Thanks to continued advancements in technology, the world is more connected than ever before. Sharing information, shipping products, communicating and travelling has never been easier. Thanks to all of this, the entire world is now open for business.
Entrepreneurs and investors have never had so much freedom to decide where to start their business or invest their money. Many countries all around the globe are thriving with opportunities to start a new business. But, some stand out more than others.
We analysed the best countries for doing international business based on factors like ease of doing business, infrastructure, cost of living and attitude towards expats. Here are the top 10 countries for global business.
Singapore gained independence in 1965, and since then has gone from being one of the world’s poorest countries to one of the richest on per capita income. Singapore’s incredible economic growth owes a lot to foreign investment, and has always been a hospitable place for expatriates. Currently, around 40% of Singapore’s population is of foreign origin.
The country experiences a unique level of political stability, with the People’s Action Party being in power since independence. As a result, the Singapore Dollar has remained strong and unemployment has remained low.
In 2015, along with the other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Singapore formed the ASEAN Economic Community. This community have strong trade links with each other, as well as other major nations. These nations include Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.
The Netherlands has a long history of economic strength and as a nation of trade. Having once had colonies on five continents, the Dutch remain internationally-minded and are extremely welcoming towards non-nationals.
As its sixth largest economy, The Netherlands is a key member of the European Union. The country plays an important role as a European transportation hub, as it is home to some of Europe’s largest ports, airports and roadways. This makes it an excellent location to operate from as a strategic gateway to European markets.
Apart from location and infrastructure, the country’s commercial attractiveness is also helped by a variety of international tax treaties with nations worldwide. To read more about Dutch tax treaties, click here.
Switzerland is famous for its magical scenery. But, due to a limited amount of natural resources, it has had to look in other directions to become prosperous.
The Swiss economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services and the tech manufacturing industry. Many of these skilled workers are foreign nationals – with roughly a quarter of the country’s population born overseas.
Switzerland is located in the heart of Europe, has a long tradition of political stability, exceptional infrastructure and low corporate tax rates – making it an ideal country to locate in when trying to delve into European markets. But, perhaps the biggest attraction for foreign investors are the famous discreet Swiss banking services.
However, in recent years, Switzerland has been put under increased pressure from trading partners to reform bank secrecy laws. The Swiss recently agreed to conform to OECD regulations on administrative assistance in tax matters, including tax evasion.
Hong Kong established its business reputation during the days of British colonial rule, when investors benefited from (in comparison to China’s) relaxed British economic policies and laws.
It was handed back to China in 1997, and obtained status as a Special Administrative Region. This allowed more economic freedom and to continue to be a popular place for companies to list shares.
There is a free market economy that is highly dependent on international trade and finance – so it has no tariffs on imported goods, and levies excise duties on just four commodities (whether imported or produced locally): hard alcohol, tobacco, oil and methyl alcohol. However, something that may concern foreigners wishing to do business in Hong Kong is the very high cost of living.
The United States has the world’s largest economy, and the US Dollar is the world’s most traded currency and largest reserve currency. US companies are at the forefront in technological advances, especially in computers, pharmaceuticals, aerospace and military equipment.
There is a long-held belief that if you can make it in the United States, you can make it anywhere – this plays a huge role in the US remaining a magnet for foreign entrepreneurs.
As capitalism is dominant in the US, private individuals and business firms make most of the important decisions. Both the federal and state governments buy goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace.
American businesses also enjoy greater flexibility than many counterparts worldwide – particularly in Western Europe and Japan – in decisions to expand capital plant, to lay off workers and to develop new products.
Germany is currently the strongest economy in the European Union, and the fourth strongest in the world. Germany has overcome a difficult history to become one of the world’s most open societies.
The fall of the Berlin Wall brought with it significant cultural change, and ever since, Germany has been progressing as one of the most diverse and inclusive countries in the world. Many German cities are now ranked highly among the world’s best in terms of the quality of life.
Apart from the quality of life they would experience in Germany, investors are attracted by the country’s powerful industrial network, strategic location in the center of the European continent and a highly skilled workforce. It is worth noting, however, that Germany imposes relatively high tax rates on both individuals and businesses.
