Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, outlines five reasons why Singapore should be on your export to-do list.
It’s just been awarded the accolade of a ‘stand-out’ nation in the Digital Evolution Index and offers easy access to 600 million consumers. The nation is Singapore and represents a significant opportunity for British creative, tech and digital brands. Here’s why:
1. Common business practices and language
One of the reasons Singapore is the UK’s largest trading partner in South East Asia is down to the ease of doing business in a territory that has been ranked by the World Bank as the easiest place in the world to start and run a business. Two thirds of British exports to the region head to Singapore where entrepreneurs benefit from a shared use of English as the common business language. There’s also the ability to quickly adapt to a legal and accounting system which shares many similarities with the UK, a reflection of Singapore becoming a sovereign British territory in 1824. Singapore also boasts Asia’s strongest intellectual property protection, with a highly skilled and educated local population.
2. Market size
The population of Singapore is 5.5 million and is one of the richest nations on earth with per capita income of $56,000, the highest level in Asia Pacific. The country is the de-facto launch-pad into ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations), a collection of nation states home to over 600 million consumers with increasing spending power.
3. Ranking on innovation
The Digital Evolution Index, published in July 2017, placed Singapore ahead of any other country when it comes to “demonstrating high levels of digital development while continuing to lead in innovation and new growth”. Singapore has always had a focus on the knowledge economy and the Tufts University report gave credit to the government for ‘pushing the smart-city agenda to new levels by harnessing all public data to create a ‘Virtual Singapore’. This online platform will map out the performance of the city-state in real time. It will be possible to look at how diseases might spread in an epidemic, or how traffic will react to roadworks. For British businesses selling smart solutions, looking at Singapore is a smart move.
To power the knowledge economy, Singapore recognised that the power of its telecommunications and breadth of its transport network would be critical to transporting data and people at rapid speed. According to HSBC’s ‘Doing business in Singapore’, the country is fourth in the world when it comes to internet bandwidth, with 74% per cent of the population as internet users and 8.4 million mobile phone subscriptions. Singapore has been rated second in the world for technological readiness.
When it comes to travel, Singapore’s own public transport system includes taxis, buses and the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) rail system. There are land links to Malaysia (population of 31million) and Changi Airport connects exporters to other ASEAN states within two hours’ flight time.
5. Support on hand
To ensure you get the help you need to research the market and make connections, there’s support on offer in the form of UK ASEAN Business Council, Department for International Trade in Singapore and a growing number of market-entry accelerators. We’ll be meeting and visiting all of them in September on the creative, tech and digital trade mission. Come on board to grow your business and reach a whole new market.