Top 10 Best Countries For Business In 2018
Looking to start up or expand your business in a new country in 2018? These are the best places to consider.
Published on 12 January 2018
The global economy looks set to continue its rapid expansion this year, and opportunities abound around the world.
A recent report published by Forbes identifies the top 10 best countries for business in 2018. There are a few surprises in the ranking as well as many regulars in there, however, spot number one really shocked us based on all of the news currently swirling around the country.
Forbes ranked each country on its level of innovation, property rights, freedom, corruption, red tape, taxes, investor protection, and technology. Here we reveal the top 10 countries in the list, and also throw in a few of our own thoughts on why each country is great for business.
If you’re looking to start a new business, or expand or relocate an existing business to a new country in 2018, strap yourself in for this explosive look at which countries can benefit you and your business most.
The landlocked European nation rounds takes the tenth spot on the list. Known for its banking and watch industries, Switzerland ranks very highly in a number of very different areas. It ranked tied first in “Trade Freedoms”, “Innovation”, and “Personal Freedom”, second in ‘”Technology”, tied fourth in “Property Rights”, and fifth in “Corruption”. What really seemed to drag down the country’s ranking on the list was a low “Investor Protection” ranking – which many people would probably assume Switzerland would score highly in. Switzerland’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of US$78,800 is the highest of the top 10 countries on the list.
The small island nation in Southeast Asia is one of the top places not only in Asia, but globally, to do business. Highly dependent on trade through its port as well as exporting of goods enabled Singapore to rank tied first in “Trade Freedom”. Other strong areas include “Investor Protection” where it ranked tied fourth, “Red Tape” sixth, and “Corruption”, “Property Rights”, and ‘Tax Protection” came in seventh. For foreign companies looking to do business in Singapore, English is the primary language, but a local talent pool also consists of many highly skilled individuals who are fluent in a number of different Asian languages.
It’s no surprise the Emerald Isle made Forbes’ list. It’s extremely easy to start a business in Ireland and the country has low corporation tax rates. Ireland scored highest in terms of its “Tax Burden” and “Red Tape” ranking – with a fourth and eighth ranking respectively. It is also tied first in its ranking on “Personal Freedoms”. Ireland is also a member of the European Union, which means it uses the Euro currency, has good trade policies with other European Union nations, and is competitive internationally with it English language proficiency. The cost of doing business is also relatively low in Ireland compared to other European countries. Of the top 10 countries on the list, Ireland had the highest GDP growth rate last year – 5.1%.
Coming in seventh on the list is Denmark. Its best score was in the “Tax Burden” area with a ranking of eighth. The Danes are well known for their maritime shipping industry as well as their large government welfare system. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark is a great place to invest with their top three reasons being a safe bribery free market, access to the European Union and a flexible labour market known as “flexicurity”. Basically, you can work people overtime without paying them any additional wages – saving costs and enabling companies to operate efficiently for longer hours.
The Special Administrative Region of China, renowned for its financial and real estate markets, is an excellent place to do business in 2018. Low taxes, a currency pegged to the US dollar, and no tariffs on imported goods make this free market economy highly competitive. If real estate costs were lower, we would expect Hong Kong to rank even higher on the list. It ranked third in the “Tax Burden” and “Red Tape” categories. This is without a doubt a strong placing for a country controlled by a Communist one.
The North American country, known for its cold temperatures and Mounted Police force, also provides an exceptional business environment. Canada possesses a highly educated workforce and has very little in the terms of red tape. Amazingly, as large as Canada is, its population is relatively small. However, with open markets, natural resources aplenty, an inviting immigration policy and having ranked tied first in “Personal Freedom”, Canada is attracting entrepreneurs from near and far.
The Scandinavian nation comes in at fourth place on the list. Innovation is the country’s strong point – perhaps its decision to stay out of the European Economic and the Monetary Union has served it well. Reliant on international trade to a fairly high extent, Sweden’s citizens’ ability to speak English fluently as a second language has no doubt played in their favour.
The Dutch took third on the list having – much like the Swedes – scored particularly high in the innovation category. As only the sixth largest economy in the Eurozone, aviation through airline KLM has made Amsterdam a major global transportation centre. The Netherlands also produces a fair amount of agricultural products and thus ranks second in the world in terms of exporting it. That is no small feat for the country of only 17.1 million, but through technology and innovation, the country’s economy has made massive strides over the past couple of decades.
The second fastest growing economy on the list, New Zealand is punching well above its weight. In the areas of “Corruption”, “Red Tape”, and “Property Rights”, “Personal Freedoms”, the Kiwis took the top spot. They claimed the second spot in terms of “Monetary Freedom” and “Investor Protection”. It’s also incredibly quick and easy to start a business in New Zealand as the registration process can be done online and takes only one day to complete. The fact that they are quite far away from the US and Europe has not had much of an effect on their recent growth, as the government continues to forge new free trade agreements with countries near and far.
It seems the Brexit shock has had little effect on the desirability and ease of doing business in the UK, at least for now – according to Forbes. Although that could all change once the country fully leaves the European Union. Currently, the UK boasts a well-educated workforce, Europe’s and (by some measurements) the world’s financial hub in London, and a diverse economy with a mixture of manufacturing and services – and all of these factors enable opportunities for many business types to thrive. In Forbes’ rankings, the UK shined most in the “Personal Freedoms” category where it ranked tied first and ‘Technology’ where it came in tied fourth. There is a lot of uncertainty as to what will happen in the years to come, but as for now, the UK is still a highly attractive place to do business.