Singapore and Hong Kong rank the world's best places to run a business, while mainland China remains far down the list, according to the World Bank's annual competitiveness survey.

The Southeast Asian entrepots and finance centres topped the survey for the eighth straight year, with New Zealand, the United States and Denmark rounding out the top five just like last year.

China, which was furious to receive a ranking of 91 last year and has pressured the World Bank to drop the 11-year-old study, fell five notches this year to 96th place and was leapfrogged by Russia. - AFP