FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong beats Singapore in ease of doing business

It ranks the fourth easiest place to do business in Asia.

Hong Kong trails only behind Thailand, Korea and Japan to rank as the fourth easiest place to do business in Asia, according to a report by TMF Group. It also beat out close regional competitor, Singapore, which holds sixth place. 

The benchmark report assesses ease of doing business in a jurisdiction based on three areas: rules, regulations and penalties; accounting and tax; and hiring, firing and paying employees.

For accounting and tax, Hong Kong scores well for its adherence to International Financial Reporting Standards, compared with much of Asia which continues to use a local GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) framework, which is more difficult for some international firms to apply. The city also scores well for being flexible in extending tax filing deadlines, one of only 32% of jurisdictions to do so globally. 

Despite the advatanges of setting up shop in Hong Kong, the city counts amongst 30% of jurisdictions reporting that the responsibilities of company secretaries and legal officers have increased over the last three years. 

“Compliance requirements are making it more intricate to do business than before in Hong Kong, similar to other comparable jurisdictions in the region,” said Margaret Fung, TMF Group Managing Director for Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong also ranked considerably higher than other commercially attractive countries in the region like Taiwan, Singapore, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Indonesia and China are amongst the hardest place to do business at second and ninth place respectively.

Globally, Cayman Islands is the world’s easiest place to do business followed by Curacao. Jersey, Thailand and Paraguay round out the top five. On the other hand, the most complex countries to do business in are Greece, Indonesia, Brazil, UAE and Bolivia. 

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