Taiwan falls four spots in World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ rankings

In this Oct. 6., 2017 file photo, Pepper, the humanoid robot by French robotics company Aldebaran Robotics, is seen at an undetermined location of Taishin International Bank (台新銀行). According to the World Bank, Taiwan has placed 15th among 190 economies in the “Doing Business 2018” rankings, down four notches from a year earlier. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) – Taiwan has placed 15th among 190 economies in the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2018” rankings, down four notches from a year earlier, according to the international economic organization.

Taiwan received a score of 80.07 points, up 0.41 points from a year earlier, but it still fell in the rankings after being surpassed by other countries that made progress at a faster pace, according to the report, which was issued on Tuesday.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Taiwan finished sixth for the ease of doing business, behind New Zealand (No. 1 in the world with 86.55 points), Singapore (No. 2; 84.57), South Korea (No. 4; 83.72), Hong Kong (No. 5; 83.44) and Australia (No. 14; 80.14), the report said.

The Doing Business report focuses on 10 areas to assess a country’s business environment: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.

Among the 10 criteria in the World Bank’s report, Taiwan improved in three of them this year. It finished 55th for trading across borders, up from 68th a year ago, 10th for enforcing contracts, up from 14th, and 16th for starting a business, up three notches from last year, according to the World Bank.

The report praised Taiwan for making “exporting easier by allowing different organizations to electronically issue certificates of origins” and making “enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic billing system.” Taiwan performed the best in the category of getting electricity, ranking third in the world, though that was down one spot from a year earlier, according to the report.

Taiwan regressed in the areas of getting credit and paying taxes, falling 28 and 26 notches from a year earlier to 90th and 50th, respectively.

It also slid two spots to 24th and 20th, respectively, in the categories of protecting minority investors and resolving insolvency, the report indicated.

Commenting on the latest World Bank report, National Development Council deputy chief Chiou Jiunn-rong (邱俊榮) said that despite the fall in the rankings, Taiwan still sees about 20,000 small and medium-sized businesses start up operations every year, indicating that the local business environment remains sound.

Also in the 2018 rankings, the United States, the largest economy in the world, took sixth with a score of 82.54 points, while China, the world’s second-largest economy, scored 65.29 points to rank 78th.

The World Bank said the global business regulatory environment has changed dramatically since 2014, making it generally easier to do business in most parts of the world.

“Governments around the world have embraced and nurtured advances in information technology to reduce bureaucratic hurdles and increase transparency,” the World Bank said in the report.

“Today, in 65 of the 190 economies covered by Doing Business, entrepreneurs can complete at least one business incorporation procedure online, compared with only nine of the 145 economies measured in Doing Business 2004,” the organization said. 

By Rita Cheng, Liao Yu-yang, Chen Cheng-wei and Frances Huang