.

Graphic: Asia News Network

The World Bank report, covering the period from June 2 last year to June 1 this year, tracks indicator areas such as the ease of starting a business, connecting to power grids, contract enforcement, taxes and bankruptcy proceedings.

The third largest economy in the world, Japan, has been ranked 34th, while Brunei and Mongolia have both been ranked 56th and 62nd. Importantly Brunei has been named the most improved economy in the world for the third year in a row.

China trails countries like Bhutan, Indonesia and Vietnam. The country has been placed at the 78th position in the report, same as last year.

South Asian neighbours India, Nepal and Sri Lanka have grabbed the 100th, 105th and 111th spot in the rankings. India moved up 30 positions in the report as compared to last year, mostly driven by reforms in access to credit, power supplies and protection of minority investors.

However, the World Bank report noted that India lags in areas such as "starting a business", "enforcing contracts" and "dealing with construction permits".

Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar are the lowest ranked Asian countries in the ease of doing business report. Bangladesh has been ranked the lowest at 177, while Pakistan has been ranked 147th. Myanmar, which recently opened up its economy to the world, has been ranked 171th overall.