Coming out with corrected Doing Business rankings following review of data irregularities, the World Bank has said that China's ranking would have been lower by seven notches in the index for 2018.
Besides China's, the World Bank has corrected the Doing Business rankings of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan.
In August, the World Bank had decided to pause the publication of its Doing Business report following a number of irregularities regarding changes to data in previous reports.
The review details the irregularities and required corrections affecting the data for four countries — China, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Azerbaijan, World Bank said in a statement dated December 16.
Regarding China, it said in Doing Business 2018, the published score including irregularities affecting the Starting a Business, Getting Credit, and Paying Taxes indicators was 65.3 with a global ranking of 78, identical to its rank in the Doing Business 2017 report.
"After correcting the irregularities described above, the Doing Business 2018 score is 64.5. Taking as given the published data for all other countries, China's global ranking in Doing Business 2018 would have been 85, a decline of 7 places relative to the previous year," said the World Bank's review of data irregularities in doing business.
The review examined all data changes that occurred between circulation of the data for Bank-wide review and final publication in the Doing Business 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 report cycles, said a World Bank press release.
In addition to China, the World Bank has readjusted the Doing Business rankings of three other countries -- Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan.
The review kept the ranking of UAE unchanged at 16 in Doing Business 2020, while it marginally lowered the ranking of Saudi Arabia to 63 from 62.
The ranking of Azerbaijan has been improved to 28 from 34.
It said these irregularities were reported to DEC management by Doing Business team members and triggered the pause of the Doing Business report announced on August 27, 2020, as well as the review.
The review process did not identify any further specific data irregularities beyond those affecting these four countries as described in this document.
While unrelated to the specific data irregularities, the World Bank said it is also launching an external review of the Doing Business methodology with the goal of strengthening the product and its usefulness to stakeholders worldwide, with findings expected in mid-2021.
"We will be completing the arrangements for the publication of the Doing Business 2021 report in the coming months, incorporating the data corrections noted above. We will address the findings of these various reviews in this and future Doing Business reports," it said.
It also said over the past 17 years, the Doing Business report has been a valuable tool for many countries seeking to benchmark the business regulatory environment. The Doing Business indicators and methodology are designed to help countries to generate reform momentum to improve the overall business climate.
In a statement of August 27, it said irregularities were reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019.
"Management immediately called for a systematic review and assessment of data changes that occurred subsequent to the institutional data review process for the last five Doing Business reports," it had said.
Management also requested the World Bank Group Internal Audit (GIA) perform an assurance review of data integrity in the production process of the Doing Business Report and verify management's review of data irregularities in the Doing Business Reports from 2016 to 2020.
As per the 'Doing Business' 2020 report, India had jumped 14 places to the 63rd position on the ease of doing business ranking. India has improved its rank by 79 positions in five years (2014-19).