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3 Best Asian Countries to Start Your Business

There is a world of opportunities out there, especially for people who want to set up their own businesses. Long ago, only a handful of countries are considered as power nations when it comes to economic matters. The business industry is only limited to those who have enough finances. But now, the playing field has leveled and Asian countries are slowly becoming power houses when it comes to business matters.

While news of economic slowdowns is constantly on the mainstream, businesses and consumers are still out in force. Forbes Magazine has identified several countries in Asia where businesses thrive and continue to progress and develop which include Singapore, Hongkong, and Philippines. These three countries have posted steady and stable GDP growth. Moreover, the cost of living in these countries is relatively lower compared to their American and European counterparts.

Doing business in Singapore

Overall, Singapore is one of the most industrialized and successful countries in Asia. Many businessman and entrepreneurs favor doing business in Singapore because of its highly urbanized setting. In 2009, Doing Business Project gave Singapore full ranks when it comes to the following: employing workers, ease of doing business, and trading across borders.

I.    Foreign Ownership

The country is top when it comes to doing business because of its high environment and also because the economy of Singapore is based on free enterprise. Meaning, there is no restrictions when it comes to foreign ownership of business.

II.    Taxation

When it comes to taxation, businesses in Singapore are friendly making it ideal for company development because one can easily file and pay taxes. Compared to other developed countries in the world, the country has low corporate tax rates. Thus, foreign investors will find it easy to manage and establish their own business in Singapore.

Moreover, the government of Singapore continues to promote its economy by giving tax incentives to companies who are always paying their dues on time. Another thing that makes businesses in Singapore thrive is that the country has 18 free trade agreements with some of the world’s leading nations, lowering the cost of doing business and at the same time eliminating tariffs.

III.    Labor And Social Security

In Singapore, all employers abide by the country’s Employment Act. it contains information about terms and conditions employment, maternity benefits, annual leave entitlement, maximum working hours and minimum notice periods.

The labor law is established to protect the employees of the country. An employee is defined as a “person who entered into works or under contract and earns a basic gross salary of not more than SS1, 600,” according to Singapore’s labor law.

IV.    Employment

Once an individual gets employed by a Singaporean employee, he/she is obliged to contribute to the Central Provident Fund (CPF). The employers too are required to pay. The CPF is compulsory for all employees. It is like a savings plan for Singaporean residents and citizens. When the employee reaches the age retirement, he/she will get money that can be used for healthcare, family protection, basic needs, and home ownership. Foreigners are no longer permitted to make voluntary assistance.

V.    Employee Safety

Employers are mandated by the Singaporean government and law to create a hazard free working environment for all its employees. The Factories Act clearly explains in detail all the necessary things and standards that employers must upheld in order to make their company safe. Employers are also mandated by law to provide health insurance as well as accident coverage under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Establishing your company in Hong Kong

Coming in close to Singapore, Hong Kong is an emerging country too when it comes to doing businesses. As a matter of fact when the economic crisis hit the world, Hong Kong is one of the countries that recovered quickly from the effects of it. Factors such as political stability, business incentives, and low tax rates contributed to the recovering process of the government. Add to that their adaption of the free market environment.

When it comes to productivity of employees, people from Hong Kong are among some of the most skilled and professional workers. They have a very good attitude towards work, and the fact that they can speak English makes the country a good place to establish a business.

I.    Foreign Ownership

Hong Kong is one of the easiest places in the world for those who want to establish a business because of their independent trade policies. Business owners will enjoy the low start up cost that they need to jumpstart their business. As well as the low taxes asked by the government.

II.    Taxation

Hong Kong’s minimum corporate tax stands at 16.5 percent, with income tax at only 15 percent. This is because the country ranks third when it comes to having the lowest tax burden in the world. Another favorable thing for business owners is that there is no added tax on sales, capital gains, withholding tax, dividends tax, as well as individual estate task.

Moreover, there are no sales tax, no value added tax, and no capital gains tax in Hong Kong.

III.    Labor and Social Security

Employees in Hong Kong continue to enjoy improved working conditions since the enactment of the labor legislation program. About 42 different laws are now being followed in Hong Kong as they aim to apply international labor standards in all offices in the country.

IV.    Employment

Businesses are strictly forbidden from not following the code of employment. The Hong Kong government sees to it that the rules surrounding payment of wages, operation of employment agencies, and termination of contracts are followed. There are also laws regarding severance pay for workers as well as long-service payment to employees who are dismissed from work.

There are also special enforcement teams that inspect whether the employers’ are complying with the state rules and regulations both for foreign and local workers and employers.

V.    Employee Safety

The Labor Department of Hong Kong promotes the well being of all the employees. Thus, when it comes to safety and reducing accidents, they have legislative control as well as safety education, training, and promotion.

The Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance and the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance 31 list down all the necessary standards that employers should abide to make sure that there will be no or at least lesser work related accidents.

Investing In Philippines

The Philippines is slowly becoming one of the best outsource service providers in the world. Many western based companies consider Philippines as a top choice when it comes to outsourcing primarily because of cheap labor and the work quality that Filipinos provide. In terms of technology and internet use, the Filipinos are at par with other developed nations.

Why is it good to invest in the Philippines? If you are a foreign investor, you will benefit with the expertise of the Filipinos when it comes to familiarity with the western culture. Moreover, their ability to understand and communicate fluently in English is a big plus.

I.    Foreign Ownership

For foreign investors who want to consider establishing their outsourcing business in the Philippines, you need to apply for business permit and complete all the necessary documents that you are required to do. Just like Singapore, the Philippines have an open and free enterprise with other countries, making it easy for foreign investors to come and start their business. The country’s GDP in 2008 is much higher than Singapore and Hong Kong with a growth of 5.7 percent from 5.4 percent in 2007.

Applying for business permits can be done through visiting Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industries. They handle all applications as well as the nationwide registry of businesses.

II.    Taxation

The cost of living in the Philippines is relatively low compared to other developing countries, thus the minimum wage in this country is cheaper too with the average of $9 a day. This is less than the rate in United States. Foreign companies can save by as much as 30 to 40 percent should they invest in the Philippines. Businesses are taxed by the country’s Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on a yearly basis depending on the earnings of the company for a particular fiscal year.

The country allows 100 percent foreign ownership in various businesses and sectors. Corporate companies may be charged from 5 to 30 percent overall tax depending on their location. There are also duty free importation of certain goods and materials.

III.    Labor and Social Security

Filipino employees are required to contribute to the Social Security System (SSS). This is just like the CPF of Singapore, where a portion of your salary should be deposited to your member fund. This will enable you to load money in case of emergency, disasters, as well as maternity benefits for expecting female employees. The Philippines has a strong labor code that provides for fair treatment of employees, likewise the government gives tremendous support to foreign shareholders and welcomes investments openly.

IV.    Employment

Minors are not allowed to work, without getting a working permit from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Those who are hired must comply with the company’s requirements which include police clearance, medical certificate, transcript of records, and graduation diploma as well as a letter of recommendation from previous employers.
However, those who want to establish their own businesses must go through the same procedures mandated by the DTI.

V.    Employee Safety

Employers are encouraged to provide their workers with the basic healthcare insurance provided by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC). There are also some employers that give medical cards to their employees as part of their benefits.

These countries may not be the wealthiest nations in the world but they sure are some of the best and the easiest countries to kickoff your most aspired businesses.