By: Lester Sauble
Singapore is the up-and-coming technology hub in Asia. There are three main factors which have propelled this small country into the world spotlight – Heavy investment in technology and job-focused education, a favorable business climate created through tax breaks and investment in start-ups, and the country’s advantageous geography, which makes it easy for industry leaders to visit and invest.
When Singapore gained its independence from Malaysia in 1965, Singaporean leaders recognized they had no natural resources, so the new country’s leaders invested heavily in the education and training of the Singaporean people. As part of this process, Singapore implemented a rigorous teacher selection process that subjects all potential teaching candidates to robust vetting. New teachers are then highly trained and paid significantly more than in most countries. As a result, Singapore’s students consistently achieve top rankings in the international community. Singaporean universities are also increasingly emphasizing job training and developing skills that translate directly into the tech and manufacturing sectors.
Singapore’s investment in education is subsequently bolstered by policies that are conducive to start-ups and other innovative companies. The government is very generous to start-up companies and differentiated businesses by providing substantial grants and other incentives to stimulate growth. One example is the ACE Startups Grant, which provides $50,000 USD if a company raises at least $21, 429 on its own. The government also provides mentors to each company awarded under the grant. In addition to the ACE Startups Grant, there are more than 15 government-funded grants available to companies at various stages of their development.
Other such policies that drive technological advancement in Singapore are the country’s corporate tax rates, corporate income tax rebates and tax exemption schemes. Singapore’s corporate tax rate has decreased from 20% in 2005 to 17% in 2010, and has remained at 17% so far throughout 2017. Further, Singapore’s government recognized the current economic climate and exempted 50%, capped at $20,000, for business income taxes. These rates can be even lower if the company takes advantage of the many incentives, subsidies and schemes. Companies can also use the foreign tax credit scheme to avoid being double taxed on income being remitted from overseas.
Finally, Singapore’s central location in close proximity to the majority of Asian markets provides natural economic advantages. Situated at the mouth of the Malacca Strait, where approximately 40% of maritime trade vessels transit, Singapore lies on a major east-west trading route and is one of the world’s top transportation hubs for sea and air cargo. From Singapore an executive can access approximately 270 cities in 60 countries within seven hours and an additional 60 cities and 20 countries through the Changi Airport.
As a software consultancy with global presence on four continents, Praescient prides itself on keeping abreast of the changing technology landscape. Our analyst consultants are always on the lookout for new trends, capabilities,, and technologies that we can vet and ultimately put in front of our customer-facing analytical teams. In this regard, and for the reasons stated above, Singapore represents a compelling emerging market for technology start-ups and analytic use cases