BUILDING & ENGINEERING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore tops Asia's built asset performance index

Returns per capita from infrastructure and buildings was valued at $51,097.

Singapore generates the highest built asset income per person in Asia, at US$35,900 ($51,097) per capita, followed by Hong Kong at US$21,400 ($30,459), according to the Global Built Asset Performance Index released by Arcadis, a global design & consultancy firm for natural and built assets.

The index is an alternative indicator to measure a country’s economic performance, designed to better understand how built assets can power more growth to economies and contribute to stronger, sustainable performance.

Developed in conjunction with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), Arcadis’ index examines the income generated by buildings and infrastructure – homes, schools, roads, airports, power plants, malls, railways, ports and all other fixed assets – across 36 countries that collectively represent 78 percent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The return on built assets per capita is closely correlated with per-capita incomes. Singapore has ensured its returns on built assets per capita increase steadily. High savings rates were ploughed into productive investments that created a manufacturing hub and steadily moved up the value chain. Today, Singapore competes in some of the most high-value knowledge industries, so reliance on built assets is slightly reduced, though it retains some of its high-tech manufacturing.

Girish Ramachandran, Head of Business Advisory, South East Asia at Arcadis, comments: “Singapore’s economic growth, which exemplifies development through investment both in built and intangible assets, is certainly slowing. However, the resilience of Singapore’s economic growth over decades has been remarkable and so only a slight reduction is expected. It is evident that Singapore is keen to continue building new, smart and value-worth assets, and paying greater attention to maximizing the productivity and performance of existing assets for the long term.”

South East Asian countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia have large deposits of a range of commodities but over long periods they have moved towards manufacturing. To sustain growth, it is essential for these countries to further invest in built assets such as reliable power, transport and communications infrastructure.

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