Best countries to do business

Business conditions vary by country. They depend on the company registration process, tax laws, the state of the economy, and even the level of corruption.

Learn more about country ratings that help business people choose jurisdictions for registering companies.

Top countries by ease of doing business

Until 2020, the World Bank compiled the Doing Business rating based on the peculiarities of the business environment in 190 countries around the world. They considered the time required to register a company, the simplicity of various procedures like filing tax returns or obtaining a loan, and other indicators.

The easiest countries to do business in, according to the World Bank’s assessment in 2020:

10. Sweden.

9. Norway.

8. UK.

7. Georgia.

6. USA.

5. South Korea.

4. Denmark.

3. Hong Kong (a special administrative region of China)

2. Singapore.

1. New Zealand.

The top 50 also includes the UAE, Turkey, Austria, Portugal and Spain. These are the countries where investors and financially independent foreigners can obtain residence permits or citizenship.

Countries with the most competitive economies

The level of the country’s economy affects business opportunities. To evaluate it, one must consider several parameters.

The IMD World Competitiveness Center annually publishes the World Competitiveness Yearbook. It covers data on 63 countries and takes 333 competitiveness criteria into account.

The state of the economy, the effectiveness of public administration like tax policy and entrepreneurial legislation, business efficiency, and the quality of infrastructure are considered to distribute places in the ranking.

The top 10 most competitive countries and territories in 2022 are the following:

10. USA.

9. Norway.

8. Finland.

7. Taiwan, China.

6. Netherlands.

5. Hong Kong, China.

4. Sweden.

3. Singapore.

2. Switzerland.

1. Denmark.

The United Arab Emirates ranked 12th, and Austria took 20th place.

Countries committed to the rule-of-law principle

Low corruption and the ability to defend your legal rights in court improve the conditions for doing business and help protect assets.

The WJP Rule of Law Index ranks 140 countries by the rule of law. In 2022, the following states showed the best results:

10. Ireland.

9. Estonia.

8. Luxemburg.

7. New Zealand.

6. Germany.

5. Netherlands.

4. Sweden.

3. Finland.

2. Norway.

1. Denmark.

Austria ranked 11th. The top 50 includes the UK, Spain, the USA, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, the UAE, Greece, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, Grenada, and other countries.

Comparison of citizenship and residency by investment programs

Practical Guide

Comparison of citizenship and residency by investment programs

Highlights about the best country to do business in the world

  1. A number of indicators will come in handy when choosing a country for starting a business. For example, how fast one can register a company, tax burden, economic development, and others. Ratings help to assess them quickly.

  2. The World Bank compiled the Doing Business rating until 2020. It assessed the ease of registering and running a business: for example, whether it is difficult to submit reports, obtain a construction permit or conduct electricity.

  3. New Zealand ranked first in terms of ease of doing business in 2020. The top 50 include the UAE, Turkey, Austria, Portugal and Spain, where wealthy foreigners can obtain residence permits or citizenship.

  4. Denmark has the most competitive economy, according to IMD 2022. The USA ranks 10th, while the UAE takes 12th place.

  5. Denmark leads in the ranking for the rule of law in 2022. The top 50 includes countries with residency and citizenship by investment programs: Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, Malta, the UAE, Greece, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, and Grenada.

Material prepared by an expert

Frequently asked questions

  • Which country has the most business opportunities?

    Switzerland tops U.S. News’s Open for Business ranking. The country is praised for being uncorrupt, non-bureaucratic and transparent in government practices. In addition, it has a favourable tax environment.

    Regarding the ease of doing business, the World Bank puts New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong in the top 3.

    Some countries offer business people an opportunity to become residents by registering a new company or sponsoring an existing local one. Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, and the UAE are among those states. Foreigners can get second passports in Turkey by investing at least $500,000 in a business.

  • What is the cheapest country to start a business?

    According to World Bank’s Doing Business and research by BusinessFinancing.co.uk, Rwanda, Venezuela and Slovenia are the cheapest countries as they don’t have any fees for starting a business. However, Slovenia sets the requirement for the authorised capital of at least €7,500.

    For comparison, starting a business in the UK costs $17. In New Zealand, the leader of the Doing Business ranking, registering a company costs about $43.

    The world’s most expensive country for setting up a business is the UAE, with an average startup cost of $7,445.

  • What are the best types of businesses to start in a foreign country?

    It depends on the region and the chosen country for doing business.

    In Europe, consider reristering a Societas Europea (SE). Such a limited liability company can operate in several EU countries, transfer the head office to another jurisdiction without dissolving the company, and recruit specialists easily.

    In the Caribbean, International Business Companies (IBCs) enjoy tax benefits and can be managed from abroad. Vanuatu offers similar incentives to International Companies (ICs).

    In the UAE and Turkey, registering Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) in free economic zones is usually more profitable.

  • Which country is the best for starting and doing business?

    One must consider various parameters to determine the best country to register a company. For example, ease of doing business, tax rates for legal entities, and the economy’s competitiveness.

    According to the World Bank’s ranking for 2020, it is easiest to do business in New Zealand. The top 5 include Singapore, Hong Kong, Denmark, and South Korea.

    Denmark leads the rankings of economic competitiveness and the rule of law.

  • What are the easiest countries for doing business?

    According to the Doing Business ranking compiled by the World Bank in 2020, it is easiest to do business in the following countries:

    1. Sweden.

    2. Norway.

    3. UK.

    4. Georgia.

    5. USA.

    6. South Korea.

    7. Denmark.

    8. Hong Kong (a special administrative region of China)

    9. Singapore.

    10. New Zealand.

    The UAE, Turkey, Portugal, and Spain also rank high. These are the countries where you can get a residence permit or citizenship by investing in a business and other assets.

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Zlata Erlach
Zlata Erlach

Head of the Austrian office

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