The UK has ranked as the Best Country in the World for Business in a recent release from Forbes.
The list, which has been published annually for the past twelve years, examines the business friendliness of 153 nations. Forbes looks at a variety of different factors when considering the ranking; property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, infrastructure, market size, political risk, quality of life, workforce, red tape and investor protection.
Despite predictions that the British economy would collapse in the wake of the Brexit vote, the UK now outranks all of its European counterparts and has improved its rank from fifth in 2017. When explaining the reasons for the selection, Forbes referenced the 1.8% increase in Gross Domestic Product (only just behind Germany’s 1.9%), rising economic growth throughout 2017 and the 42-year low unemployment rate of 4.3%.
The move by significant international firms to open new offices in London this year would have undoubtedly been a contributing factor to the UK’s top ranking. Wells Fargo spent $400m on a new European headquarters in London’s financial district, Facebook purchased a 500,000 square office space to accommodate 9,000 employees and Apple announced a new London HQ in the Battersea Power Station. Jeff Lessard from Cushman and Wakefield, a location strategies firm has commented on the long-term viability of the UK:
These commitments signal a belief across industries in the long-term strength of the UK economy.
Forbes also stressed that the positioning of London as a global financial hub contributes to high rankings in both technological readiness and the size and education of the workforce in the world’s fifth largest economy. Financial giants such as HSBC, Prudential and Barclays call the City of London home and this may not change in the wake of Brexit:
“Post-Brexit, a few European cities have the opportunity to challenge London but each has deficiencies.”
New Zealand ranked second for the third straight year and the Netherlands came in at number three, the highest ranked EU country outside the UK. The United States has moved from twenty-third last year to number 11, owing to its improved standing of technological readiness, innovation and trade freedom.
The top 15 countries are as follows:
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
- United States