Best nations to do business

October 7, 2008

1. Singapore – Singapore kept its top ranking for the third year in a row as the easiest place in the world to do business. The Asian city-state edged out New Zealand and the United States in the ‘Doing Business 2009’ ranking. Along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, Singapore is one of the Four Asian Tigers. Singapore’s economy depends heavily on exports refining imported goods, especially in manufacturing. Thousands of foreign expatriates work here in multi-national corporations. The city-state employs thousands of blue-collared workers across the globe.

2. New Zealand- New Zealand has a developed economy with an estimated nominal GDP of $128.1 billion as on 2008. The country has a very high standard of living. New Zealand’s service sector is the largest sector in the economy, followed by manufacturing and construction and the farming/raw materials extraction. New Zealand is heavily dependent on free trade, particularly in agricultural products.

3. USA- The American economy is under terrible stress at the moment.  A series of events in United States, including the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Bank of America agreeing to buy Merrill Lynch for $44 billion, has shaken up the global financial markets. There could be several more developments over the next few months that might make things more difficult. Thousands will lose their jobs in the global financial sector as many companies have witnessed the fastest drop in business levels, profitability and confidence in almost two decades.  Initial estimates say that the unprecedented crisis in the global financial services industry will lead to more than 250,000 jobs being lost globally. And economists say that this figure is ‘very conservative.’ The eventual number of jobs that will actually be lost could be much higher, they say. The fiscal hurricane that originated in the United States has soon spread panic and gloom across the world markets. European companies have already announced layoffs, while some Asian companies too have done the same. However, some relief came with the US Congress approving a revised $700 billion package to bail out the beleaguered financial sector of the country.

4. Hong Kong- Hong Kong is one of the world’s leading financial centers.  It is one of the four Asian tigers known for its high growth rate and rapid industrialization. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is the sixth largest in the world, with a market capitalization of $2.97 trillion as on October 2007. It is an important centre for international finance and trade, with the greatest concentration of corporate headquarters in the Asia-Pacific region.

5. Denmark- Denmark has a GDP per capita higher than that of most European countries, and 15-20% higher than that of the United States. Denmark is one of the most competitive economies in the world according to World Economic Forum 2008 report, IMD, and The Economist. Denmark’s market economy features efficient markets, above average European living standards, and high amount of free trade. Denmark is home to many multinational companies. Among them: A P Moller-Maersk Group, Lego, Bang & Olufsen, Carlsberg, Vestas, Novozymes and the pharmaceutical companies Lundbeck and Novo Nordisk deserve special mention

6. Britain- The British economy is made up (in descending order of size) of the economies of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In the 1980s, during Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s tenure, most state-owned enterprises were privatized. The British government now owns very few industries or businesses — Royal Mail is one of the very few examples. In the post World War II period, the British economy recorded chronic weak growth. However, in recent years Britain has seen the longest period of economic growth. It has grown in every quarter since 1992.  It is one of the strongest EU economies in terms of inflation, interest rates and unemployment, all of which remain relatively low. The country’s GDP as of 2007, stands at $2.772 trillion.

7. Ireland- The economy of the Republic of Ireland is modern and trade-dependent with growth averaging a 7% per annum in 1995-2007. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry, which accounts for 46% of GDP, about 80% of exports, and employs 29% of the labour force. Ireland has the second highest per capita income of any country in the EU next to Luxembourg, and fourth highest in the world based on measurements of gross domestic product per capita

8. Canada- Canada is one of the world’s wealthiest nations, and a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and Group of Eight. As with other developed nations, the Canadian economy is dominated by the service industry, which employs about three quarters of Canadians. The country’s GDP as of 2007 stands at $1.274 trillion. Canada has a sizable manufacturing sector, centered in Central Canada, the automobile industry being especially important.

