Top ten countries to scale your international business in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the advantages of working remotely absolutely clear for the entrepreneurs. It is reasonable to expect that business models that allow having the personnel and the sales markets anywhere in the world are going to be established in the near future. Thus, business projects able to integrate into international structures are going to be more successful beginning this year.   

Ironically, the recent events unveiled numerous new possibilities to the business people who have had to stay at home. If you would like to leave the comfort zone and grasp all the opportunities that international business offers, you can establish business outlets in several foreign countries. Especially e-commerce and IT companies can find many advantages in establishing their presence abroad. 

It is worth remembering that foreign venture investments and direct investments are the major driving force of the world economy. At this point in time, it is reasonable to consider the fastest growing national economies that offer attractive benefits to foreign investors – established companies and startups. If you already have a functional company, you should be interested in widening your horizons by establishing foreign branches and learning from the most successful colleagues of yours living in prosperous countries.   

Based on our own expertise and our clients’ success stories, we have selected top ten countries to scale your international business in 2020. We have chosen the following parameters to determine the level of attractiveness that each country boasts: 

  • The availability of qualified workforce; 
  • The quality of the infrastructure;  
  • The predictability of the national economy; 
  • The available tax benefits;
  • The access to the international markets.

On the basis of these parameters, we have chosen ten countries that offer the best conditions for international business. Please read on if you have been thinking about setting up a company or a branch abroad.

1. Singapore

Singapore has invested heavily into the modernization of the infrastructure in order to stay at the front of the ever-changing economic landscape. According to the World Bank data, Singapore ranks first for the logistic opportunities that it provides, which makes it the best country to use for international trade in physical goods. Singapore is also known for its advanced infrastructure, high-speed communication facilities, and a most integrated economy.   

Singapore is business-oriented and it offers a system of regulations that is beneficial for international entrepreneurs. 

53% of Singaporeans hold bachelor or higher degrees. There are two large universities in the country that provide for the possibility to find qualified personnel and well-educated clientele.  

Singapore is a key player in the areas such as biomedicine, tourism, logistics, construction, finance, healthcare, informational technologies, mass media, and chemical production. 

Because Singapore is a recognized IT center, it attracts global media industry players such as Netflix and Twitter, for example. There are many other international partnerships to be found in the country. Singaporean authorities welcome foreign entrepreneurs, which certainly makes their life in the country much easier. 

Besides, recently the Government of Singapore has launched the Smart Nation program that promotes the use of cloud technologies in private life as well as for creating data analyses, providing for cybersecurity, designing new products, and many other things. The Government does not only declare support of the solutions that improve the quality of life but it physically provides such support in all spheres starting with school education and sports and ending with financial and government services. 

2. Sweden

Investing into establishing a business company in Sweden is a very good idea indeed, as the country is highly competitive in the international markets. This is one of the most productive countries in the world and it is a true leader for all sorts of innovations.

The Swedish infrastructure development is on the rise and the Government is investing 64 billion euros in road, railroad, and subway construction. Another 150 billion euros are going to be invested into the construction of residential accommodations and office buildings before 2030. These investments open a wide range of possibilities for contractors, as Sweden does need international experience in the field of construction. Thus, it welcomes foreign companies that are ready to bring their expertise and innovations onto the Swedish soil.

There are six world-class universities in Sweden providing for the availability of highly qualified personnel in the country. 47.2% of the population hold bachelor or higher degrees in the country. 

The Swedish culture is famous throughout the world for its work ethics and fine consumer tastes. Consumer minimalism originated from Sweden and this mental attitude is characterized by an ecological mindset and efficiency of energy consumption.

The main industries in Sweden are automobile and transportation technologies, IT sphere, communications, pharmaceutics, ecologically friendly technologies, and tourism. 

Thirty of the five hundred largest European companies are registered in Sweden. Besides, a great number of IT companies can be found there. For example, such giant corporations as Microsoft and Intel have chosen Sweden as the country from where they perform their operations in Europe.

