Having established itself as Southeast Asia's leading financial and technology hub, any small businesses that are looking to gain a foothold in the eastern market should consider Singapore. It enjoys a remarkably transparent business environment and a per capita GDP higher than that of most developed countries.
The economy depends heavily on exports, particularly of consumer electronics, IT products, medical devices and pharmaceuticals, and on its vibrant transportation, business and financial services sectors. With a skilled workforce to draw upon and a tax system that’s drastically simpler than that in many other prominent countries, Singapore should be near the top of any business’ international wish-list.
The Chinese government provides extensive support for entrepreneurs and there’s a rapidly growing consumer market, meaning businesses have more room to grow than in many other countries. However, for those from the West, there are some major cultural differences to be aware of. As well as a significant language barrier, did you know, for example, that it’s seen as rude to put a business card that you’ve just received in your pocket? If you’re willing to thoroughly research the local culture and get stuck in though, there is plenty of opportunity to capitalise on in China.
Last, but certainly not least, we should remember that the UK itself is an incredibly appealing country for foreign businesses that are looking to establish themselves internationally. The UK is home to the second largest workforce in the EU, has the lowest corporation tax in the G20 and is widely regarded as the easiest major economy in Europe in which to do business. Taking just 48 hours to register a company, it should be near the top of any entrepreneur’s list of go-to destinations. And if you’re wondering, I haven’t forgotten about Brexit, but have chosen to assume a positive mental attitude towards the final divorce settlement!
These may be some of the most popular countries in the world to start or run a small business, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. Whether you’re looking for a favourable tax environment, to specialise in an industry sector or simply for the perfect work-life balance, there are opportunities and adventures to suit all entrepreneurs beyond their own shores.