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Five reasons to do business in Singapore

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. Singapore represents a significant opportunity for British creative, tech and digital brands. Ahead of a September trade mission to the territory, Enterprise Nation’s Emma Jones outlines five reasons as to why Singapore should be on your export to-do list.

1. Common business practices and language

One of the reasons Singapore is the UK’s largest trading partner in Southeast 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 and quick ability to 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 Southeast 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,” a genuine “Smart Nation.”

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!

4. Flexibility and connectivity

Nowadays you can run your small business from anywhere in the world. With technology always improving, it’s now easier and cheaper than ever to do business in Singapore and ASEAN. Whether you’re at home calling partners and clients abroad, or in Singapore connecting with the office, it’s not going to cost you the world to stay connected with fixed rates for calling abroad and a Rest of the World pass from just £7.50 with O2 Business.

5. Support and infrastructure

To power the knowledge economy, Singapore recognised that the power of its telecommunications and breadth of its transport network would be critical to carrying 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 public transport system includes taxis, buses and the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) rail system. There are land links to Malaysia (population of 31 million), and Changi Airport connects exporters to other ASEAN states within two hours flight time. As a repetition of the statistic above, that’s 600 million people within 2 hours distance!

Support to research the market and make connections is 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.

Emma Jones is the founder of Enterprise Nation. The creative, tech and digital trade mission to Singapore runs from 20 to 24 September 2017. Click here for details.

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