Hong Kong, a bastion of free-market policies and low corporatetaxes as well as the gateway to the world's most populous nation,is the best place to do business, according to data compiled byBloomberg.

The city of about 7 million people secured top position in a newindex based on six criteria including the degree of economicintegration and labor costs. The Netherlands, the U.S., the U.K.and Australia occupied the next four leading slots.

The ranking marks a victory for Hong Kong 15 years after thecity's return to Chinese sovereignty stoked concern that its roleas an international financial hub would slide. General Electric Co.has established operations there, Gap Inc. is among the retailersdrawn by the 28 million Chinese tourists who pass through it andHSBC Holdings Plc is one of the financial titans listed on itsstock exchange.

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