Setting up a business company in Sweden is easy. The Government makes every effort to support the political stability in the country and promote the development of the economy that produces more income per capita than most other countries in Europe do. In addition to that, the Swedish business-related legislation is perfectly transparent and the corporate taxes are comparatively low, which provides for a business-friendly environment in the country. Forbes magazine has put Sweden among the top five countries with the most beneficial business environment.

3. Canada

Canada is a vibrant multicultural center and it offers wonderful opportunities to foreign investors and attractive conditions for business establishment and development. Due to the diversified economy, low corporate taxes, reasonable administrative policies and financial regulations, the country’s wealth is dynamically growing. 

Moreover, in Canada you will find a secure banking system, qualified workforce, and well-designed immigration legislation that allows attracting qualified specialists from abroad. 

The business climate in Canada is perfect for entrepreneurship and innovations are a necessary condition for the profitability and the growth of Canadian-based corporations. 

The living standards in Canada are very high as well as the level of education. The technological achievements allow commercial enterprises in the country to continue growing as the infrastructure in Canada continues to improve. 

Six out of 200 leading universities of the world are located in Canada, which makes it easy to find qualified personnel there. 60.6% of Canadians hold university degrees.

Canadian Government stimulates innovations and provides for strategic foreign investment opportunities in such sectors as oil and gas production, construction, marketing, software development, virtual and alternative realities, and recreational (medicinal) marijuana. 

The production of marijuana is regulated by the federal law in Canada and its medicinal use is legal throughout the country. This provides for the opportunities to support various companies engaged in this business starting with the transportation companies and ending with the consultants and technicians. 

According to the World Bank report, Canada grants foreign investors preferential access to the world market via membership in NAFTA and partner relations with the EU. The immigration policies have recently been modernized in the country and now it has become even more attractive for foreign investors.

4. Australia

Australia attracts foreign investors by the stable growth of its economy (at the moment, Australia is the thirteenth largest economy in the world), a strategic geographical position that gives access to the developing Asian markets, political stability, and flexible business-related regulations. 

Australia offers multiple opportunities for investments into informational and communicational technologies. This area is full of innovations and Australia is among the world leaders there. As the economy of the country is developing, the immigration is also growing, which provides for the improvement of the large-scale infrastructure. In particular, the production facility and residential accommodation construction sectors are booming at the moment. The same goes for the transportation industry. The Government of the country welcomes foreign investors to these markets with the purpose of creating a better competitive environment.

Besides, Australia is the home for a number of top-class research institutes. Eight of 200 leading universities of the world are located in Australia. 49.3% of the population have university degrees.

The workforce is highly qualified in the country and science-intensive jobs constitute a large portion of all the jobs found in Australia. 

Australia is also rich in natural resources, which adds to its attractiveness for foreign investors. Agriculture, extraction of natural resources, energy production, financial services, biotechnologies, education, and tourism and the leading industries in the country. 

The financial sector in particular has been actively growing over the recent years in Australia. It especially concerns such areas as fund management, payment systems, and retail banking services.

Australia is oriented towards innovations, commerce, and global cooperation. This makes it an ideal country to establish a joint business or register an independent company with plans for its international development in mind.

5. Switzerland

Switzerland is among ten richest countries of the world and it is home for a number of the leading transnational companies. For example, the famous producer of food and drinks Nestle is registered in Switzerland.   

Switzerland is a landlocked state but it is located at the heart of Europe and it has convenient motorway and railway connections with the neighboring countries. This makes is a perfect location for international trade. 

Switzerland is also among the leaders in research and development and seven of the top 200 world universities are located there. The literacy level in Switzerland is 99% while 48.8% of the population have university degrees. The workforce is not only highly qualified in Switzerland but also multilingual (there are four official languages in the country and everybody speaks English as well). Shortly speaking, the country offers a number of business advantages: the beneficial geographical position, the advanced infrastructure, and the qualified and multilingual personnel.  

For many years, the political neutrality that Switzerland has exercised allows it to be the country where investors from all over the world like to keep their capitals. The banking industry is one of the core industries in Switzerland without any doubt. The country sets an example of high-level banking services and client confidentiality protection. 

However, other sectors of the Swiss economy attract foreign investors too. These are tourism, informational technologies, biotechnologies, and nanotechnologies.

