Many people around the world perceive Singapore as an excellent tourist hub, what with its sights and sounds, the hospitality and warmth of the people and the multicultural atmosphere that it has to offer.
There's no doubt about the fact that Singapore has something for everyone and can yield some amazing experiences for tourists when it comes to their epicurean delights, globally renowned tourists spots, clean and secure environment and entertainment options.
Did you know that Singapore also offers an extremely business-friendly environment to foreign investors? In fact, it has recently been adjudged the best-value city for foreign businesses.
All the factors that are conducive to starting and running a new business such as a strong forex market, free market economy, financial stability, robust legal and regulatory framework, advanced and efficient infrastructure, a corruption-free system, strategic geographical advantages and skilled manpower are easily available which make it a very attractive investment hub.
Top international firms like Apple, Google, Credit Suisse, DBS Bank, Procter and Gamble, Microsoft, et al have already acknowledged the potential in Singapore and have set up successfully running businesses here. There is also immense scope for business entertainment, which Singapore considers a crucial part of promoting foreign investment.
If you're looking for a healthy environment which is especially good for sustaining a start-up business, then Singapore is your one-stop destination. In fact, there is scope for all kinds of businesses to flourish here. Read on to know more about the most successful and lucrative business options (in no particular order) that you can start in Singapore.
Travel and Tourism
The travel and tourism industry is one of the largest contributors to the Singapore economy. The country’s natural beauty, flora and fauna as well as heritage structures are pleasant to the eyes. Singapore is known to be a safe tourist haven bundled with pocket-friendly shopping options.
If the 2012 statistics provided by the Singapore Tourism Board are to be believed, then Singapore tourism receipts registered a staggering S$23 billion, with International Visitor Arrivals alone at around 14.4 million. The numbers mentioned here speak for themselves and the scope is only expected to grow.
You might want to think about tapping potential domestic and international tourists by setting up your own travel agency or an airline that would cater to their every need and make their visit a memorable one.
Any destination that has a booming tourism industry will most definitely have a growing hospitality industry. This includes small-time bars and cafes to large multinational chains of hotels and resorts to the food and beverage industry here.
As Singapore is a major tourist destination, boutique as well as major luxury hotels have great scope for business – not only from the business perspective but also from the employee perspective.
Maybe you too should make hay while the sun shines and invest in this sector.
Many globally-renowned IT firms have already set up businesses in Singapore owing to the growing potential and skilled labour available in this arena. The infrastructure in Singapore has also been established keeping in mind the support that IT businesses would require in the years to come.
You could set up a business that provides a variety of IT services such as wireless networks, or web development, social networking, website designing or other businesses depending on your interest. Cyber laws here are well-equipped to regulate the internet and are updated on a regular basis.
Biotechnology is a rapidly developing industry in Singapore and has lately been attracting a lot of foreign attention. The government of Singapore is leaving no stone unturned in promoting this sector as a knowledge-based one.
Whether it is spending on the development of infrastructure, R&D facilities, technology or other aspects that support this industry, the government has been investing a great deal of money in it.
International players like Pfizer, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline have made their presence felt here. You too can make an investment in this sector and gain from it.
Singapore is also known to be one of the major telecom hubs in the Southeast Asian region. Be it mobile phone connections or providing internet services, there is a whole market that has been left untapped by existing telecommunications players.
Although the existence of private players is very prominent, facilities such as radio and television stations are all government-owned bodies. The print media is dominated by Singapore Press Holdings and MediaCorp.
This is a good time to think about investing in this sector and tap the market that is waiting to be catered to.
Singaporeans are a very fashionable bunch of people. They love keeping up with the latest trends and looking their best at all times. International high street fashion brands such as H&M, Aldo, Levis, Zara and the ilk are already making their chunk of profits here.
Tourists coming from all over the world shop in Singapore and stock up on these brands, the products of which are available at reasonable prices.
As the fashion retail industry in Singapore is bound to flourish, you could open a retail outlet/franchisee and make your pile of profits too.
This is an up-and-coming industry in the world of business in Singapore. It offers a lot of scope to businessmen as there are very few institutes within Southeast Asia that provide quality education.
Not only do Singaporean institutes provide good quality education but their courses are also in high demand. This is turning out to be a preferred destination especially for Southeast Asian students who want to go for higher studies but without venturing far away from home.
You could consider setting up business in this sector that provides accredited courses in travel and tourism, hospitality, fashion designing, business administration, science and research and so on.
Besides these, Singapore offers tremendous investment scope in many other industries like manufacturing, beauty, healthcare, electronic goods, real estate, and online marketing. The list is never ending. You need to figure out which sector you want to grow in and make a wise and informed investment accordingly.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Satish Bakhda is the Chief Operating Officer at Rikvin. He brings with him over 15 years of experience in the corporate services industry and is a regular speaker at marketing events around the world. He is also a consultant on matters relating to incorporation, relocation, accounting and taxation in Singapore.