ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong beats Singapore as world's freest economy

It has occupied the top spot for the 24th consecutive year.

Hong Kong once again holds the title as the world’s freest economy for the 24th year in a row as stellar performance in business and monetary freedom and government integrity was able to offset a slight decline in property rights to post a total score of 90.2, according to The Heritage Foundation’s economic freedom index. 

The index commended Hong Kong’s strong institutional frameworks, high degree of government transparency, efficient regulatory frameworks and openness to global commerce. 

It also performed well in terms of business, labor and monetary freedom, government integrity, tax burden, and government spending whilst achieving the highest possible grade in fiscal health. 

Hong Kong’s tax system was also hailed as simple and efficient with its standard income tax rate of 15% and top corporate tax rate of 16.5%.

“The free market principles have long been the cornerstones of Hong Kong’s economic prosperity and international competitiveness. I am glad that Hong Kong has been ranked the world’s freest economy for 24 consecutive years,” said Finance Secretary Paul Chan. 

However, Hong Kong’s score is weighed down by the lone declining figure in property rights. Despite an increase, Hong Kong also had a relatively low score on judicial autonomy as the report notes that Hong Kong courts have limited power as Beijing reserves the right to make final constitutional interpretations. 

Singapore is ranked second with a score of 88.8 followed by New Zealand at 84.2. 

Asia-Pacific countries also performed strongly in the economic freedom index as Australia, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan and Macau each occupied a post at the top of the rankings whilst Pacific island nation Vanuatu completes top ten list.


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