Singapore consists of 63 separate islands, which have changed ownership on numerous occasions over the years. Colonized by the British in the 1800s the country was merged with Malaysia in 1963, although due to a clash of cultures this was abandoned in 1965 when Singapore gained its independence.
Since gaining independence, the Republic of Singapore has seen its standard of living rise from its simple fishing origins into a country has grown substantially over the last 40 years, with economic growth almost unmatched anywhere else in the world. Like many Southern Asia countries, it is seen by many as an entry point in to the main Asia market, although the fact that the country has adopted capitalist principles further strengthens the appeal to the West and others choosing to become Expats living in Singapore .
While Singapore is a popular stop off point for those traveling from Europe to Australia, it has a vibrant tourism community of its own.
Economy in Singapore
Singapore is one of the original Tiger Economies, having grown substantially over the last 40 years – with further growth set for the future. Heavily reliant on the main economies of both the West and Asia there have been some volatile swings in the economy over the last decade. The Singaporean economy is heavily dependent on exports and refining imported goods especially in the manufacturing sector.
Unlike many of the countries of Europe, many of who have reverted to service led economy, Singapore has a strong manufacturing led economy. The import and refining of raw goods is the basis for the economy, with electronics, petroleum, chemicals and biomedical areas particularly strong. The majority of these refined goods are then exported to various countries of the world.
The country has also developed a well respected finance industry, and has the fourth largest foreign exchange market in the world – there is speculation that the country will soon overtake Japan as one of the major exchange centers of the world.
Inward investment by the Singapore authorities has led to expectations of a further 450,000 jobs by 2010, which should ensure the rate of unemployment remains at around the 2.7% mark (the lowest rate for some time).
Like many of the successful Tiger Economies, Singapore offers nationals and foreign nations a very attraction tax regime, which is much lower than the European equivalent. The country has been rated as one of the most business friendly economies in the world. This has led to a large influx of foreign workers into the island city-state. All these taken together provides a great magnet for many of the high fliers in the finance industry!
Prospects in Singapore
While possibly best known for its financial regions and international trading, the country has historically relied on a very strong manufacturing industry. As margins and working practices come under more and more pressure, there may be more of a shift towards service based industries in due course.
As inflation is under control and unemployment comfortably below 3% (and unlikely to rise significantly in the short term) the prospects for employment in Singapore remain one of the most attractive in the developing world. Strong in areas of manufacture and finance, there is something for everyone in this fast developing nation.
One aspect of the economy that has been under careful watch due to the current world trend is the real estate market. There are new measures in place to keep a tight rein on speculation in the real estate market in Singapore, especially on off-plan development projects in the country.
Key Facts on Singapore:
Bordered by Malaysia and Indonesia
Food: Heavily influenced by Malaysian, Chinese and Indian delicacies.
Temperature: 22c to 34c with up to 90% humidity
Industries: Manufacturing and Finance
Education: Strong mix of state and private education
Health: Life expectancy 80 years