COMMERCIAL PROPERTY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Here's what kept Singapore from being Asia's best tech hub

The Lion City lagged behind Bangalore in growth potential measures due to its small size.

Singapore is the second best tech hub in the world as it scored 63%, 4.9 ppt points behind Bangalore’s total score of 67.9% in a study by Colliers International about top Asian locations for the technology sector.

Top scorer Bangalore drew its greatest strengths from the socio-economic measures as the city is predicted to be the fastest-growing in Asia over the next five or ten years. In addition, it is home to a wide and deep talent pool.

Under socio-economic factors, Singapore did not gain a high score on measures of growth potential or economic output.

“This is natural considering that Singapore is a small country with a population of just 5.6 million people,” the firm explained.

Despite this, the Lion City topped in terms of sourcing talent in Asia reflecting the strength of the country’s educational and research facilities and their perceived international outlook. Moreover, the city-state ranked first overall on employment considerations which include political stability, ease of doing business, corporate tax rate, city infrastructure and English language capability.

“One of the key attractions of Singapore to multinational enterprises is the country’s position as the natural financial and communications hub for South East Asia,” the study noted.

In terms of property factors, Singapore recorded only average scores. The firm noted that CBD prime grade office space is priced at about $75.28 psf pm which is only about a half of the rates in Hong Kong.

Moreover, the Lion City did not fare well in terms of office accommodation measures as it is held back with limited total prime grade office stock of 24.3 million sq ft.

“This is only one-third of the level of Hong Kong and a fraction of the level of the larger markets like the major India cities or Tokyo,” the firm noted.

Despite this, the Lion City achieved good scores on the sustainability index and city innovation index.

Singapore also ranked first in Asia in terms of human factors measures with its moderate personal tax rate as an important positive factor the soaring cost of living. The study showed that the Lion City achieved high scores on aspirational measures such as city safety, quality of living, air pollution and the “High-Tech City” measure that Colliers has derived from 2thinknow and the World Economic Forum.

According to Colliers International, Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo approach Singapore on human factors, but do not quite match it. Meanwhile, Bangalore and Hyderabad also score highly on human factors mainly due to low cost of living.

Top scorer Bangalore came next to Tokyo in terms of the largest stock of Grade A office space. Low employer costs (reflecting moderate staff costs and office rents) and a low cost of living also pushed the city to the top spot. However, its weak spot lies in terms of measures of quality of office accommodation and quality of infrastructure.

Coming next to Bangalore and Singapore in Asia’s best tech hubs are Shenzhen, Beijing, and Shanghai.

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