According to a new World Bank report, doing business in China is getting slightly easier, though conditions still lag behind those of regional rivals… just a tad.
The 2018 Doing Business report evaluated 190 world economies using 11 different indicators measuring business regulations and protection of property to determine which are the most business-friendly — and which aren’t.
In the report, New Zealand ranked at the top, Somalia at the bottom, and China ended up somewhere in the middle at number 78, between the economies of Kyrgyzstan and Panama.
While the report credited China with making some improvements over the past year, including streamlining registration procedures and introducing measures to make paying taxes easier in Shanghai and Beijing, overall, the world’s second biggest economy is still a fairly difficult place to do business, as you might have heard.
The country rated poorly in the ease of dealing with construction permits (ranked 172nd overall), paying taxes (130th), protecting minority investors (119th), trading across borders (97th) and starting a business (93rd). On the bright side, China did, surprisingly enough, rank 5th overall in enforcing contracts.
China will likely not be pleased with these findings. For years, it has sought to eliminate the Doing Business report, arguing that it doesn’t fairly access fast-growing economies and has a built-in bias toward regulation.
In 2012, the Financial Times quoted China’s World Bank Deputy Executive Director Bin Hai as saying that the report: “used wrong methodologies, failed to reflect facts, misled readers and added little value to China’s improvement of the business environment.” Since a decade ago, China has moved up just five spots on the list.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong ranked 5th and Taiwan placed 15th on this year’s report, which also saw China place behind Singapore (2nd) South Korea (3rd), Malaysia (24th), Thailand (26th), Japan (34th), Mongolia (62nd) and Vietnam (68th).
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