THE LION CITY'S SUCCESS IN THE GLOBAL MARKET
Minimal bureaucracy and flexible taxation make Singapore attractive to foreign investors
Singapore is one of the most highly developed states whose dynamic economy brings ever-growing numbers of businessmen and investors from many countries around the world, including Russia. What makes this tiny city-state, with a total area of a mere 707.1 sq km and a population of 4.8 million, attractive to global players
First of all, it is because of the state's political stability and steady economic growth, where social disturbances are virtually non-existent. Neither the small territory, population nor lack of natural resources were viewed as an obstacle for the government of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's first prime minister, who from of 1959 to 1990, did everything in his power to transform Singapore into the most successful country in Southeast Asia, as well as a booming nation on the world stage.
In terms of GDP per head, calculated based on purchasing power parity, Singapore takes third place, yielding only to Luxembourg and Norway, and surpassing countries such as the USA, Switzerland, the UK and Japan (according to the World Bank report of 2007). Singapore has become a leading hub for ship building and repair, oil refining and oil shipping; it is also one of the biggest suppliers of radio electronic components.
The second factor that makes Singapore attractive to global investors is the high reliability of its financial system, resulting in Singapore becoming the only Asian country that enjoys the highest – «AAA» – rating of the World Bank. The Singapore dollar (S$ or SGD) is the steadiest currency of Southeast Asia, which was almost unaffected by the 1997 economic crisis. All these aspects contribute to Singapore's reputation as one of the world's leading financial centres. The tiny city-state is home to six local and 111 foreign banks, and about 150 insurance and investment companies1. The registration of offshore banks (about 41, as of today) was introduced to attract even more foreign bank capital to the country. In total, there are more than 500 financial organisations offering quality services in Singapore today.
Last but not least is Singapore's advantageous location in Southeast Asia and its highly developed transportation infrastructure. Singapore is the world's busiest seaport in terms of container traffic. Changi airport, which has been repeatedly named best in its class, accommodates 80 airlines that fly passengers to more than 180 cities in 59 countries of the world (including Moscow, Russia). Such a fantastic transport infrastructure, along with numerous hotels of different price ranges, top-notch medical treatments, exciting sights and attractions and various restaurants to please any palate, account for the annual increase in the number of visitors to Singapore.