Singapore Business and Market Overview


Singapore’s GDP in 2004 is US$ 25,207 which makes them one of the leading economy in Southeast Asian countries. Although the country is insufficient of natural resources still it withstands the challenge and in fact it has been known as the center for regional business transactions for international trade, shipment and air transportation. Many US, European and Japanese multinational companies have established Singapore as a regional office for their business operations.

Inflation rate of Singapore still remains below 2.0% while their GDP grew at an average of 2.7% annually from 2000 to 2004. Even if Singapore is perceived to have an economy that is much ahead among the Southeast Asian countries, unemployment increased from 1.8% during the Asian economic crisis of 1997 to 5.3% in 2004. By being able to transform Singapore as a business center, Singapore added diversification and progress to the economy of the country.

The data shows that the service sector comprised 66.2% of Singapore’s GDP in 2004 on the other hand, the manufacturing sector comprised 33.7%. Agriculture plays a minimal role in Singapore’s economy and accounted only 0.1% of the country’s GDP. Major industries in Singapore include electronics, chemicals, financial services, petroleum refining, food processing, ship repair, offshore platform construction, biotechnology and  trade.

DEMOGRAPHY. In 2004, the population in Singapore is 4.2 million and most of which is Chinese comprising for 77% of the population. There are also other ethnic communities like Malays(14%) and Indians (8%). Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam are the pre-eminent religions being practiced. Majority of the Chinese are agnostic, Buddhist, Tao or follow the Christian faith while on the other hand most of the Malays are Muslims and most Indians are Hindus, Christian or Muslims. Languages prevalent in Singapore are English which is spoken and used in business and by the government; Chinese (mainly Mandarin and Hokkien), Malay and Tamil.

Singapore is a city-state and therefore nearly all its population live in an urban community. Majority of the Singaporeans live in a high-rise accommodation or flats accounting for nearly 90% of the households and only 10% live on landed property.

Unlike consumers in other Southeast Asian countries, Singaporean consumers’ disposable income is of high level. The percentage of high-income households is approximately 27% of the overall households on the other hand middle-income households is 32%. Low-income households i.e. those earning than US$ 1,900 per month account for 41% of the total households.

INFRASTRUCTURE. Domestic and international telecommunication services are excellent and one of the best in the region. Internet broadband services are efficient and widely available. Singapore’s road system is efficiently managed and the city-state is well served by a public transport system. Singapore has efficiently managed seaports and airport which are used as regional hubs by many sea and air carriers.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE. Singapore is known to have one of the busiest ports in the world.Singapore is currently connected to countries like Malaysia, Thailand, US, Hong Kong , Taiwan and Korea.Export from other countries are also imported and exported in malaysia and Indonesia.Electrical and electronic products, machineries, processed foods, consumer goods are the major products exported from Singapore. Machineries, equipments, mineral fuels and foods are the major imports of Singapore.

CONSUMER USAGE OF TECHNOLOGY. More than 90% of all homes have mobile phones putting the country on par with Sweden, Norway, Austria and Norway. Each home is composed of at least fixed line telephone, television and refrigerator.Of the 4.3 million population in Singapore there is an estimated total of 2.5 million who are actively using internet in their homes.Online payments is still prioritized in Singapore and an estimated amount of 2.5 million is currently using credit card.On the other hand, 35% of homes only have a car in Singapore.

RETAIL MARKET.Singapore is considered one of the countries that have the high standard of living and they follow Japan. US$ 11 billion was the estimated retails sales of Singapore in 2004.Unlike other countries in Southeast Asia, retail chains dominate over the industry by sales value.It includes shopping malls, hypermarkets, supermarkets, department stores, convenience stores.People from South and Northeast Asia keeps on visiting Singapore because of the international retailers and brands located there.There are also a lot of establishments in the sub urban areas.

FOOD CULTURE. The food culture in Singapore is mingled and influenced with various ethnic communities. Furthermore, Singaporeans are accustomed and often frequent various western and Japanese food service establishments including fast food outlets. Eating out is popular among Singaporeans and the current trend is to eat out rather than at home. Thus, Singaporeans spent 9% of their income on foods for cooking at home and 12% for eating out.