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Video and article: October 2011.

Singapore along with the rest of the region has continued to enjoy strong economic growth, despite the obsession of Europe and America with a so-called global economic meltdown.

Singapore is a natural hub for the region. It boasts the biggest and busiest port in the world, a huge airport, highly skilled workers, superb infrastructure and world-beating digital networks. Singapore business district contains regional headquarters of many of the largest multinationals, with specialty areas in banking, IT, telecom and international trade.

Singapore is a small nation – with barely 5 million residents – so is a relatively neutral base from the political point of view.  Singapore has strong legal systems, is stable and an easy place to do business, with many 5 star hotels and a vibrant, dynamic and entrepreneurial culture. 

Singapore is an easy nation for visitors from the Northern Hemisphere to feel their way around. The country still shows many signs of its British Colonial era – with newly restored historic buildings, square pin plugs, English-model educational system, and influences on legal and parliamentary systems.  Singapore is West-facing and East-facing.  Most of the city’s up-market Malls are dominated by Western-label brands, with streets that look familiar in style to European or American travellers, while Chinatown is a relatively small area of low-rise shops, eating places and offices with a traditional ethnic feel.

Singapore has a great future, and so it is hardly surprising that the numbers of people wanting to work there is growing faster than the government is comfortable with.  Work permits are becoming harder for some groups to obtain.

Singapore’s greatest limitation is land mass:  one large island and many small ones.  And linked to that is a serious water shortage, which means that despite many new projects, the country remains dependent on buying water from Malaysia.

* Patrick Dixon has given keynote presentations on a wide range of emerging markets issues in Central America, Latin America, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Baltic States, Middle East, Africa, Central Asia and South East Asia. He has been a conference speaker at events in Barbados, Belarus, Brazil, Burundi, China, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Estonia, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Panama, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uganda, United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe.


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