Hong Kong ranked world's fifth easiest place to do business

     Hong Kong remains one of the world's easiest places to do business, according to the World Bank's Doing Business 2016 Report released today (October 28).

     "This re-affirmed our incessant efforts in business facilitation," a government spokesman said.

     "The Government would strive to cut red tape, eliminate outdated or unnecessary regulations on business, enhance regulatory efficiency and reduce business compliance costs, with a view to further improving the ease of doing business in Hong Kong," he added.

     This year's report continued to introduce substantive changes in methodology by broadening the scope of indicator sets to cover regulatory quality and good practices. Under the new methodology, Hong Kong is ranked fifth in this year's report. Using the same methodology, Hong Kong would also rank fifth in last year's report.

     "The aggregate score of Hong Kong is actually up from 82.87 last year to 83.67 this year. This indicates an improvement in our overall business environment. The World Bank also commends Hong Kong for successful implementation of various reform measures to make doing business easier, namely eliminating the requirement for a company seal as part of the process of starting a business, improving access to credit by implementing a modern collateral registry, reducing the time in processing applications for electricity connection and excavation permits, and simplifying compliance with the Mandatory Provident Fund obligations of companies to make paying taxes easier," the spokesman said.

     According to the World Bank's Doing Business 2016 Report, the top five performers are Singapore, New Zealand, Denmark, the Republic of Korea and Hong Kong. The report compares the "ease of doing business" in 189 economies across 10 indicators.

     Among the 10 indicators, Hong Kong sustains its high ranking as first in "protecting minority investors", fourth in "paying taxes" and seventh in "dealing with construction permits". In addition, Hong Kong improved its ranking in "starting a business", "getting electricity" and "getting credit" from eighth, 10th and 24th last year to fourth, ninth and 19th this year respectively. This reflects the Government's continuous efforts to push ahead with reforms to improve the business environment.

     Hong Kong's two lowest rankings are "registering property" (59th) and "trading across borders" (47th).  

     For "registering property", the low ranking is partly due to an increase in the stamp duty necessary to curb property market exuberance.

     For "trading across borders", this year's report introduced substantial changes in the survey methodology. Under the new methodology, the time and cost (excluding tariffs) for each economy to export the product of comparative advantage to its natural export partner and import auto parts from its natural import partner on the most widely used mode of transport is measured. The indicator purports to provide a holistic picture of ease of trading across the border, and extends the measurement beyond the efficiency of government regulatory functions.  

     "Hong Kong remains competitive as a trading centre as we uphold our fundamental advantages including our unique tariff-free position. We will look into international developments towards ease of trading, and see how much more the free port of Hong Kong can do to maintain our competitiveness," the spokesman said.

     The Government will study the report carefully to identify scope for further improvement, and continue to explore ways to improve the business environment by partnering with the business sector and other stakeholders, and reforming the existing regulatory regimes to ensure that regulation is appropriate.

Ends/Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Issued at HKT 03:40