The 5 lessons of Singapore

The picture emerging for Singapore is one of optimism and opportunity.

The 5 Lessons of Singapore

Appreciate the ‘fine’ city

In public perception, Singapore is perhaps most renowned for its somewhat zealous law making. (If you are convicted of littering more than once, you will have to spend a few hours cleaning a public place, wearing a brightly coloured bib).

But to corporates, the enduring legacy of its colonial past is a backbone of English Common Law, especially in contract, arbitration and labour law. This is married with a firm respect for Intellectual Property rights, where infringement can be viewed as a criminal rather than civil offence.

Think Switzerland in the Sun

Singapore has the highest proportion of millionaire households in the world. Indeed, look out the window on a taxi ride around Singapore’s residential districts and, statistically, one in six of the houses you spy will be inhabited by a millionaire.

Along with the other Asian Tiger economies, Singapore’s per capita GDP has risen to become almost 80% higher than Europe’s. As a consequence, while the majority of indigenous Singaporeans live in government-subsidised housing, for expats it can be one of the most expensive cities to live in.  ‘But it is definitely the most agreeable’, adds Microsoft Asia’s Andrew Pickup.

Trade on Transparency

Consistently ranked as one of the world’s least corrupt economies, companies appreciate the clarity and transparency of Government policies. Indeed, prison sentences for embezzlement offences can stretch to decades. This degree of certainty makes Singapore one of the world’s easiest places to do business, taking three days to start a business, compared to the world’s average of 24.

Hop on the Hub

Singapore’s physical location deals it a natural advantage for trade. But its industrious populace has made the most of this to become a major gateway for trade to and from Asia. A significant proportion of its GDP is accounted for by regional headquarters, and it has become a global hub for finance, commodities, and logistics trade. Additionally, many companies use Singapore as a hub for their treasury operations. As Diane Reyes, Global Head of PCM at HSBC stresses, shared service centres allow companies to do this even on smaller scales.

A vital link in the supply chain

HSBC’s Regional Head of Commercial Banking, Noel Quinn says that the picture emerging from his conversations with CEOs on the ground is one of optimism and opportunity. Indeed the HSBC’s Trade Forecast predicts double-digit growth in trade for economies around the region from Indonesia to Malaysia, and Singapore will continue to play a key role in facilitating trade across Asia.





Key points

  • Singapore’s per capita GDP has risen to become almost 80% higher than Europe’s.
  • It takes three days to start a business in Singapore, compared to the world's average of 24.
  • Singapore's physical location means it has become a major gateway for trade to and from Asia.
Best Global Trade Finance Bank, GTR Leaders in Trade 2014

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