The tax rates in Switzerland are low for a well-developed country. Besides, the foreign investor will find many tax incentives there. The rate of inflation is also very low in the country and the national currency – the Swiss franc – is one of the most stable currencies in the world.   

The Government of Switzerland has also commenced a ‘one-stop’ program for foreign investors. This program is aimed at providing easy access to various resources that allow joining the local business community if you come from a foreign country. The strong and stable economy and the tax incentives certainly make Switzerland an attractive country for those entrepreneurs who are engaged (or would like to become engaged) in business in Europe and all around the globe.

6. The United States of America

The USA has been a magnet for investors from all over the world. The country has been the most competitive player in the world market for many years. It ranks among the top countries for innovations and the ease of doing business. The quality of the infrastructure is different across the country but several development projects are going to be implemented in the near future with 450 billion dollars allocated to them.

Sixty-three of the top 200 universities are found in the United States. 47.5% of the population have university degrees in the country. The labor market there is highly efficient and the number of specialists in all areas is sufficient.

Other advantages of this jurisdiction include the favorable business climate, open markets, and high living standards. The United States is known for encouraging entrepreneurship, competition, and economic growth.   

The USA has the largest consumer market in the world and a transparent economy. Besides, the business-related legislation provides for freedom in business activities and makes the process of establishing a business corporation in the country clear and simple. 

The leading industries in the USA include energy production, manufacturing of goods, transportation, healthcare, agriculture, financial services, informational technologies, and telecommunications. 

The main reasons why foreign investors are interested in establishing economic presence in the USA are risk diversification, financial markets efficiency, and strong corporate management. The additional factors include the advantageous geographical position of the country and the use of the English language there.

7. The Netherlands

Excellent business infrastructure makes the Netherlands perfect for developing high-tech businesses there. The foreign investors can make use of the wonderful logistic infrastructure in the country that includes airports, seaports, motorways, and railways. The latter are as fast as the Internet connection in the Netherlands.

The country also has 12 universities and 8 medical research centers. 45.2% of the population have university degrees. Besides, 90% of the Dutch speak fluent English, which attracts many international corporations to the country.  For instance, such heavyweight companies as Shell, Heineken, and IKEA have their headquarters in the Netherlands.

The main industries in the country include biological and clinical research, which contributes to the development of the related business companies. The Netherlands is among the top ten countries for promoting life sciences and healthcare. In addition to that, there you will find an open corporate culture and a competitive tax system. The country is strategically located in the Northern Sea and it has been attractive for international corporations for years. 

The Netherlands is also a major supplier of chemicals and their mixtures. Other key sectors of the country’s economy include agriculture, informational technologies, innovations, and aerospace industry. 

The new immigration rules allow foreign entrepreneurs to acquire temporary residence permits in the Netherlands. 

Thus, the competitive tax rates, the strategic geographical position, and the fantastic logistic opportunities make the Netherlands an attractive jurisdiction for foreign investors.

8. The United Kingdom

Great Britain is the leading attractor of foreign investments in the region. It is also a leader in the field of scientific research and innovations. Thirty-three of the top 200 universities in the world are located in the UK. 52% of the population hold university degrees.

The country also boasts the second largest labor market in Europe. Other advantages that the country offers include the flexible labor legislation, low cost and high productivity of the workforce, world-class transportation systems, a powerful communication network, and the fact that English – the business language of the world – is spoken in Great Britain.

The comparatively competitive tax rates, a stable political system, and a time-tested transparent legislation make the UK a very attractive country for foreign investors. 

The corporate tax is 20% in Great Britain, which is less than in some other countries. Moreover, companies are eligible for a 100% tax cut if they invest into research and development. Without doubt, this policy stimulates innovations. 

In addition to that, setting up a business company is Great Britain is almost as easy as squeezing a lemon these days. According to the World Bank report, the whole process takes not more than 48 hours.

The United Kingdom also puts the smallest number of barriers that entrepreneurs in the country have to overcome. For instance, the best part of the UK-registered companies do not pay the corporate tax on dividends derived abroad.

The whole world recognizes Great Britain as a key player in the financial service and banking market. Other leading industries in the country include informational technologies, construction, service industry, extraction and processing of oil and gas, healthcare, and education.

