Mainland China Among Most Complex Places to Do Business in APAC

China calls entry restrictions targetting its travellers unreasonable

Mainland China ranks as the most complex APAC jurisdiction within this year’s GBCI at 11th place, moving up from 15th place in 2023

TMF Group, a leading provider of compliance and administrative services, has launched the 11th edition of the Global Business Complexity Index (GBCI) today.

The annual report analyses 79 jurisdictions worldwide and offers data on key aspects of doing business.

Mainland China ranks as the most complex APAC jurisdiction within this year’s GBCI at 11th place, moving up from 15th place in 2023. It is followed by Kazakhstan at 10th, Indonesia at 16th, and South Korea at 19th. This year’s study found that Mainland China’s complexity is driven by the localization of e-invoicing in accounting, leading to new requirements around management and digital archiving.

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Indonesia’s reduced complexity stems from simplifications around market entry, such as lowering incorporation capital requirements, lowering severance payments, and introducing a golden visa scheme.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong, SAR, has improved in this year’s GBCI rankings, from 74th in 2023 and 2022 to 76th in 2024, maintaining its position as a key Asian hub and as the least complex APAC jurisdiction within the study. Even though the country’s banking methods can add to the complexity of setting up a business, the low and straightforward tax system remains attractive. The country has also implemented AI and outsourcing to address high salary demands.

Within the rest of the APAC region, Malaysia’s implementation of an e-invoicing system is helping to streamline financial processes, reduce costs and enhance transparency. Likewise, Vietnam’s digitalization efforts – such as online tax report filing – are also saving businesses on both time and costs.

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Yet elsewhere, start-up entities in the Philippines still see delays in obtaining their licenses and registrations due to a lack of standardization regarding new laws and regulations. Similarly, in Thailand, foreign investors remain facing serious challenges, with restrictions around foreign companies establishing full business ownership.

TMF Group’s Head of APAC, Shagun Kumar, said:

“The Global Business Complexity Index (GBCI) remains a cornerstone for understanding business complexities within key jurisdictions worldwide. This year, Hong Kong SAR has maintained its position as the least complex APAC jurisdiction, while countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam have improved their rankings after bringing in significant changes. The APAC region continues to serve as one of the primary growth catalysts for both our clients and our own organization, and I hope this report will continue to be an invaluable resource for business decision-makers and researchers.”

Top and bottom ten (1= most complex, 79= least complex)

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1        Greece

2        France

3        Colombia

4        Mexico

5        Bolivia

6        Turkey

7        Brazil

8        Italy

9        Peru

10      Kazakhstan
70        Jamaica

71        British Virgin Islands (BVI)

72        Jersey

73        United Kingdom

74        The Netherlands

75        New Zealand

76        Hong Kong. SAR

77        Denmark

78        Curaçao

79        Cayman Islands
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About Nitish shaw 230 Articles
An aspiring novelist and a random blogger, Nitish is also a porky-mouthed banter specialist when it comes to football (soccer), films, TV Series, History and socio-economic issues. He travels, indulges in music and plays outdoor sports to get his creative juices flowing. “There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colorless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.”- Quote this, and you will be his favorite person for at least as long as the two of you can hold up the conversation.

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