9. Austria- The economy of the Republic of Austria may be characterized as a social market economy similar in structure with that of Germany. In 2004 Austria was the fourth richest country within the European Union, having a GDP per capita of approximately Euro27’666, with Luxembourg, Ireland, and Netherlands leading the list. In the post World War II era, Austria has achieved sustained economic growth. In the crisis-ridden 1950s, the rebuilding efforts for Austria lead to an average annual growth rate of more than 5 per cent in real terms and averaged about four point five per cent through most of the 1960s.

10. Norway- The economy of Norway has shown robust growth since the start of the industrial era. Shipping has long been a support of Norway’s export sector, but much of Norway’s economic growth has been fueled by an abundance of natural resources, including petroleum exploration and production, hydroelectric power, and fisheries. Norway is among the most expensive countries in the world, as reflected in the Big Mac Index. Historically, transportation costs and barriers to free trade had caused the disparity, but in recent years, Norwegian policy with respect to labor relations, taxation, etc, have contributed significantly.

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World’s top business centers

June 12, 2008

According to a study titled ‘MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index, the following are the top business centers of the world. All the cities have been rated on seven different parameters, including legal and political framework, economic stability, ease of doing business, financial flow, business centre, financial flow, knowledge creation and information flow and livability, MasterCard said.

#1: London

At rank 1, London reigns supreme among the top commercial cities of the world. London scores highest in the financial flow, knowledge creation and information flow. London is also ranked high in the business centre criteria. It is ranked 3rd in terms of ease of doing business and 9th in legal and political framework. London did not fare as well in livability criteria (rank 24th), and economic stability (rank 20th). A strong economy and a vibrant financial market are its strengths.

#2. New York

New York ranks second in the list of top global business centers. These global cities connect markets and commercial activity across the world. New York is ranked top in North America. It beats London in the legal and political framework dimension and economic stability and livability. New York, however, ranks lower in financial flow and business center dimension.

#3. Tokyo

Tokyo ranks third in the list of top ‘Worldwide Centers of Commerce’. More and more Asian cities rapidly growing attracting big business and a place in the global business world. Tokyo scores very well in the dimensions of financial flow, business centre, livability and knowledge creation and information flow where also it was ranked 3rd. However, Tokyo scored considerably lower than London and New York in legal and political framework, economic stability and ease of doing business

#4. Singapore

Singapore ranks fourth in the list of top business centers. Two Asian cities top the list in terms of ease of doing business. Singapore tops with an index value of 82.82 and in terms of business centers, Singapore is ranked at the third spot with an index value of 62.58.

#5. Chicago

Chicago ranks fifth in the list of top business centers in the world. In terms of knowledge creation and information flow, Chicago ranks among the top 10. More universities, MBA programmes, research institutions and numbers of researchers drive this dimension of knowledge creation.

#6. Hong Kong

Hong Kong ranks sixth in the list of top commercial centers. In terms of ease of doing business, Hong Kong is ranked second with an index value of 80.37. Cities in Asia were not generally major centers of commerce in the second half of the 20th century, with the exception of Tokyo and subsequently Hong Kong and Singapore.

The very strong rise of Shanghai in the 2008 Index reflects the equally spectacular rise of China. While Shanghai was likely the dominant Asian commercial centre before World War II, it faded for many decades until China’s economic reforms of the 1980s catapulted it back to global prominence, the report states.

#7. Paris

Paris ranks seventh among top global business centers. In Europe, it ranks at No. 2 after London. With a score of 79.17, London tops the list in Europe also but there is a big gap between it and other cities, Paris has a score of 63.87 and Madrid has a score of 58.34.

#8. Frankfurt

Frankfurt has slipped to No. 8 among the world’s top commercial centers. It stood in the seventh spot in 2007. The city ranks at No. 3 among European cities.

#9. Seoul

Seoul ranks ninth among the world’s top financial centers. The booming Chinese and Indian economies reflect the economic power to Asia. The strong presence of Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa cities is further evidence of the growing influence of the region not just in manufacturing and services, but also in broadly based commercial strength, the study said

#10. Amsterdam

Amsterdam ranks tenth among the list of top commercial centers in the world. It ranks among the top ten in legal and political framework. It also ranks high in the business centers criteria and economic stability.