China has been ranked the fourth-best reformer in terms of the ease of doing
business in 175 economies, following Georgia, Romania and Mexico.
The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private
sector arm of the World Bank Group, which produced the ranking, praised the
nation for speeding up economic reform.
"China has picked up the pace of its reforms, like speeding business entry,
increasing investor protections and reducing red tape in cross-border trading,
during the past year," Caralee McLiesh, an author of the report, said in a video
The report Doing Business 2007: How to Reform said China had reduced the time
taken to register a business from 48 to 35 days and cut the minimum capital
required from 947 per cent to 213 per cent of income per capita, making it
easier for entrepreneurs to start new businesses in the country.
China has also established a credit information registry for consumer loans,
the report said. Now 340 million citizens have credit histories, improving their
access to credit.
Meanwhile, amendments to the company law have strengthened investors'
protection against insider trading and new online customs procedures have made
trade easier by reducing the time it takes to import and export by two days, the
"The recent adoption of the corporate bankruptcy law, though not included in
the measurements for this year's report, is another indication that China is
making significant reforms," said McLiesh.
The reforms helped China up 15 places from a year earlier in an overall
ranking on the ease of doing business. The country now comes in 93rd in the
The ranking is based on 10 indicators: starting a business, dealing with
licences, employing workers, registering property, enforcing contracts, getting
credit, trading across borders, protecting investors, paying taxes and closing a
"China still has a long way to go to upgrade its ranking," said McLiesh.
She highlighted two areas the government needs to further improve to make
doing businesses easier.
One is a further relaxation of regulations surrounding starting a business
and licensing. Businessmen still need to complete 13 procedures and spend 15
days applying for a business licence.
And the new company law requires a minimum capital of 30,000 yuan (US$3,750),
which is still quite expensive, as most countries do not have minimum capital
requirement for start-ups.
The other is a simplification of the tax system. According to McLiesh,
China's tax regime is relatively complex and not transparent. A unified, simple
and transparent tax system would be easier for businesses to comply with. China
is also relatively weak in investor protection and legal infrastructure.
In the report, Singapore was ranked as the easiest place to do business,
followed by New Zealand and the United States.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ranked fifth, up from sixth last
The report said Hong Kong has made reforms including improved investor
protection through greater availability of company documents, simplified
documentation and electronic filing of trade manifests. While more reforms are
needed on property registration and dealing with licences, to provide a better