Singapore has maintained its top ranking in the World Bank's survey on ease of doing business for the fourth straight year.
But the World Bank's "Doing Business" report said there is still room for improvement, as Singapore lags behind in areas such as property registration and enforcing contracts.
New Zealand came in second, while Hong Kong took the third place.
Four more Asia-Pacific countries clinched the top 20 places in the survey, with Australia at number 9, Thailand in 12th place, Japan in 15th and South Korea in 19th.
The report measured countries' business-friendliness and looked at reforms enacted in the last year that make it easier to run a company.
In a bad year for businesses around the world, financially strapped governments tried to help where they could, enacting 20% more commercial reforms last year compared with the previous year. This higher rate reflected governments' recognition that they had to fight to attract businesses and their desperately needed tax dollars.
The World Bank said Singapore simplified business start-ups by making it possible to incorporate a company and register for taxes by using the same online form.
Singapore also made it easier to deal with construction permits, with new workplace safety and health regulations that allow low-risk industries to submit documents online.
In addition, Singapore eased property registration by improving its computerised system.
However, property registration remained Singapore's weakest point. It was ranked 16th in the world in this area, lagging behind countries such as Saudi Arabia, New Zealand and Thailand.
Another weak area for Singapore was the enforcement of contracts, in which it was ranked 13th globally. But this was mainly due to cost.
While Singapore was ranked highly when it comes to the speed and efficiency of the court system, it costs almost 26 per cent of the claim to enforce a contract here, compared to about 12 per cent in Thailand and just 6 per cent in Iceland.
Forbes, For Business, Singapore Is World's Friendliest: World Bank, 8th September 2009,
ChannelNewsAsia, Singapore is easiest place to do business, 9th September 2009, http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1003854/1...