Date
17 August 2017
The World Bank report affirms Hong Kong's incessant efforts at business facilitation, according to a government spokesman. Photo: Bloomberg
The World Bank report affirms Hong Kong's incessant efforts at business facilitation, according to a government spokesman. Photo: Bloomberg

Hong Kong slips to No 3 in ‘ease of doing business’ report

Hong Kong slipped to third position while Singapore retained its top ranking in the latest World Bank report on the ease of doing business.

The city scored 84.97 out of 100 points in the ranking, up 0.52 point from last year, but lower than New Zealand’s 86.91, which climbed to second position.

Singapore got the highest score of 88.27, while China placed 90th in the ranking of 189 countries across 10 indicators.

A government spokesman said in a statement that the latest report affirmed the city’s incessant efforts at business facilitation.

“The government would strive to cut red tape, eliminate outdated or unnecessary regulations on business, enhance regulatory efficiency and reduce business compliance costs,” he said.

The city, however, ranked eighth in the ease of starting a business, with the report citing its move to raise registration fees.

The government spokesman explained that business registration fees have in fact been frozen for the past 20 years.

The city waived business registration fees from April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014 as a one-off relief measure to help enterprises, before collection was resumed at the previous level on April 1, 2014, the statement said.

In its report, the World Bank cited Hong Kong’s efforts to strengthen the protection of minority investors, including the adoption of a new Companies Ordinance in March 2014 that requires directors to provide more detailed disclosure of conflict of interest.

The World Bank’s Doing Business report is an annual statement of “the state of the nuts and bolts of economies around the world”, including measures that determine how easily a business can be started and closed as well as the efficiency with which contracts are enforced.

On China, the report said both Beijing and Shanghai have introduced measures to make starting a business easier by eliminating both the minimum capital requirement and the requirement to obtain a capital verification report from an auditing firm. It has also made paying taxes more convenient, the report said.

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JH/JP/CG

EJ Insight reporter

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