Singapore: the Entrepreneurial Capital of APAC
Singapore is one of the world's best business centres in the Asia Pacific, according to Laurel Delaney, board member of the World Entrepreneurship Forum. This cosmopolitan city-state presents particular characteristics that make it an asset in the entrepreneurial world, such as its proximity to major markets, pro-active government, tax benefits for foreign firms, plus reasonable corporate laws, plus it is relatively easy to do business there.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) -an independent business within The Economist Group- indicates that Singapore recorded a merchandise trade surplus of US$30.2 billion in 2009. Exports totalled US$273.4 billion in that year, while stood at US243.2 billion. The leading suppliers to Singapore 2009 were Malaysia (11.6%), the United States (11.6%), China (10.5%) and Japan (8.1%).
The opportunities for transnational trade in this market are abundant in the following industries: electronic components and parts, mineral fuels, chemicals and chemical products for exports and machinery and transport equipment, mineral fuels, manufacturing goods and miscellaneous manufactured articles for imports.
Additionally, Singapore is a leading global transportation hub. The city-state's busy container ports host 200 shipping lines with links to 600 ports in over 120 countries. In effect, Changi International Airport handles more than 5,000 weekly flights by 80 international airlines to more than 200 destinations worldwide.
Another advantage is the simplicity to do business in the country whether starting a business, trading across borders or protecting investors. In fact, the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Rankings granted Singapore the first position in 2010 and 2011, out of 183 countries.
According to Delaney's study, you can get just about anything done relative to business at a fast speed: set up a business (within 3 days), obtain written permission to build a warehouse (14 days) and get credit (10 days). “This uncomplicated process is a fertile business breeding ground for individuals who have bright ideas that they wish to bring to the marketplace”, stated Delaney.