Hong Kong Cited as World’s Freest Economy

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Jan. 13 – The American Heritage Foundation, in a survey conducted in tandem with The Wall Street Journal,  has just released the 17th edition of their annual Index of Economic Freedom which measures the degree of freedom in 183 global economies.

Hong Kong retains first position, just ahead of Singapore in second place. It is an astonishing 17 years in a row that the territory has finished in the pole position. Mainland China, by comparison, came 135th. India ranked 124th, Russia 143rd, Brazil 113th, and Indonesia 116th, each indicative of their positions as emerging economies.

However, Taiwan also ranked highly, at 25th, as did Macau in 19th position. Mauritius, from where much Indian round tripping investment passes for tax concessions in much the same way that Hong Kong serves China, came in 12th position.

Hong Kong’s position as leader was due in the main to its leading the world in global business, fiscal, investment, and property freedoms, although the Foundation did warn that this was in danger of being eroded by a proposed competition law and the introduction of a minimum wage during 2011. Potential dangers of Chinese interference with Hong Kong’s freedoms were also a concern, although those same issues had arisen at the time of Hong Kong’s handover in 1997.

The top 10 performing economies were as follows:

All of the BRIC economies had shown small gains over the previous survey. The full list can be viewed here.

Dezan Shira & Associates maintain an office in Hong Kong and can assist with the structuring of Hong Kong companies for the China market. Please contact the firm at hongkong@dezshira.com or download the practice’s brochure here.

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