Singapore and Malaya were British colonies of imperial Britain since the 19th. century. Apart from its strategic importance as a gateway between South East Asia and the Pacific Ocean countries (China and Japan) the geographically small island of Singapore was an economic backwater when the British left Malaya in 1957. It joined the newly independent Malaysian Federation that year but seceded to form an independent country in 1965.
Singapore has made remarkable progress under the leadership of its long serving founder and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. With a mixture of authoritarianism and free market enterprise Lee and his team has transformed Singapore in a few decades to a politically stable and economically vibrant country. Today Singapore is widely regarded as a haven for foreign investment.
Singapore is a multiethnic nation in which persons of Chinese extraction constitute 76.8% of its 4.75 million population. The other ethnic groups are Malays13.9% and Indian 7.9%. The literacy rate is 92%. Its purchasing power parity GDP in 2010 was estimated at $291.9 billion while it’s GDP per capita was $62,100.
Since the United States and the European Union economies are currently in the throes of market uncertainty, investment money is flowing into Asia these days from across the world. But it is looking for more opportunities than are available in China alone. Savvy institutional investors recognize Singapore as one of the world’s truly safe havens along side Switzerland. It is a place where companies globally and regionally want to relocate because, according to one analyst, “Singapore currently is the single best place to build a business.”
Why Singapore is so attractive to invest in according to some analysts:
· It operates in English and its regulations are based on the British legal framework. It is thus easy to navigate for non Asian countries and investors who are flooding in to profit from South Asia’s economic growth.
· Singapore’s stock exchange is loaded with consumer producing countries in everything from food and beverage to tourism, healthcare and retail.
· Singapore is ranked no. 2 in the world as the city with the best investment potential.
· It is ranked no.1 for having the most open economy for international trade and investment.
· It is ranked no.1 for the easiest place to do business.
· It is ranked as the least bureaucratic country for doing business in Asia.
· It has the most transparent economy in the world.
To recapitulate Singapore has a highly developed and successful free market economy. It enjoys a remarkably open and corruption free environment, stable prices and an income per capita higher than that most developed countries. Singapore has attracted major investments in pharmaceuticals and medical technology production. It is thus no wonder than it is fast developing as South East Asia’s financial and high tech hub.