It should shock nobody to find out that, once again, Singapore has topped the list of best places in the world in which to do business. The Economist
Intelligence Unit has been compiling this list for decades and, in the last 7 years, Singapore has been its leader.
The rankings take a number of important factors into account, including politics, openness, efficiency, speed, taxes and the job market.
Despite its small size, Singapore's laws are perfect for people looking to make big investments. The government does all it can to remove the red tape that so many other nations see as essential to managing their economies. This means foreign investment can be done without the tedious bureaucracy demanded elsewhere. Meanwhile, low corporation taxes ensure investors get the most of their money, without having to break off a large chunk for the local authorities.
While Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Sweden all found their way into the top ten, the surprising absence of some of the Eurozone's richest countries from the top ten speaks volumes. A mixture of fall-out from the economic crisis, endless bureaucracy and strict taxation all make the EU a frustrating place to do business, and there is no place for even heavy hitters such as France and Germany in the top ten. The UK, whose capital was once the engine of the world's economy, doesn't even make the top 20, only appearing in 21st position, one spot ahead of Malaysia. Now after Brexit followed by Donald Trump we will soon need a total revision.
As Jim Rogers, famous US investor who recently moved to Singapore, puts it:
“If you were smart in 1807 you moved to London. If you were smart in 1907 you moved to New York. If you are smart in 2015 you move to Asia. Singapore 40 years ago was a swamp with a half a million people. Now, it is the country with the largest foreign currency reserve per capita of any country in the world. It's got the best education in the world, the best health care in the world. It's astonishing to come to Singapore and see that everything works. Singapore is going to be the financial centre of Southeast Asia, probably Asia and likely to be one of the financial centres of the world.”
So, what is it that makes Singapore such an attractive prospect for business people like Jim Rogers? Well, this list is a start:
- Singapore is rated 1 by the EIU and the World Bank for ease of doing business. Its economy is considered the third most globalised in the world, plus it is the third richest nation according to Forbes.
- Corporation tax is a mere 8.5% up to $300,000 profits and stays flat at 17% for everything above that. There's also no capital gains tax, no inheritance tax and no estate tax.
- It's got a superbly well educated, hardworking labour force.
- It's very politically stable, with the highest quality of life in Asia.
- It's extremely safe, with a focus upon peaceful living and law and order on the island.
- It is a very multicultural society, with a hugely diverse population, yet has never suffered any of the race-related unrest issues that are common in many other multicultural countries.