Business / Economy

Deloitte chairman: Doing business 'needs to be easier'

By ZHENG YANGPENG (China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-02 10:51

Deloitte chairman: Doing business 'needs to be easier'

Steve Almond, global chairman of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. [Photo/China Daily]

Foreign investors should take a longer-term view of investing in China, even if that means thinner margins, cut-throat competition, stricter regulations and curbs on cross-border capital flow.

That is according to Steve Almond, global chairman of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd, the world's largest professional service company.

Almond said that despite the country moving rapidly up what he calls the "competitiveness index", there is still a fair way to go on the comparable "ease of doing business index".

Of the 189 economies around the world examined by the World Bank in 2014, China ranked 90th in terms of "ease of doing business". However, it was ranked 28th in terms of "global competitiveness", by the World Economic Forum.

"What those indexes measure are just the kinds of questions concerning any foreign investor: how easy is it to start a business? how easy is it to get a building permit? how easy is it to do contracting work?" he told China Daily at the sidelines of the recent Boao Forum for Asia. Deloitte is a longtime partner of the forum.

"If you look at the economies at the top of the 'ease of doing business' index, they also have the highest GDP per capita, standard of living and so on."

Almond said some of his companies have told him privately that despite years of strong operation and expanding sales in China, they are still not making money.

"So you've got to take a long-term view when you invest here," he said.

Lawrence Chia, chief executive officer of Deloitte China, said that for many multinationals, getting involved in the Chinese market is just about compulsory.

"If you look at a country with the world's second-largest economy, and soon to become the largest, big international players simply cannot afford not to be here."

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