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Singapore is pricey but strong test market


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Singapore flag

Flag Facts

The band of red denotes brotherhood and equality, while the white band signifies purity and virtue. The waxing crescent moon symbolizes a young nation on the ascendancy and the five stars represent democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.

Location: In Southeastern Asia, Singapore’s islands (about 60 of them) are between Malaysia and Indonesia. The country is slightly more than three-and-a-half times the size of Washington, D.C.

Language: English and Mandarin are official languages

Total Population: 5.9 million

Capital: As a city-state, Singapore is both the country and its capital.

Government: Parliamentary republic

Religion: Buddhist 33.2 percent, Christian 18.8 percent; also Muslim, Taoist, Hindu and others.

Economy:  A highly developed and successful free-market economy makes Singapore an easy and desirable place to do business, along with it being a major distribution and logistics hub and a country with favorable tax codes. Unemployment is low, and the economy depends heavily on exports, particularly of electronics, petroleum products, chemicals, medical and optical devices, pharmaceuticals, and on Singapore’s vibrant transportation, business, and financial services sectors. The government is working to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign labor, raise productivity growth and increase wages amid slowing labor force growth and an aging population.

News note: Working to address the impacts of climate change, the government is offering climate action packages that include training programs ranging from climate science to flood management.

GDP (official exchange rate): $305.8 billion

Currency: Singapore Dollar (conversion rate at press time: 1 SGD equals $0.74 USD).

Franchising in Singapore: Foreign franchises are well received in Singapore, and the United States is the largest supplier of those franchises. American brands cover almost every industry, and while the market is saturated Singaporeans want fresh franchise concepts to introduce into the country. Success in Singapore is based on a number of factors including brand name, up-front costs and royalties, the concept’s uniqueness, and flexibility of the franchise agreement.

Cultural notes: Straightforward is the name of the game when it comes to business discussions. Business cards are a must as they are immediately exchanged during business and social meetings, observing the East Asian practice of presenting the card with both hands. Singapore’s anticorruption laws are so strict government officials may be prohibited from attending social events.

Ease of doing business ranking by World Bank: 2, behind only New Zealand.

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