Today I have an interesting article to share on my blog. Read on to find out the history and how Singapore came to become a magnet for influential businesses, enjoy! 🙂
For the past nine years, the Economist Business Unit has voted Singapore the world’s best place to do business. But what has made it such a magnet for companies from all corners of the globe?
Historically, Singapore’s geographical location was strategically important. Sir Stamford Raffles established a British East India trading post here in 1819. For the British, the city-state became both a trading center and key naval base, essential to maintaining control of its vast empire.
In more recent times, as international trade began to flourish, the government of Singapore took steps to capitalize on the state’s historical position as a hub for trade, not only within Asia, but also globally. In the 1960s, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) was formed and tasked with attracting international businesses to the country. The next step was for the EDB to persuade foreign investors to help fund the establishment of export oriented businesses by first setting up offices in New York and Hong Kong, and later in Europe, Asia and the US.
With Singapore’s reputation for its reliable and skilled workforce, the EDB went on to raise global awareness of Singapore’s technological expertise by establishing links with Japanese, French and German technical institutions. The government, the EDB and the National Research Foundation have together been extremely successful in identifying new trends and technological developments in global commerce, international banking and finance and have continued to ensure the country possesses the expertise and infrastructure necessary to take maximum advantage of them.
By investing heavily in infrastructure projects and encouraging the construction of world-class hotels, retail centers and high quality housing, the government has also attracted highly skilled professionals and international entrepreneurs to settle here and establish locally based high-tech companies. The importance of persuading influential business leaders to relocate to the country cannot be underestimated. The mere fact that people of this stature have chosen to move here sends out a strong message to the rest of the world that Singapore is a great place to live and do business in. Words and phrases you commonly hear to describe the country include diverse, safe, multicultural, low taxes, cutting edge, relaxed and stable.
Typical of the businessmen and women who have taken up residence in the state is Kuwait born and University of Washington educated Fahad Al-Rajaan. Chairman of Wafra Investments Group Inc. and Kuwait Real Estate Investment Consortium KSC, along with a number of other banks and financial institutions, he is ideally placed to spread the word about the benefits of investing in Singapore. An insight into his range of influence can be found by checking out Wikileaks – Fahad Al-Rajaan.
Two of the wealthiest individuals you may have heard of are brothers Robert and Philip Ng, whose Far East Organization and Sino Group is worth some US$4.6b. Their multinational business encompasses property development in Australia and Hong Kong, though they are currently investing US$328m in two new hotels on an ex-military barracks site on Sentosa.
Another name you may be familiar with is the Brazilian born co-founder of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin. Having renounced his US citizenship in 2012, he now lives here in Singapore, where he specializes in investing in international technology startup ventures.
Singapore has not become a world class financial and business center entirely by accident. A natural harbor located at the crossroads of global maritime trading routes was fundamental to the initial growth of the country. However, having a government with the vision to recognize future business trends, then enacting the legislation necessary to attract foreign entrepreneurs and multinational companies, and investing vast amounts in improving the state’s infrastructure have all combined to make Singapore the commercial powerhouse it is today.