The favourable tax regime in Hong Kong and its role as a gateway to China have helped it secure top position in rankings that judge a country’s ability to create and maintain an environment that helps businesses remain competitive. The rankings are two-thirds based on statistical data and one-third on an executive opinion survey.
Perhaps the most striking feature of this year’s table is the rise of several Eastern European nations, which are increasingly rivalling their more established Western counterparts in terms of economic competitiveness.
According to the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking, published on Tuesday, the economies of Latvia, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia are among the fastest-improving in the world.
Each has bettered its 2015 position by six places – a rise beaten only by Ireland and the Netherlands – with Latvia moving to 37th, the Slovak Republic to 40th and Slovenia to 43rd.
Prof Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Centre, commented, “The impressive performance of Eastern European economies as a whole is to be welcomed.
“The common pattern among all of the countries in the top 20 is their focus on business-friendly regulation, physical and intangible infrastructure and inclusive institutions. These are qualities that many Eastern European economies are increasingly recognising and embracing, and a breakthrough into the top 20 might not be too far away.”
The Czech Republic, in 27th place, currently ranks as the most competitive economy in Eastern Europe, followed by Lithuania (30), Estonia (31) and Poland (33). By comparison, France is in 32nd place, Spain 34 and Italy 35.
Prof Bris added, “The main driver of the general improvements across Europe is the efficiency of the public sector, which is now recovering in earnest after the financial crisis.