APAC the best place for new business

Low startup costs and limited bureaucracy puts seven Asia-Pacific countries in the top 10 for opening a new venture, according to the latest US News Best Countries survey

Bangkok in Thailand, judged the best place in the world to open a new business
Bangkok in Thailand, judged the best place in the world to open a new business

Asia-Pacific is currently the best region for people looking to start a business, says the latest Best Countries report from US News.

Carried out in conjunction with WPP-owned brand strategy firm BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the report ranks 60 nations across numerous categories.

More than 16,000 people from 36 countries were surveyed. They were split into three groups: informed elites, business decision-makers and the general public.

For the section on best places to start a new business, more than 4,000 business decision-makers were questioned on five equally-weighted country attributes: affordability, bureaucracy, cheap manufacturing costs, connection to the rest of the world and provision of easy access to capital.

After analysing the results, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines were listed as the first, second and third-best countries for new business respectively.

China and India were fifth and sixth, Australia seventh and Singapore tenth.

The US News survey found that Thailand has very low levels of new business, which is good news for entrepreneurs, and was ranked the second most affordable country to business decision-makers.

In Malaysia, setting up a new business takes just four days, and new streamlined registration processes have significantly boosted the number of new companies setting up in the country.

The Philippines saw 320,000 business name registrations in 2015, while China has announced its economic goals to focus on innovation in science and technology until 2020 under its latest five-year plan.

Lars Voedisch, managing director of PRecious Communications, said it is encouraging that the global perception of Asian markets for business is going beyond the giants of China, India and Japan, and entering Southeast Asia. 

This could be driven by more people travelling to these markets, and also the success stories coming from them, Voedisch told PRWeek Asia.

"Stories like Thailand’s Chang beer sponsoring Everton Football Club since 2004, the rise of Malaysia’s AirAsia and Tony Fernandes’ fun rivalry with Richard Branson - or Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin settling down in Singapore and investing in popular startups," he said.

"It’s less the hard facts about investment opportunities, entreneurship or low corruption - with the obvious exception of Singapore - but more the perception of the ability to start and grow with the economy; maybe not necessarily as foreigners entering the market, but for locals participating from the rise of these countries’ economies."

However, while being very much open for business, many of the Asian countries were towards the lower end of the report’s overall rankings of 60 nations.

Thailand is 21st, Malaysia 28th and the Philippines 33rd on the list. Singapore was the highest-ranked country of those in the top 10 for business in 15th place.

Japan is the top-ranked overall Asian country, in 7th place. 

Best Countries to Start a Business

1)   Thailand

2)   Malaysia

3)   The Philippines

4)   Canada

5)   China

6)   India

7)   The Netherlands

8)   Australia

9)   US

10) Singapore

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