China is now one of the top 50 economies in the world for ease of doing business due to a record number of reforms carried out last year, according to a report released by the World Bank yesterday.
“China advanced to a global ranking of 46 this year, up from 78 last year, as the country implemented the largest number of reforms in the East Asia and Pacific region,” the report said.
Bert Hofman, World Bank country director for China, said: “China has made rapid progress in improving its business climate for domestic small and medium enterprises in the past year. The progress signals the value the government places on nurturing entrepreneurship and private enterprise.”
China’s reforms in areas including cutting administrative red tape earned the country a spot in this year’s top 10 global improvers, according to the report. Progress made in the areas of starting a business and getting electricity was particularly impressive.
Since last year, three procedures were removed and consequently it now takes nine days to start a business, on par with most OECD high-income countries. “Beijing is now one of only two cities in the world where the process of starting a business is completely free. China is now ranked 28 in the area of starting a business,” the report said.
Getting an electricity connection is also entirely free in China. Japan and the United Arab Emirates are the only two other countries in the world to have this distinction. As a result, China has earned a global rank of 14 in the area of getting electricity.
The time to obtain an electricity connection was also reduced thanks to the roll-out of a new mobile application for customers.
China also remains one of the best economies in the world to resolve a commercial dispute. It takes 496 days and costs 16 percent of the value of the claim, far better than the OECD high-income average of 582 days and 21 percent.
Despite progress made since last year, China still has room for improvement in terms of dealing with construction permits, with a global rank of 121 in the area.
China also improved its building quality control by introducing stricter qualification requirements for professionals in the construction industry and improving public access to information. This reform applies to both Beijing and Shanghai, the World Bank report said.
The two major Chinese cities have also been instrumental in carrying out reforms that have reduced the time and cost to export and import by implementing a single window, eliminating administrative charges, increasing transparency and encouraging competition.
More importantly, the report states that China strengthened minority investor protections by increasing shareholders’ rights and role in major corporate decisions, clarifying ownership and control structures and requiring reimbursement of legal expenses incurred by shareholders.