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2. New Zealand
2009 rank: #2
2008 rank: #2

It only takes 24 hours to set up a business in New Zealand, the speediest start-up time in the world. Thanks to new reforms this year, entrepreneurs can now use a single online procedure to register for taxes at the same time as they incorporate their company.

The Kiwis also boast the fastest time in the world for registering property: it can be done online in two days, and is relatively cheap.

As in the U.S. and Hong Kong, hiring and firing is relatively easy to do in New Zealand, with no mandated penalties, notice or severance payments for fired workers.Borrowers and lenders in New Zealand enjoy relatively strong legal rights, while investors have some of the strongest legal protections in the world.

NEXT: 3. United States

Source: All data comes from "Doing Business 2009," a publication of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. Detailed methodological information is available at www.doingbusiness.org.
LAST UPDATE: Sep 11 2008 | 1:18 PM ET
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