9. Germany

Germany is the leading economy in Europe and it has been one of the major attractors of foreign investments on the continent. It offers a first-class transportation system and excellent energy and communication infrastructure, which guarantees that business there can be highly efficient. 

Thanks to the low unemployment rate, the consumer spending is extremely stable in Germany. The central geographical location and the faultless infrastructure have made the country’s consumer market the largest in Europe. 

There are twenty-two of 200 leading universities in Germany while 30.5% of the population have university degrees.

Germany is among the leaders for innovations and its IT sector has become one of the largest industries in the country. Billions of euros are allocated to this sector from the federal budget every year. Other leading industries in Germany include automobile manufacturing, aerospace industry, chemical production, and service industry. 

Over the recent years, the federal Government has lowered the corporate taxes significantly and there are multiple tax incentives available to foreign investors at all stages of the investment process.

10. Luxembourg

The fact that Luxembourg is the last country that we mention here does not mean that it ranks the lowest. On the contrary, all international agencies that rank countries on various economic criteria put Luxembourg very high on their lists and they have been doing so consistently for many years already. It is common knowledge that the country is one of the most outstanding financial centers in the world.

The Government of the small princedom at the heart of Europe provides for a favorable business environment and numerous opportunities for asset diversification, which attracts foreign investors to the country. 

As far as the education opportunities are concerned, Luxembourg has one internationally recognized university actively engaged in scientific research. 51% of the country’s population have university degrees. 

Luxembourg offers advanced infrastructure and wonderful logistic opportunities. The Government promotes constant improvement in these spheres. 

Luxembourg is a politically and economically stable independent state. Qualified multilingual workforce is readily available there. The legislation in the country is transparent and the taxation system is fair. These factors attract foreign investors to Luxembourg as more and more foreign companies are registered there. 

The Government of the country offers various incentives to foreign investors establishing businesses there. Subsidies, individual tax cuts, deferral of corporate tax payment, financing the purchase of the production equipment, direct financial aid to the entrepreneurs – all these opportunities can be found in Luxembourg.   

The country is especially welcoming to investments into high-tech or innovative businesses. In addition to the technological sector, industrial production, financial services, tourism, and electronic commerce are well developed in Luxembourg.

In conclusion, we would like to repeat that foreign investments are the major driving force in the development of the world economy. For successfully scaling your international business, you need more than just a stable national economy. You also need qualified personnel, advanced infrastructure, economic predictability, tax incentives, and access to international markets. The ten countries that we have listed above possess all of these vitally important characteristics.

If you are interested in obtaining personal assistance in selecting the foreign country for investment purposes or if you would like to learn more about a particular country that you are considering, please do not hesitate to write to us to We have been in this business for many years now and we will be happy to share our knowledge with you.

You can also use the live chat or WhatsApp to send us a message. We will get back to you via a secure channel within a couple of hours and answer your questions. We guarantee a high level of professionalism, top-quality expertise, and absolute confidentiality of your information.

What should I take into account when choosing the country for scaling my business?

You have to take many things into account. The level of political and economic stability in the country, the level of the local people’s education, the level of the local government bureaucracy and corruptness, the available tax incentives, the availability of venture and investment capital, the level of the infrastructure development, the logistic opportunities, and so on and so forth. You have to learn about numerous things – big and small – when you want to establish economic presence in a foreign country.   

What countries are best for international business expansion?

We have listed the ten countries that are the most attractive ones for foreign investors, in our opinion. There include: Singapore, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, the United States of America, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Luxembourg. However, all of them have individual characteristics that make each country more preferable for a certain type of business investment. The precise answer to this question will depend upon the business area that you are engaged in and the product or service that you supply.

Why should I scale my business in 2020?

As it is always the case, the times of crises bring the widest opportunities even though this statement may sound somewhat cynical. Now is the best time to take your business to a new level, to acquire new experience and new expertise thus protecting yourself and your loved ones from possible future crises similar to the one that we are witnessing at the moment. Every national state is handling the COVID-19 situation differently and diversifying you assets geographically is not less important than investing into different types of assets.

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