Five Things that Make Singapore Unique
Many have heard about Singapore’s business viability and strong economy but not a lot of people know the humble beginnings of this resilient city-state. One would argue that it’s easier to picture Singapore as a successful country than it is to look back and see how much the country has endured before it reached its current financial standing. Despite the twists and turns, the country’s history is still worth knowing, simply because it is a tale of how a once unsuccessful city-state turned into a financial giant that it is now.
Singapore’s History and Early Years
The Lion City was founded by Stamford Raffles in 1819 as a trading post of the East India Company. When the East India Company collapsed and the British Raj was established, the islands of Penang, Malacca and Singapore were ceded to Britain and they became part of its Straits Settlements in 1826. During the Second World War, Singapore was occupied by Japan and was renamed Syonan-to which means Light of the South.
When the war ended in 1945, Singapore was once again declared as one of the British Empire’s colonies. In 1963, Singapore finally gained independence from the UK by federating with other former British territories to form Malaysia. Two years later, Singapore became a sovereign nation following its decision to pull out from the Federation of Malaysia due to ideological differences.
Things weren’t easy for Singapore five decades ago. In fact there was famine in the city-state and many children were malnourished. Singapore also faced severe unemployment and a housing crisis in the 1960s. But through the leadership of Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, the country’s economy soared in the 1970’s through to the 1990’s. Finally, Singapore became one of the “Four Asian Tigers”, along with South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Truly, the city-state came a long way and it now takes pride in being a global key player when it comes to business and investment. Singapore now stands firmly on its own feet, outranking many Asian countries including Indonesia, India and the Philippines. As a proof of the country’s resilience and extraordinary commitment to become a Smart Nation, we have listed down five things that make Singapore unique:
1. Singapore is a global commerce, finance and transport hub.
This is a known fact, however, a lot of other recognitions and awards given to Singapore have not been given the attention they deserve. Apart from being a global commerce, finance and transport hub, the country is also being hailed as the most “technology-ready” nation (WEF), top International-meetings city (UIA), city with “best investment potential” (BERI), and second-most competitive country in the world. It has the third-largest foreign exchange market, third-largest financial center, third-largest oil refining and trading center and the second-busiest port. Singapore also ranks 5th on the UN Human Development Index and the 3rd highest GDP per capita.
2. Singapore is the 2nd most competitive city in the world.
A country’s competitiveness, according to the world Economic Forum, is measured by the level of its productivity. The Singaporean economy banks on its sound macroeconomic environment and fiscal management, with its budget surplus amounting to 6.9% of GDP in 2013. Singapore is also recognized for the strength of its goods and labor markets and it is leading globally in terms of financial market development. Also contributing to its competitiveness is the country’s sound institutional frameworks and infrastructure with excellent roads, ports and air transport facilities.
3. Singapore is one of the best Asian countries to work in
Back in 2012, Singapore was recognised as the best Asian country to work in. In 2015, New Zealand claimed the top spot, pushing Singapore to the third spot with China coming in as 2nd best Asian country to work in. What makes Singapore unique, however, is the country’s working conditions. Many countries applaud Singapore’s government for ensuring that employees are well taken care of and that effective labor policies are in place.
4. Singapore is the 2nd safest city in the world
The country is ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) as the second safest city in the world, next to Tokyo. Singapore ranks high in personal safety and also does well in digital security. With low crime rate and high safety standards in place, anyone can roam around the city-state even during wee hours of the night.
5. Singapore ranks second in the world when it comes to ease of doing business
Singapore ranks 2nd worldwide in ease of doing business, next to New Zealand. The 2017 World Bank research revealed that several aspects of doing business in Singapore have improved since 2015, in the areas such as: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property and paying taxes. In other countries, starting a business (including getting all necessary paperwork ready) takes about 21 days but in Singapore, it only takes two and a half days.
These are just some of the things that make Singapore a viable place to travel to, to live in and to do business. While it’s true that Singapore can compete well with other first world countries, what makes this country unique is the extraordinary humility of Singaporeans. Many of them attribute the nation’s success to its forefathers and they are committed to do their part in maintaining the country’s current standing. And despite being known for its strict policies, Singapore is still one of the leading business-friendly nations where entrepreneurs and start up businesses can thrive in.
If you’re interested to know how easy it is to start a business in Singapore, get in touch with us. As one of Singapore’s leading company incorporation service providers, Enterprise Assurance PAC can guide you and help you turn your business ideas into reality.