Find a business in Singapore

The highly developed state of Singapore is one of the great economic success stories of the past 50 years. It enjoys a highly successful free market economy and a GNI per capita of US$47,210 (2012) comparable to that of the four biggest western European countries (2010). The economy is primarily export driven and is very strong in the consumer electronics and information technology sectors. Singapore has seen GDP growth of 4.3% per annum (2008-12); its economy is dominated by the services sector (72%) with the rest of its GDP accounted for by the industry sector (28%) – the agriculture sector accounts for 0% of GDP (2010).

Manufacturing contributes a substantial 19.4% to Singapore’s GDP (2008). Since the 1960s Singapore achieved phenomenal growth through what economists call “export-oriented industrialisation”, a policy and process aimed at speeding up the industrialisation process of a country through the exportation of goods. Manufacturing in the country is a knowledge-based industry, with electronics being the largest player

In recent years Singapore has attracted major investment to its rapidly emerging pharmaceutical and medical technology sectors. The country continues in its efforts to establish itself as the premier technology and financial services hub in Southeast Asia. In 2010 Singapore’s economy bounced back from slow growth due to the global economic downturn two years before and recorded an annual growth rate of 14.5%, among the highest in the world for that year.

Mining has very little presence as a primary industry in modern-day Singapore, however many global mining firms have a presence there. These often use the country as a base from which to branch out to more resource-rich countries in Southeast Asia – including Malaysia, China, and Thailand, among others.

Oil and gas are key to the economy of Singapore and account for 5% of the nation’s GDP (2011) – much of this has to be imported from neighbouring Malaysia, South Sumatra and West Natunas (2011). On the downstream side of the industry, Singapore boasts the world’s third largest oil-refining centre and one of the largest ports in the world.

All of Singapore’s roads are paved but traffic congestion is a major problem and private traffic is rationed. A limited number of permits to put a vehicle on the public roads are auctioned every month, greatly increasing the cost of running a car. A highly advanced and efficient metro-rail system, the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRT), connects the city with all residential areas and with the international airport, serving more than 40 stations.

Singapore is ranked as the easiest country in the world for doing business, according to the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business 2012’ study. It is placed first for trading across borders and second for protecting investors and resolving insolvency. These rankings measure the conduciveness of a regulatory regime in starting and operating a business.

Singapore has a 96.4% adult literacy rate (2012) and, while 35.6% of the population speak Mandarin regularly, 32.2% speak English (2010). A 2007 labour force survey classified 19% of the labour force as technicians and associate professionals, 15% were senior officials and managers, 15% were other professionals, with the remainder being clerks or service workers. According to the World Economic Forum, Singapore is the most able country in the Commonwealth in retaining and attracting talented people.