Every year over USD 1 trillion is distributed worldwide in the form of foreign direct investment. Investments by foreign investors and entrepreneurs are of significant value to the country and are seen as a sign of a healthy economic, political and legal environment. When it comes to investing your money, some countries are simply better than others. It depends on numerous factors such as the country's overall economy and growth prospects, political stability, taxation and the overall legal system, the complexity of starting a business, opening an account and the workforce.
In this article, we summarize three jurisdictions in terms of benefits and other features crucial to foreign investors. These countries have already proven their ability to attract multinationals and other investments, but when it comes to choosing the right place to invest, each country is different and might be better than others in one or more factors.
The first country to be analyzed is Singapore, which ranks 2nd among the best countries for investment and 15th among the best countries in the world in the US News Best Countries Ranking developed in cooperation with its international partners .
Located in Southeast Asia, Singapore is a bustling metropolis and home to one of the busiest ports in the world. As one of Asia's four economic tigers, the country has experienced impressive growth in recent years thanks to efficient production and manufacturing processes and innovations in the pharmaceutical and electronics industries. High GDP per capita and low unemployment make Singapore one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. While Hong Kong is often considered as a separate entity from China, it is not a country and therefore enters all lists and rankings under the name of China. China takes 26th place among best countries to invest in and 20th place among best countries in general.
Hong Kong’s legal system is characterised by the strict adherence to principles and the rule of law. It operates a free trade economic system and promotes minimal government interference in most sections of the economy. This reflects on the small number of tariffs and duties on traded goods and therefore it is a better place for investments than other parts of China.
Foreign investments are attracted by promoting a favourable investment climate with low taxes, few restrictions and additional incentives to encourage investments. Corporate profits tax rate is 16.5% with a possibility to waive 75% of the tax. There is no tax levied on dividends.
Company incorporation is a simple and fast-forward process. All applications for company incorporation also include an application for the business registry. The application can be submitted online and the processing generally takes one hour (as opposed to four days if the application is submitted in hard copy).
Due to its impressive growth and increasing immigration, Singapore attracts the best professionals to its workforce. The country offers cultural diversity and, with four official languages, is an important gateway for international trade.
The corporate tax rate is 17%, but it can be reduced by taking advantage of numerous government subsidies, incentives, and other programs.
Singapore's legal system is known for its integrity, efficiency and fairness, making the country better than many as a place to start and operate a business. The World Bank Group has recognized Singapore's political and regulatory environment as the most business-friendly in the world.
Least Corrupt Country in Asia;
Best IP protection in Asia;
Most popular country for arbitration in Asia.
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates or UAE is listed as the 22nd best country in the world and is not mentioned among the best countries for investment according to the above ranking.
Before the discovery of oil in the mid-20th century, the UAE's economy was mainly based on fishing and the pearling industry. The country experienced rapid growth and general transformation along with the start of oil exports in the 1960s. Today the country's GDP can be compared to that of leading European countries and the World Economic Forum has named the UAE the most competitive place in the Arab world.
When incorporating a company in the United Arab Emirates, foreign investors can choose between offshore or onshore registration, whichever is more suitable for the type of company and the activities planned. Onshore registration means that the investor establishes a business presence on the UAE mainland. Offshore registration usually refers to a business presence in one of the UAE's free trade zones.
The UAE does not levy corporate income tax at the federal level. However, most Emirates have some corporate income taxation and can even reach 55% for certain industries. In practice, corporate income tax is mainly levied on gas and oil companies and branches of foreign banks.
The UAE is among the most liberal places in the Gulf with a legal system that allows freedom of religion;
No sales tax or VAT but with plans to introduce it in the future;
In addition to traditional banking, Islamic (or Sharia-compliant) banking has seen tremendous growth in recent times.