Hong Kong and Tokyo beat Singapore as best finance locations in Asia: report
Its weak 10.7% performance on property factors and modest banking scale dragged its final score.
Singapore came in at third place as the best finance location in Asia after scoring highly on socio-economic factors such as political stability, ease of doing business and high-quality infrastructure, according to Colliers International’s Top Locations in Asia: Finance report.
The city state trailed behind Hong Kong and Tokyo with an overall score of 55% due to its modest banking scales in comparison to the top two cities, the report stated. It also performed weakly under the research’s property factors with 10.7% which was weighed down by its limited stock of prime grade office space that stood 24.3m sqft.
Singapore ranked first in Asia on the report’s employment criteria and is a major wealth management hub as it offers investors direct access to a wide range of regional and global investment opportunities, according to the report.
“The country’s excellent performance on employment considerations reflects its strength in political stability, operating conditions, corporate tax rate, city infrastructure, ease of doing business and low corruption, as well as English language capability,” the report highlighted.
Singapore is home to over 1,200 financial institutions, with over 200 banks calling the country home.
Singapore’s score on property factors is slightly lower than the average score of 13.4% across 16 countries in Asia, Colliers International said.
“Despite high per capita income, the country’s position on employer costs is moderate, reflecting average rent for Central Business District (CBD) prime grade office space of $75.67 (US$55) psm pm, or only about one half of the level of Singapore’s regional rival, Hong Kong,” the firm said in its report.
Meanwhile, Singapore also came out on top on human factors including personal tax, safety, living quality and climate and air pollution.
“A moderate personal tax rate is an important positive factor for employees in the finance sector despite a high overall cost of living,” Colliers International explained. “High scores on city safety, quality of living and air pollution for Singapore in our criteria echo the country’s top ranking in Asia Pacific (APAC) in the Global Quality of Living survey 2018 provided by Mercer.”
Ultimately, the data suggests that Singapore is the most livable place in Asia for expatriates, the firm added.
The report examined 16 countries in developed and emerging markets across Asia on 60 criteria relevant to choice of location under three headings: socio-economic factors, property factors and human factors.