Ireland has always been a nation famed for its hospitality, and in recent years a continued increase in liberal attitudes towards social issues has added to Ireland’s attractiveness.
The country has a highly skilled workforce, which was also recently voted as the world’s most productive. But, the workforce and location on the edge of the European market are not the only reasons businesses locate here. The country attracts massive foreign investment with some of the lowest statutory corporate income tax rates in the EU (12.5%).
Many of the world’s leading companies such as Facebook, Google and Ebay all have their European headquarters in Dublin – and more could follow once the United Kingdom leaves the EU.
But with Brexit looming, possible changes to international taxation policies could affect Ireland’s revenues. This, and capital city Dublin’s current housing crisis, could cause issues for some companies and investors.
While some countries are becoming more nationalistic, Canada remains a liberal democracy. It is a highly welcoming place for skilled immigrants – nearly 25% of Canada’s current population were born overseas.
Since World War II, Canada has seen impressive growth in the manufacturing sector – and now is a strong tech hub. This continued growth has transformed Canada from a largely rural economy into one that is primarily industrial/urban.
Canada’s economic strength comes thanks largely to strong trade links with its neighbour. The 1989 Canada-US Free Trade Agreement and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) dramatically increased trade and economic integration between the US and Canada.
Foreign investors and owners may be attracted to Canada by highly skilled workers and having the largest market in the world on your doorstep, but it’s not all plain sailing. Canada’s exporters benefit from, but are also vulnerable to economic and political trends from the states, and political relations between the two nations have seen better days.
Ever since opening its doors to the world in the late 1970s, China has moved from a closed system to a market-oriented one that plays a huge role globally. China’s economy is a blend of state control and a highly competitive free market. It is currently ranked as the second strongest in the world.
It comes as no surprise to learn that China is now the fourth-largest recipient of foreign direct investment, as investors try to access this massive economy and its position as an export powerhouse.
However, since late 2015 the Chinese Government has strengthened capital controls and oversight of overseas investments to better manage the exchange rate and maintain financial stability. Foreign companies typically repatriate profits by issuing dividends. Overseas investors must share intellectual property with Chinese business partners as the price of admission into the domestic market.
Once the centre of a worldwide empire, and the world’s leading nation when it came to trade – the UK is currently Europe’s third largest economy. In previous years, the UK may have been much higher on this list. Now there’s a case that it’s lucky to be included at all.
London was seen by many as the financial capital of Europe, but with the UK voting to withdraw from the European Union, banks and other financial companies have shifted at least £800 billion worth of assets out of the country.
Thanks to Brexit, the current political climate in the UK is far from stable. Nationalism is rife, and there is potential that the value of the pound will drop significantly in the event of no deal being made with the EU.
Both of these factors may deter foreign investors, but there is one advantage of Brexit for potential investors. Prices at the top end of the London property market have dropped steeply. This has made the United Kingdom a cheaper place to invest in. This leaves investors in a good place should the UK’s economy and the pound’s value grow again.
How to send money overseas when establishing an international business
One of the most popular ways to transfer money internationally is bank wire transfer.
Unfortunately it can take around 5 business days for the recipient to receive their funds. Wire transfers are also very expensive, especially when it comes to international payments. This is due to high bank fees and a poor exchange rate the sender is being charged.
They also require gathering a lot of information, and oftentimes, an annoying trip to the bank.
The better alternative would be to make an online payment. Online payments are able to process much quicker than wire transfers. But banks and other financial services can still rip you off with high fees and FX rates.
Here at REMITR, we can solve all your international payment problems. Our service allows companies to send money to over 150 countries worldwide at any time. With REMITR, you get the best live foreign exchange rate – regardless of banking hours.
We also offer you guaranteed savings. It costs just $5 to most countries – no matter how much money you want to send!
The beneficiary receives all the money that you send; we don’t charge any sneaky receiver fees when you send to them in their local currency.
Time is money – save them both by getting in touch with REMITR today.