Some Thursday ASEAN links:
Expats have heaped praise on Thailand, ranking the country number one in a survey of the overall “experience” for foreign workers. The survey, conducted by HSBC, contains feedback from more than 7000 expatriates living in nearly 100 countries. Thailand was said to be the easiest country for a foreign worker to set up, integrate and make friends.
Other countries in Asia also received high marks – China, Singapore, India and Taiwan all fell within the top 10, with Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam ranking in the top 40.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Thailand was also named as the most cost-effective country, due to the low cost of living but generally higher earning potential. About 60 percent of respondents added that Thai food and culture contributed to a healthier lifestyle.
“In recent years Asia has seen some of the world’s strongest economic growth, and many emerging economies in Southeast Asia have drawn in an increasing number of foreign workers seeking better career opportunities with growth in their own economies remaining sluggish,” said The Wall Street Journal.
Conversely – The Philippines, a country that wasn’t even mentioned in the HSBC survey, became the scene of a horrific suicide by a disenfranchised expat worker. After a fourth close call with bankruptcy, a 41-year-old South Korean businessman stabbed himself and slit his own throat in a bathroom stall at his struggling office in Quezon City.
“The police immediately ruled out foul play in the [man’s] death, the co-owner and executive officer of First Standout Trading Inc., a car dealership in Barangay,” reported The Inquirer. “Employees brought the company executive to the nearest hospital to try to save him but the effort proved futile.”
Cambodia, like the Philippines, was missing from HSBC’s expat satisfaction survey. It also maintained its dubious ranking as one of the worst countries to start a business. A report by the World Bank, titled Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises, listed Cambodia 137th out of 189 countries – two places lower than its 2012 ranking.
“In the annual report, that investigates rules and regulations that enhance and constrain business activity, the US-based World Bank outlined a number of new bureaucratic hurdles that caused Cambodia’s rank to dip,” said The Phnom Penh Post.
For example, the survey said that “Cambodia made starting a business more difficult by introducing a requirement for a company name check at the Department of Intellectual Property and by increasing the costs for both getting registration documents approved and stamped by the Phnom Penh Tax Department.”
Another big change was the cost of incorporating a company with the Business Registration Department – currently $400, up from $105 last year. The cost of getting tax documents stamped and approved, $49 in 2012, is now a staggering $250.
Singapore, unsurprisingly, topped the World Bank’s assessment as the most business-friendly country.