Which Asian nations are the best for business?


The best and worst Asian nations for business, according to The World Bank. Source: Shutterstock.

THE World Bank recently released its annual Ease of Doing Business list covering the period from June 2 last year to June 1 this year.

The list, which compares business regulations for domestic firms in 190 economies, tracks key indicators for areas such as the ease of starting a business, getting electricity, contract enforcement, taxes and bankruptcy proceedings.

In the list, China was found to be one of this year’s top 10 improvers, advancing more than 30 spots to 46th place in the global rankings, while India became South Asia’s top-ranked economy, advancing 23 spots to 77th place in the global ranking.

Elsewhere, other countries like Taiwan (15th), Malaysia (24th) and Thailand (26th) were also ranked high in the report.

The report said between June 2, 2017, and May 1 this year, 128 governments introduced a record 314 reforms benefiting small and medium business and entrepreneurs, enabling job creation, and stimulating private investment.

“Governments have the enormous task of fostering an environment where entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises can thrive,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

“Sound and efficient business regulations are critical for entrepreneurship and a thriving private sector. Without them, we have no chance to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity around the world.”

Other than the countries listed above, here are the nations who fared best and worst according to the rankings:


1. Singapore


Singapore came in second in the overall list of 190 countries. Source: Shutterstock.

Singapore has been ranked as the second best country to do business after New Zealand. The report states that the tiny island-state made starting a business easier by abolishing the corporate and made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a consolidated law on voluntary mediation.

2. Hong Kong


A general view of Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT), owned by Hutchison Port Holdings, as part of the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals for transporting shipping containers in Hong Kong, China July 25, 2018. Source: Reuters/Bobby Yip.

With a Ease of Doing Business Ranking score of 84.22, Hong Kong is at fourth place in the overall list, just behind wealthy European country Denmark. The report highlighted that Hong Kong made the process of getting an electricity connection faster by establishing a specialized task force to undertake the trenching, excavation and reinstatement of the underground cables.

3. South Korea


(File) Sunset over Seoul, South Korea. Source: Dmitriy Berdnik / Unsplash.

With an Ease of Doing Business Ranking score of 84.14, South Korea comes in fifth in the overall list after Hong Hong. South Korea is among 70 countries to have formed regulatory reform committees in the past 10 years that use the Doing Business indicators as one input to inform their programs for improving the business environment.


1. Bangladesh


A man rides a trishaw on the street in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Dec 15, 2017. 36 percent of the country’s urban population live in Dhaka, making it the world’s most crowded city. Source: Hanafi Latif/ Shutterstock.

At 176th place, Bangladesh is the worst performing Asian country with a score of 41.97. But despite coming in last, the report said Bangladesh has identified its top priorities for trade facilitation. This includes capacity building activities at ports and customs offices as well as communicating with relevant actors to ensure the proper adoption of regulations.

2. Burma (Myanmar)


A man skippers a ferry boat to go through Myanmar Industrial Port (MIP) in Yangon. Source: AP.

The Southeast Asian country has come in 171st place in the overall list with a score of 44.72. But on a more positive note, the World Bank noted that Burma made starting a business less expensive by reducing the registration fee and improved the monitoring and regulation of power outages.

3. Afghanistan


This photo taken on June 19, 2018 shows a general view of the city from a hillside in Kabul. Source: AFP.

After two nearly two decades of war, it’s little wonder why the South Asian country came in at 167th place. However, the World Bank noted that the country is one of the top 10 best improvers this year.