Are you in the midst of planning your business investment in other countries? Try scouting the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, as this regional hotspot has been getting more attention from venture capitalists. According to Russell Investments, APAC continues to both deliver and promise steady economic growth. Its GDP grew overall by 4.75% in 2016; down only fractionally from the previous year so prospects are still high in the region. Here are the top 5 countries that you should consider starting your business in, based on Forbes’ Best Countries for Business 2017 ranking.
#1 New Zealand
Thanks to the internet, starting a business in New Zealand takes only a few hours of an entrepreneur’s time to go through a simple online procedure. Since emerging from a recession in 2009, the scenic country achieved a 2% to 3% annual growth rate. Better yet, World Bank reports that New Zealand is the best country when it comes to protecting minority investors. Its free trade agreements, pro-competition regulations, efficient tax codes, and an open political system are all contributors to its high ranking on our list.
#2 Hong Kong
Although starting a business is becoming more difficult in Hong Kong because of increased registration fees, there is a great deal of protection for minority investors there. The distance to frontier (DTF) score for Hong Kong was 85.05 in 2016 according to Doing Business 2017 report, and ranked number three globally, in terms of ease of starting a business. Hong Kong also received its high ranking due to the simplicity of obtaining construction permits there and conducting trade across the border.
Australia is blessed with low unemployment, contained inflation, very low public debt, as well as a strong and stable financial system. The services sector is the largest part of the Australian economy, accounting for about 70% of its GDP and providing 75% of jobs. Furthermore, Australia is an open market with minimal restrictions on imports of goods and services. Opening up the country’s gates has helped increased productivity, stimulated growth, and has made the economy more flexible and dynamic.
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Ranked number twelve globally, Singapore continues to be the economy with the most business-friendly and secure environment. With a GDP growth at 2%, it’s also worth noting that Singapore has the highest mobile penetration of any nation globally, according to a survey by Deloitte. This means new and exciting opportunities in booming sectors such as e-commerce. Apart from that, the benefits of low tax rates are backed by the government’s support of the Double Taxation Avoidance agreement. This makes it very convenient for non-locals to do business with companies who have also found a base in Singapore.
Located just 150 km off the Chinese coast, Taiwan’s geographical position makes it an excellent meeting point for businesses in the Asia-Pacific region. Apart from having more than 75% households linked to the Internet, the country also has a mature and diverse marketplace for electronic components. This makes it an ideal base for those in the IoT industry. Taiwan officially paid its debt to the IMF in 2011, and has since experienced a very stable economy that hosts a favorable business climate. Unlike other APAC countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, foreign investors can also have 100% ownership in a local company, removing the need to scout for local shareholders before setting up shop there.
To get a more in-depth figures of each country stated, check out Forbes’ list here. Need financial backers with the local know-how to support your venture? We’ve also compiled a list of venture capitalists, investors and accelerators in APAC that might be the right fit for you.