Press Release -- East Asia and the Pacific

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Nadine Ghannam
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Singapore Sets Global Standard as Business Regulations Improve in East Asia and the Pacific

Washington D.C., October 20, 2011 — A new report from IFC and the World Bank finds that across the globe Singapore and Hong Kong SAR, China, provide the friendliest regulatory environments for local entrepreneurs. Within the East Asia and the Pacific region, China advanced the most in making its regulatory environment more business-friendly over the past six years. 

Released today, Doing Business 2012: Doing Business in a More Transparent World assesses regulations affecting domestic firms in 183 economies and ranks the economies in 10 areas of business regulation, such as starting a business, resolving insolvency, and trading across borders. This year, the rankings on ease of doing business have expanded to include indicators on getting electricity.  The report finds that getting an electrical connection is most efficient in Iceland; Germany; Taiwan, China; Hong Kong SAR, China; and Singapore.

Singapore topped the rankings on ease of doing business for the sixth straight year. Hong Kong SAR, China, held onto the second spot—in part by introducing an online system for company registration and making it easier to secure an electricity connection. 

Fourteen of the region’s 24 economies improved business regulations in the past year. The Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Malaysia improved in three or more areas measured by Doing Business. Malaysia rose five places in the global ranking, to 18, by implementing regulatory reforms—including a new one-stop shop for start-ups, computerization of commercial courts, and improved insolvency proceedings. Brunei Darussalam’s rank climbed to 83, partly because the country made it easier for businesses to get an electrical connection.

New data show that improving access to information on business regulations can aid entrepreneurs. In the region, two-thirds of the economies have put application requirements for building permits in public notices or online. “Effective use of information technology can make things easier for entrepreneurs,” said Sylvia Solf, lead author of the report. Hong Kong SAR, China; Malaysia; the Solomon Islands; Taiwan, China; Tonga; and Vanuatu have all used new technologies to simplify business start-up, made it easier to register property, or modernized the court system. 

Over the past six years, a new measure shows that 22 economies in East Asia and the Pacific have made their regulatory environment more business-friendly. “Making business regulation more transparent and efficient increases opportunities for economic growth,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group. “In East Asia and the Pacific, businesses have benefited from the region’s broad and sustained regulatory reforms.”

About the Doing Business report series

Doing Business analyzes regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycle, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and resolving insolvency. The aggregate ease of doing business rankings are based on 10 indicators and cover 183 economies. Previous year’s rankings are back-calculated to account for the addition of new indicator(s), data corrections, and methodology changes in existing indicators so as to provide a meaningful comparison with the new rankings. Doing Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors. For example, it does not measure security, macroeconomic stability, corruption, the level of skills, or the strength of financial systems. Its findings have stimulated policy debates in more than 80 economies and enabled a growing body of research on how firm-level regulation relates to economic outcomes across economies. For more information about the Doing Business report series, please visit Join us on Facebook.

About the World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit,, and

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East Asia and the Pacific
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