Starting up a business today is quite different to what it was just a few decades ago. The world is open to any entrepreneur with funding to start a business, but some locations are definitely more desirable than others. While building a business in your hometown may be appealing, it may not always be the best deal you can get.
If your business is an international business, there’s no need to tie it down to your home country. There are plenty of opportunities for you to make a good start all around the world. Here we’ve listed some of the top cities you could consider starting your business from.
Ireland is in the perfect position for starting an international business. With the UK and Europe in close proximity to the city, it’s a logical first choice for many start-ups. Additionally, Dublin is the best city in Ireland for international trade and business operations with both Europe and the UK.
As the only current member of the EU where English is the primary language, Ireland provides an exceptional opportunity for the English-speaking entrepreneur who wants to enjoy the advantages of simplified trade with Europe without necessarily having to learn other languages.
Starting a business, even for non-EEA citizens, is very simple, and there are plenty of incentives available, as well as a special start-up entrepreneur visa you can apply for. Ireland also offers something currently quite unique: visas to attend start-up “boot camps” or “accelerators”. If you’re a citizen from within the EEA, it’s much simpler for you, and most will not require a special visa.
Dublin offers a high standard of living, good economic incentives, and an abundance of great co-working spaces and virtual offices. The combination of all these factors makes Dublin easily one of the most attractive international locations for a start-up enterprise.
Singapore is an ideal location for getting into the lucrative ASEAN market, and the lifestyle trade-off is much lower than in the surrounding countries. The cost of living is higher than the surrounding countries, but still low compared to Europe and the United States.
Perhaps the main drawback to Singapore for many people will be the climate. With daily temperatures hovering around the mid-to-high thirties (Celsius), high humidity, and almost daily rainfall, it can take some effort to adjust to this climate. Adding to that minor trifle is the annual smoke drift from Indonesia, which sees all of Singapore and southern Malaysia blanketed by clouds of smoke for several weeks during “burning season”.
Having said this, starting a business in Singapore is very easy to do. It is also the easiest place in Asia for a foreign citizen to open a bank account. Singapore has a low tax rate on foreign sourced business income, but there are strict regulations to comply with.
New Zealand is not on the doorstep of any place, and if you’re attracted to starting a business in Auckland, you probably fancy it for that very reason. The cost of living in New Zealand is relatively high, with Auckland being the most expensive place in New Zealand to live.
On the other hand, Auckland has a great climate, with generally warm weather year-round and low humidity. Lifestyle in New Zealand is hard to top, and the abundant natural beauty outside the city is a drawcard for millions of tourists every year.
New Zealand is an easy country to start a business in, and opening a bank account is only slightly more complex.
- Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a good location if you’re mainly looking to do business with China, Japan, or South Korea, and it’s also internationally respected as an ASEAN member. Registering a company in Hong Kong is very easy, but it takes more time than in most of the other locations mentioned.
Because of the high cost of real estate in Hong Kong, your best bet as a start-up is to rent a virtual office and work from a co-working space. The costs are a bit higher than average for these services, but still much more affordable than renting your own private office.
Opening a bank account is not difficult in Hong Kong either, provided the currency you establish your account in is not US dollars. In fact, it’s now close to impossible to open accounts in US dollars because of the strict currency reporting regulations imposed by the United States.
The cost of starting your company will be higher than most other places, but this is offset by a currently 0% tax on foreign trade income.
Living in Hong Kong is quite reasonable, with generally good weather for most of the year. The cost for accommodation and transport is less attractive, but not unbearable.
Sydney is on almost the same latitude as Auckland so the two cities have similar climates. Australia and New Zealand are also very similar, but Australia is less isolated and of course it is a much larger and wealthier nation.
The reason Auckland comes out well ahead is that Sydney has a higher cost of living, and Australia, in general, faces more problems from corruption and organised crime. Australia’s political climate is also less stable.
On the other hand, starting a business and opening a bank account in Australia is exceptionally easy. If you choose to incorporate your business, you’ll have to file annual returns with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). All Australian businesses also file a tax return, regardless of whether they are incorporated or not.
The company tax rate is fixed at 30%, which is very high compared to most other countries.