South Korea’s global ranking for its business-friendly environment

South Korea’s global ranking for its business-friendly environment leaped this year, thanks to government streamlining of regulations, catapulting the country into the top 10 for the first time, a report showed Thursday.

“Doing Business 2011,” an annual report prepared by the World Bank, ranked South Korea 8th out of 183 countries for its business conditions, compared with 16th place last year.

Korea came sixth among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development members and third-highest among the Group of 20 major economies in the world, the report showed.

Singapore topped the list in this year’s report, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand and the United States. Japan, meanwhile, fell to 20th place from 18th the previous year.

The report provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 183 economies. The Doing Business Project, launched in 2002, looks at domestic small and medium-size companies and measures the regulations applying to them through their life cycle.

South Korea received high scores in the government’s efforts to streamline the process of starting a business and paying taxes. In those categories, the nation’s ranking jumped to 24th and 38th from the previous year’s 60th and 49th, respectively.

The country, however, received relatively low ratings for investment protection, registration of property and dealing with construction permits.

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