Make It

This is still the easiest place to do business

Tourists take in a cable car take in the sights at Sentosa Island, Singapore
Getty Images

Singapore has held on to its decade-long place at the top of the World Bank's ranking of the easiest places to do business, according to the latest survey.

The rankings, released in October, examine 11 different factors affecting businesses, including starting a business, paying taxes, enforcing contracts and getting construction permits.

"Singapore continues to be the economy with the most business-friendly regulation," the report said. Resolving a commercial dispute in Singapore's courts generally takes just 150 days, the shortest time in the world, and costs around 26 percent of the claim's value. In Myanmar (No. 167 on the list), it would take more than three years and fees would run more than half the disputed value, the report said.

In the U.S., which remained stuck in seventh place ranking this year, enforcing a contract typically took around 420 days and cost nearly 31 percent of the claim, the report noted.

In Singapore, "efficient dispute resolution is paired with good institutions (such as specialized courts), effective case management and sophisticated court automation tools. And litigants can submit their claim online, pay court fees online and serve the initial summons electronically," the report said.

Overall, the top 20 countries in the ranking remained largely the same. Georgia and Switzerland dropped out of the top 20 and Lithuania and Macedonia stepped up.

The rankings are a complex business. For example, the report noted in Saudi Arabia (No. 82), it takes less than a week to transfer a commercial property from one business to another, with no fees, but information on land administration lacks transparency and disputes can take more than three years to resolve.

But in France (No. 27), where property transfers could take as much as 49 days and cost around 6 percent of the property value, fully digital records mean information about land boundaries is easily available and disputes are usually resolved within two years.

Overall, ease of doing business does not mean less regulation, the report noted.

"The best 30 performers are not those with little regulation but those with good rules that allow efficient and transparent functioning of businesses and markets while protecting the public interest," said Kaushik Basu, chief economist at the World Bank, in the report.

Additionally, "economies that rank well on the ease of doing business also score well on such measures as the Global Competitiveness Index and Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index," the report said.

Here's a look at the World Bank's full top 20:

1. Singapore
2. New Zealand
3. Denmark
4. South Korea
5. Hong Kong, SAR
6. United Kingdom
7. United States
8. Sweden
9. Norway
10. Finland
11. Taiwan
12. Macedonia
13. Australia
14. Canada
15. Germany
16. Estonia
17. Ireland
18. Malaysia
19. Iceland
20. Lithuania