Singapore is the best country in the world for doing business followed by Hong Kong and China, according to the annual business report from the World Bank.

The report shows that a majority of countries that top the global list are in Asia. The following countries in the top 10 are New Zealand, the United States, Denmark, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Georgia, Norway and the United Kingdom.


Some major economies are down the list such as Germany which is placed at number 21, the Netherlands at 28, France at 38 and Spain at 52.  Countries ranked higher than these major European countries include Iceland, Mauritius and Thailand.

The report also shows that governments around the world significantly stepped up their pace of improving business regulations in 114 economies last year, an increase of 18 per cent from the previous year, laying the groundwork for local entrepreneurs to expand their work.

It reveals that the pace of business regulatory reform continued to accelerate following the financial crisis of 2008/2009 and points out that if economies around the world were to follow best practices in regulatory processes for starting a business, entrepreneurs would spend 45 million fewer days each year satisfying bureaucratic requirements.

‘A better business climate that enables entrepreneurs to build their businesses and reinvest in their communities is key to local and global economic growth,’ said World Bank Group president Jim Yong. ‘Doing Business shows that economies with better business regulations are more likely to empower local entrepreneurs to create more jobs,’ he added.

The report finds many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa engaged in reforms aimed at reducing burdensome regulations and building stronger legal institutions. In 2012/2013, more than twice as many African economies in the region made reforms, compared to 2005. Out of the 20 economies that have most improved business regulations since 2009, nine are in Sub-Saharan Africa. These are Benin, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

The high income economies which have the best performance across most areas measured by the Doing Business report, focused their reform efforts in the past year on easing business entry and exit and on improving tax administration.

Europe and Central Asia continued its strong pace of regulatory reform, with 19 economies implementing 65 reforms. Among the BRICS economies of Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa, Russia made the most progress.

As governments in the Middle East and North Africa grapple with political and civil unrest, they continue to face complex challenges in improving the business regulatory environment, the report finds. The Syrian Arab Republic was the economy whose regulatory environment deteriorated the most in 2012/2013.

The report used 10 criteria to determine how easy or difficult it is to conduct business in any given country, ranging from filing taxes and enforcing contracts to getting electricity and obtaining construction permits.

Some big economies, such as France, are ranked below where they might expect to be. France ranked 149 in the world for the ease of registering a property, behind Uzbekistan and Iraq, confirming long held views that red tape can be formidable in France.