Tue, 09 Aug 1994

Singapore strives to stay ahead in business world

It promises to be a long haul, but Singapore is jostling for a leading position as the so-called Information Superhighway maps the globe and charts new business directions for the 21st century.

The city-state is offering further proof of its willingness and capability to adapt to a new era by introducing high-tech and computerized systems.

Plans are afoot to implement a revolutionary telecommunications network. The proposed system will allow consumers to purchase goods from the comfort of their living room and hold videoconferences with colleagues and associates on the other side of the world.

The system will connect homes, schools, businesses and government agencies through an electronic grid, according to Asian Business. The optical fiber network is currently being installed throughout Singapore.

There will also be considerable benefits for the business world, which will be able to track trends both in the Southeast Asia region and globally. The advanced network will allow more accurate and efficient services for the business community.

Singapore may eventually act as a telecommunications hub for its neighbors and its advanced system will be watched closely by other nations.


The Singapore economy has enjoyed sustained growth and development since the nation's independence in 1965. The adoption of a free market economy, with active incentives for foreign investment, is one of the major factors in the Singapore success story.

Prudent planning, an educated workforce and dedication to national goals have earned Singapore the status of the 14th largest trading nation in the world, outranking many countries in Europe and Asia with greater populations and natural resources.

Electronics, computers, appliances, fabricated metal products, transport equipment, telecommunications equipment, machinery, petroleum products, industrial chemicals, gas, paints, pharmaceutical and other chemical industries are among the major industries in Singapore.

As one of the world's major finance centers, Singapore is home to international leaders in banking and investment and its integrated digital technology network will facilitate these operations.

With around 6 million tourist arrivals annually, or double the resident Singapore population, tourism is another important player in the economy as it is an important earner of foreign currency for the city-state.

Singapore's myriad hotels provide international standards of excellence and the extensive transportation network, including the Mass Rapid Transport (MRT), make it easy to crisscross the island.

Singapore's Orchard Row, a sumptuous paean to the art of shopping, is famed worldwide. Tourists, including thousands from Indonesia and other fellow member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), flock to Singapore for its shopping bargains for clothing, electronics and computer equipment and other duty-free items.

Although most farming areas have been lost to urban development, some farms remain. Many farms now use hydrophonic farming, the use of fertilizer and layering to grow crops, to increase productivity. Orchids and small food crops are grown by this method.

Singapore's port is the world's busiest in terms of shipping movements and tonnage. Many shipments are of refined oil as Singapore is the third largest oil refining center in the world. Although it now accounts for a small part of the economy, fishing continues in Singapore.


Singapore is aiming to position itself as a world center for trade, finance, aviation and maritime services, information, business and manufacturing.

The government has reclaimed vast tracts of land which will be home to new city business hubs and regional centers. Termed the Downtown Core, the new areas will include residential, shopping, recreational and additional facilities.

At least four regional centers for commercial activities are to be established. Each regional center will be configured to strike a balance between jobs and homes, to reduce traveling time to and from work and ease congestion within the central business direction.

Singapore's existing industrial estates will be refurbished and updated. At the same time, new business parks will be developed to meet the needs of newer generations of information- based and high-technology industries. In these parks, workplaces and businesses will mesh with residential and recreational facilities.

Transportation facilities are also undergoing an ambitious overhaul to keep in step for increasing demands. The construction of a huge new container port will triple capacity.

A new terminal will also be constructed at Singapore's Changi Airport, already a model for attention to traveler needs and efficiency, to make the traveling experience even smoother.

Singapore will also be working with its neighbors in ASEAN on several important projects.

The Growth Triangle linking Singapore with Indonesia and Malaysia is a strategic partnership based on sharing resources and capabilities. The arrangement helps all partners to grow faster by combining the best of what each has to offer, be it Indonesian factories with Singapore ports, Malaysian resorts with tourists from Singapore.

Singapore figured prominently in the development of the Batam Industrial Park on the Indonesian island. Private investors from Singapore have assisted in the development of industry and tourist resorts on both Batam and the neighboring island of Bintan.