Singapore remains best place to do business: EIU

Singapore is still the best place to do business in the world for the next five years, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The country beat Switzerland in second spot and rival Hong Kong - ranked third - to retain its top spot in the EIU's Business Environment Rankings study, which asseses the attractiveness of 82 different locations worldwide.

Singapore was also in first place for the study done for the five-year period up to last year (2009-2013).

As for the rest of Southeast Asia, Malaysia came in at 19th, a marked improvement from 24th place last year. Thailand trailed next at 34th.

Other countries in the top 10 include the United States (7th), Sweden (6th) and newcomer New Zealand (8th). The latter was ranked 11th previously.

Germany, previously ranked 10th, slipped to 12th.

The report said Asian countries that did well had similar characteristics, including a favourable policy environment for finance and foreign investment and competition policies that "encompass international best practice".

"Especially in East Asia, competition between cities to become hubs for international finance, manufacturing and logistics has driven improvements in the business environment," it noted.

But the report also highlighted that infrastructure "remains a relative weak point" for the region.

Singapore was singled out as the exception, ranking seventh for infrastructure - the only Asian country in the top 10 in the category.

"While some of the region's infrastructure is excellent, particularly in telecoms and air transport, other areas require investment to improve distribution networks and utilities provision, as well as lower office rents," the survey added.

The survey factors in 10 distinct criteria and 91 different indicators, including government policies, infrastructure and the economic environment.