Where business is easy in Southeast Asia

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Singapore tops the Ease of Doing Business list of 24 Asia-Pacific countries
Singapore tops the Ease of Doing Business list of 24 Asia-Pacific countries

When it comes to doing business in Southeast Asia, Singapore has consistently topped rankings as being one of the most conducive countries to acquire construction permits, resolve insolvency issues and trade across borders. As the most business-friendly destination not only in Southeast Asia but the world, according to the latest Doing Business report compiled by the World Bank, Singapore is also ranked second globally for protecting investors, just behind New Zealand.

The frenetic paperwork involved with registering for licenses, hiring employees and getting utilities is made relatively easy in Thailand and Malaysia as well, according to the World Bank. Both countries are ranked second and third respectively in the East Asia and Pacific region for overall ease of doing business. In the same regional ranking, which consists of 24 countries including various pacific islands, Singapore is ranked first in terms of starting a business, followed by Malaysia (6), Thailand (8), Laos (10), Vietnam (13), Brunei (18), Indonesia (21), the Philippines (23) and Cambodia (24). Once-isolated Myanmar is not included in the report, but the recent inundation of businessmen plying business cards in Yangon ready to take advantage of historical reforms indicates a welcoming business atmosphere, if altogether nascent.

Setting up shop in Malaysia and Thailand is made easy through well-developed legal frameworks and processes for business licensing procedures. A proclivity for adapting to the latest online trends makes both destinations promising hubs for entrepreneurship: Bangkok has the world’s most active Facebook users, and Malaysia enjoys a 62 per cent Internet penetration rate, said to reach 77 per cent by 2015, according to the Economic Intelligence Unit.

Settling just below Singapore and Hong Kong in the region, Malaysia and Thailand are ranked third and fourth respectively for protecting investors in the Doing Business report. This business indicator measures just how strong a voice minority shareholders have and whether or not there are already obscure policies set in place to allow directors to profit off of company assets for personal gain. However, though highly ranked in the region, transparency issues and corruption are still a natural way of life in much of the Southeast Asian business world, and foreign investors must be able to accept some risk to enter. That being said, Thailand comes out so prominently on this list due to positive signals given to the market by anti-corruption initiatives, such as Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission, which boasts nearly 60 of the country’s largest firms as members.

Next on the list for protecting investors is Indonesia (7), which, though once known for a distinct breed of world-class corruption, is now galloping ahead as a come-of-age investment darling in the region. Cambodia is ranked 12th, followed by Brunei (17), the Philippines (18), Vietnam (21) and Laos (24).

Click here for Inside Investor’s newest Special Country Report on Myanmar

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Singapore tops the Ease of Doing Business list of 24 Asia-Pacific countries

When it comes to doing business in Southeast Asia, Singapore has consistently topped rankings as being one of the most conducive countries to acquire construction permits, resolve insolvency issues and trade across borders. As the most business-friendly destination not only in Southeast Asia but the world, according to the latest Doing Business report compiled by the World Bank, Singapore is also ranked second globally for protecting investors, just behind New Zealand.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Singapore tops the Ease of Doing Business list of 24 Asia-Pacific countries
Singapore tops the Ease of Doing Business list of 24 Asia-Pacific countries

When it comes to doing business in Southeast Asia, Singapore has consistently topped rankings as being one of the most conducive countries to acquire construction permits, resolve insolvency issues and trade across borders. As the most business-friendly destination not only in Southeast Asia but the world, according to the latest Doing Business report compiled by the World Bank, Singapore is also ranked second globally for protecting investors, just behind New Zealand.

The frenetic paperwork involved with registering for licenses, hiring employees and getting utilities is made relatively easy in Thailand and Malaysia as well, according to the World Bank. Both countries are ranked second and third respectively in the East Asia and Pacific region for overall ease of doing business. In the same regional ranking, which consists of 24 countries including various pacific islands, Singapore is ranked first in terms of starting a business, followed by Malaysia (6), Thailand (8), Laos (10), Vietnam (13), Brunei (18), Indonesia (21), the Philippines (23) and Cambodia (24). Once-isolated Myanmar is not included in the report, but the recent inundation of businessmen plying business cards in Yangon ready to take advantage of historical reforms indicates a welcoming business atmosphere, if altogether nascent.

Setting up shop in Malaysia and Thailand is made easy through well-developed legal frameworks and processes for business licensing procedures. A proclivity for adapting to the latest online trends makes both destinations promising hubs for entrepreneurship: Bangkok has the world’s most active Facebook users, and Malaysia enjoys a 62 per cent Internet penetration rate, said to reach 77 per cent by 2015, according to the Economic Intelligence Unit.

Settling just below Singapore and Hong Kong in the region, Malaysia and Thailand are ranked third and fourth respectively for protecting investors in the Doing Business report. This business indicator measures just how strong a voice minority shareholders have and whether or not there are already obscure policies set in place to allow directors to profit off of company assets for personal gain. However, though highly ranked in the region, transparency issues and corruption are still a natural way of life in much of the Southeast Asian business world, and foreign investors must be able to accept some risk to enter. That being said, Thailand comes out so prominently on this list due to positive signals given to the market by anti-corruption initiatives, such as Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission, which boasts nearly 60 of the country’s largest firms as members.

Next on the list for protecting investors is Indonesia (7), which, though once known for a distinct breed of world-class corruption, is now galloping ahead as a come-of-age investment darling in the region. Cambodia is ranked 12th, followed by Brunei (17), the Philippines (18), Vietnam (21) and Laos (24).

Click here for Inside Investor’s newest Special Country Report on Myanmar

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