Singapore is one of the smallest countries in the world, but its main economic indicators, allow it entry to the world’s elite group. The city-state belongs to one of the most rapidly growing southeast Asian regions, it can boast of a well-developed and free economy (Index of Economic Freedom ranks Singapore as the second freest economy in the world in 2016 and for many successive years) and low level of corruption (according to the Corruption Perceptions Index 2015, Singapore is ranked in 8th place of least-corrupt countries in the world).
According to the World Bank’s ranking Doing Business, Singapore retains the top ranking on the ease of doing business for the tenth successive year (since 2007). The Economist Intelligence Unit‘s Business Environment Rankings declares Singapore to be the world’s most investor-friendly location in 2014-18, retaining its number-one spot from the 2009-13 period.
Why is Singapore so attractive for starting, developing or expanding business?
First of all because of its four building blocks – trust, knowledge, connections and life.
Well known for its integrity, quality, reliability, productivity, rule of law and enforcement of intellectual property rights, Singapore adjusts to the needs of businesses and the need to protect invention and innovation in order to expand business opportunities.
To make Singapore attractive for investors, the government keeps its tax rates and tax laws competitive and takes a strategic approach towards developing the economy.
Seeking to be a preferred location for innovation, the country has nurtured a robust intellectual property regime. According to the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2015, Singapore is currently rated the 3rd best country in the world for IP rights protection.
In addition to the multi-cultural nature of Singapore’s workforce and ability to attract global talent, the city-state is seeking to become a global knowledge capital and concentrates on knowledge-intensive industries.
The workforce in Singapore is highly educated, motivated and productive; it is also proficient in English – the language of international business.
Singapore‘s open immigration policy has increased its talent pool and provides businesses with the opportunity to hire the best personnel from anywhere in the world.
In cooperation with industry partners and educational establishments, the government is trying to develop training and scholarship programmes, to make sure that the workforce is future-ready.
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) ensures that Singapore has world-class R&D facilities and expertise. With 12 research centres dedicated to technological disciplines, Singapore attracts a world class community of researchers and specialists from all around the globe.
Singapore is a global leader in areas of manufacturing such as electronics and petrochemicals and remains an attractive base for complex manufacturing activities.
Because of its unique connectivity and infrastructure, Singapore is a global transportation hub with the most extensive and comprehensive network of trade agreements in Asia.
Its favourable geographic location allowed Singapore to become one of the world’s best transportation hubs for sea and air cargo. Its container ports are the busiest in the world – they have 200 shipping lines with links to some 600 ports in 123 countries.
Changi International Airport offers almost 6,900 flights to some 280 cities in 60 countries every week. The Changi Airfreight Centre, with its 24/7 opening hours is a one-stop hub for storing, moving and repackaging goods. The efficient and well organised transport structure has attracted some 6,000 logistics providers to Singapore.
Over 99 % of the population has access to a broadband network. International and regional connectivity now stands at 27.6 Tbps to more than 100 countries.
The country currently has the most extensive network of free trade agreements (FTAs) in Asia. Singapore has already signed agreements with key economies such as US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, members of the European Free Trade Association, Jordan, China, Chile, South Korea, India and Panama. Negotiations are in progress for FTA agreements with Middle East and South Asian economies. Furthermore, Singapore has signed over 40 investment guarantee agreements (IGAs), which should help protect investments made by Singapore-based companies in other countries against non-commercial risks.
Economic indicators and business environment are extremely important in starting, developing or transferring business, but quality of life is no less important for employees. Singapore offers the best quality of life in Asia; it is the best place in Asia to work, live and play.
Singapore is a cosmopolitan and multicultural country, where one in three persons comes from abroad. The population is a rich mix of different cultures, lifestyles and religions. But, most important, everyone feels welcome here.
Being a consistent top performer in Mercer’s Quality of Living surveys over the years, in 2016 Singapore is the top ranked Asian city and the 26th best in the world.
The city-state is safe and orderly and is recognised as one of the cleanest and greenest cities in the world with a world-class public transport system and healthcare services.
Because of numerous schools catering to the education needs of expatriate children and great local schooling system, Singapore is also a suitable place to raise children.
Singapore offers its residents and guests an interesting and exciting cultural life – from famous museums, such as the ArtScience Museum located at the luxurious Marina Bay district and countless theatre and musical productions at world-class venues like The Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.
The country is also a gastronomic paradise with some of the best cuisine in Asia, as well as unique street food.
Singapore also welcomes athletes and sports enthusiasts – the warm, sunny weather makes year-round water and outdoor sports possible. Besides, there are a wide variety of well-tended green spaces and exercise facilities such as the East Coast Park and the Botanical Gardens for relaxation and fun.
The Economic Development Board (EDB) in Singapore