Forbes’ most recent list of the best countries in the world to do business has some surprises on it and a few other places you might expect. Knowing which regions offer the best chance for successful global expansion is important for any business looking to grow internationally. However, these rankings are no long-term guarantee – anyone in the U.S. or Eurozone will tell you how quickly things can change. Stability and projected growth are important, but there are other factors that also play a part. This is no exhaustive list of every good place for commerce in the world, but it does outline a few of the best and provide some details on why they’re so business-friendly.
“Denmark perennially ranks No. 1 on the Corruption Perceptions Index.”
The Danes earned top honors for the Forbes Best Countries for Business list in 2014 and it’s been at or near the top in previous iterations. So what makes Denmark so desirable for companies to open up shop? To begin with, the nation perennially ranks No. 1 on the Corruption Perceptions Index – meaning it has the least corrupt politics and businesses of any country on earth. The nation’s capital, Copenhagen, also boasts Europe’s most efficient airport, according to Invest in Denmark. And as a leader in sustainable resources like wind power, Danes enjoy stable and affordable energy.
2. Hong Kong
The Asian market has huge resources that any company with its eye on global mobility would be foolish to ignore. If yours does regular business with that part of the world, Hong Kong can be the platform from which your business reaches clients in mainland China, Korea, India and Japan. Recently, China has opened up the scope of the offshore renminbi, albeit gradually, according to Export.gov. Still not convinced? Hong Kong has no customs tariff, low excise duties and as of 2013, over 1,300 U.S. businesses had subsidiaries located there.
3. New Zealand
The home of the kiwi ranked third on the Forbes list and it share some of the same benefits of the first two regions. Like Denmark, New Zealand has a low level of corruption – No. 2 on the CPI for 2013. On the other hand, like Hong Kong, proximity to Asian markets offers easy access to several other thriving economies. But New Zealand also has unique attributes, like no payroll or capital gains tax and flexible immigration policies, says New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. For companies located in the U.S. or U.K., there is also no language barrier for expansion to New Zealand.
The Emerald Isle’s rise to the top of lists like Forbes’ was something few might have predicted several years ago. In 2013, Ireland ranked No. 1 on the Forbes list, but slid a few spots to No. 4 in 2014. This, despite a 2010 bailout from European governments to the tune of $113 billion following the Recession. Ireland is still far from perfect but it is nonetheless an exceedingly business-friendly nation. Its strength lies in its high marks on each of the 11 metrics Forbes used to rank countries – Ireland was the only nation to score in the top 15 percent for each one. A number of major U.S. tech companies are headquartered in Dublin, like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Before your business settles on a region in which to expand, it should use all available resources to determine the best fit. Global mobility services can offer a helping hand, as can independent research on which international markets offer stability and business-centric policies. In addition, make sure your business has what it takes to begin global expansion before you take the plunge.
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