2014 Trade and Investment Profile
Situated on the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula, this multi-cultural city with lights, pubs and money also charms tourists with its corners of ancient temples, slivers of history and imposing colonialism. Known for its clinical neatness and stringent rules, the Republic of Singapore is a haven for tourists and business people alike.
More than a century of serving the commercial interests of its coloniser, the British Empire transformed the little island into a bustling port and a key trading entrepot in South East Asia. Shipyards, markets, churches and other infrastructure changing the sleepy seaport into a commercial city.
Since Singapore separated from the Malaysian Federation in 1965 rapid modernisation and industrialisation has given rise to this island-nation’s highly successful free-market economy which boasts the highest per-capita GDP in South East Asia and the world’s No: 2 ranking in global competitiveness.
For a country which originally made its name as a trade entrepot, exports are crucial to its growth. Thanks to the investor-friendly and export-oriented policies adopted by the government after Singapore’s independence, growth averaged 8% per annum between 1960 and 1999. The country’s geographic location also helped Singapore emerge as the one of the busiest ports in the world, giving the likes of Rotterdam and Hong Kong a run for their money. The complete lack of natural resources such as energy and food prompted Singapore to focus on its export-import sector. The significant feature of the country’s exports is its re-exports wherein the firms and industries operating in the country import raw materials and processes them before re-exporting.
As the economy expanded, the demand for more value-added services also grew. Singapore has emerged as the fourth-largest offshore financial center in the world, thanks to the open, welcoming investment culture, low taxes, and the ease of setting up a business which attracted multinational banks and financial institutions in droves.
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