Though one of the smallest countries in Southeast Asia, Singapore has the most advanced and sophisticated economy in the region. It is consistently ranked as one of the world’s best places to do business and drains companies and professionals from the whole world eager to work and do business in Singapore.

  • Official country name: Republic of Singapore
  • Capital: Singapore
  • Total Area: 719.1 km²
  • Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
  • Currency: Singapore dollar – SGD
  • Drives on the: left
  • Calling Code: +65
  • Internet TLD: .sg

Demographics

  • Population: 5,610,000 (2015 Estimate)
  • Population Density: 7,797/km²
  • Official Languages: English, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil
  • HDI: 0.912 (very high)
  • Ethnic Groups:
    • Chinese 74.1%
    • Malays 13.4%
    • Indians 9.2%
    • Others 3.3%

The Singaporean business environment

Singapore has one of least corrupt business environment in Asia thanks to the definition of clear business rules and their consistent enforcement. Singapore attracts global companies and entrepreneurs eager to start a company there to cater to the high-income Singaporean population or serve as a regional and global business platform.

The secure, peaceful and dynamic living environment carefully designed by the Singaporean authorities ensures professionals and their families enjoy their life in the country while pro-business policies ensure Singapore’s economic attractiveness. Companies and professionals in Singapore notably benefit from its simple and globally competitive tax system.

Singapore growth infographic: comparison of economic growth with ASEAN-6 countries

Key economic data of Singapore

  • GDP (PPP): USD 486.910 Billion (2016 Estimate)
  • GDP per Capita (PPP): USD 87,082
  • GDP (Nominal): USD 296.642 Billion (2016 Estimate)
  • GDP per Capita (Nominal): USD 53,053
  • GDP Growth: 2.0% (2016)
  • GDP by sector: (2011 Estimate)
    • agriculture: 0%
    • industry: 25%
    • services: 75%
  • Labor force: 3.6275 Million (June 2015)
  • Labor force by occupation: (2014)
    • agriculture 1.3%
    • industry 14.8%
    • services 83.9%
  • Unemployment: 2% (2015 Estimate)
  • Inflation: 1% (2014 Estimate)
  • Ease of doing business rank: 2nd (2017)

Key sectors of Singapore

Singapore is one of the world’s leading financial center, especially serving as a financial hub for Southeast Asia and the larger Asia-Pacific region. Its pivotal location between the Pacific and Indian oceans, at the tip of the Malaysian peninsula, makes it one the largest knot in trade and sea transportation, with one the world’s busiest ports.

Banking and finance, international trade, real estate and telecommunications are some of the most important sectors in Singapore, in which operate many of the country’s largest companies, which are also often among the giants of Southeast Asia.

Main industries of Singapore

  • financial services
  • electronics
  • chemicals
  • oil drilling equipment
  • petroleum refining
  • rubber processing and rubber products
  • processed food and beverages
  • ship repair
  • offshore platform construction
  • life sciences
  • entrepot trade
  • tourism
  • manufacturing

A regional center for innovation

The country’s success stems from its constant push for innovation in all levels: government, company and individual. Thanks to this innovating spirit, Singapore is at the forefront of technology in Asia, especially a leader in electronics, oil refining, biotechnology, energy and the largest hub in Southeast Asia for startups.

Singapore notably has the most active population on Internet in Southeast Asia, serving as a base for many foreign startups in Southeast Asia and an advanced country for all aspects of digital business. It is home to a vibrant community of bloggers, with some of Singapore’s top blogs recognized globally.

Numbers of Internet, social media and mobile users in Singapore in 2018

Singapore for professionals and work

As the country’s authorities are constantly struggling to make Singapore a perfect place for business, they always keep in mind the quality of life of individuals and families. Both local and foreign professionals therefore enjoy the benefits of its modern environment: a high-standard of living, the best universities in Southeast Asia, a sound healthcare system and a profusion of day and night attractions for all.

Often considered a luxury shopping paradise, Singapore is now growing the local regional art scene as it aims at becoming a touristic center in Southeast Asia. These characteristics make living in Singapore a modern and expensive lifestyle, which added with the high value-added economy of Singapore naturally push salaries in Singapore among the world’s highest.

Being a convenient place to do business and a high income country, Singapore is naturally a global hotspot for expats. This presence of a large population of foreigners enhance Singapore’s position as a global trade hub.

Singapore trade

With very high numbers for its size, resources and population, Singapore is a regional heavyweight both for imports and exports.

Exports: USD 518.922 Billion (2014)

Export Goods:

  • Machinery and Equipment
  • Electronics and Telecommunications
  • Pharmaceuticals and Other Chemicals
  • Refined Petroleum Products

Main Export Partners: (2013)

  • Malaysia 12.2%
  • China 11.8%
  • Hong Kong 11.2%
  • Indonesia 9.9%
  • United States 5.8%
  • Japan 4.3%
  • South Korea 4.1%
  • Canada 3.7%

Imports: USD 463.779 Billion (2014)

Import Goods:

  • Machinery and Equipment
  • Mineral Fuels
  • Chemicals
  • Foodstuffs
  • Consumer Goods

Main Import Partners: (2013)

  • China 11.7%
  • Malaysia 10.9%
  • United States 10.4%
  • South Korea 6.4%
  • Japan 5.5%
  • Indonesia 5.2%
  • United Arab Emirates 4.4%

Source: Aseanup