ECONOMY | Contributed Content, Singapore
Antonio Acunzo

Here's what 2 alpha cities like Singapore and Miami share in common - Part 2


Half the world across, and the Cargo Gateway of the Americas, alias the Port of Miami, is a major global logistics hub with Latin America and Caribbean representing 52% of the cargo business, and Asia-Pacific at 39%, with growing markets in East Asia, and recorded a movement of 901,454 TEUs in 2013.

The Port of Miami is currently undergoing a major upgrade in order to accommodate super-sized and deep-draught vessels by deepening its channel to -50/52 feet and scheduled for completion in 2015 tuned with the opening of the expanded Panama Canal.

From sea to air, and Singapore Changi airport, voted best airport in 2013 by Skytrax in the category over 50 million passengers per year, ranked #13 as world’s busiest airport by passenger traffic in 2013 with a total of 53,726,087 passengers, and gets #5 in the list of busiest airports by international passengers traffic, after London, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Paris, while Miami International airport ranked #26 with 40,563,071 passengers and keeps the same #26 position as well in the list of world’s busiest when counting international passenger traffic.

Miami International airport ranks also #2 in the USA as 2nd busiest airport for international traffic right after New York’s JFK airport.

On the cargo side the situation is reversed with Miami International airport ranking ahead of Singapore Changi at #11 as world’s busiest airport by cargo volume in 2012 handling 1,929,889 tons of cargo, and followed by Singapore Changi airport at #12 with a total of 1,898,850 tons.

Still on the business side and Singapore and Miami are 2 magnets and shining beacons for the Luxury industry.

Singapore is the key regional hub for Luxury in the ASEAN region, and a top hub in Asia-Pacific, with a market size in 2013 of €2.5 billion (some S$4.3 billion) and combined with the growing Indonesia onshore luxury market, and the value of offshore spending by Indonesians in Singapore, Credit Suisse reports that the so-called combined “Singonesia” luxury market should reach a value of US$8 billion (some S$10.2 billion) by 2015.

The US luxury market (#1) remains steadily as the largest luxury market in the world with a market size of €62.5 billion (some S$110 billion) reconfirming it’s back on track in growth and performance, and Miami continues to report a strong rising performance in all luxury categories.

Let’s remain within Luxury and the prestigious French design trade show Maison&Objet elected Singapore for its first edition outside Paris, France, and during the 4 days of 10-13 March 2014 Maison&Objet Asia 2014 gathered over 14,000 designers, design professionals, design buyers, design media, who visited the latest trends in design furniture and luxury home décor from over 200 international exhibitors who showcased their high-end products at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Conference Centre.

And guess what, the first ever edition in America – Maison&Objet Americas 2015 – will take place next year no less than in … Miami, yes that’s right, in Miami Beach to be precise, next 12-15 May 2015 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Luxury again, and the premier event for luxury business and creative leaders – the International New York Times Luxury Conference – gathered over 500 attendees from 36 countries for the 2013 conference which took place in Singapore, at the Foster + Partners-designed Capella Singapore in Sentosa, bringing in some of the biggest names in the fashion and luxury industries, from Douglas Benjamin, COO of the FJ Benjamin Group of Companies, to Pierre Denis, CEO of Jimmy Choo, to Suzy Menkes, International Fashion Editor of the International New York Times, to Domenico De Sole, Chairman of Tom Ford International, to name just a few.

And Miami will be the hosting city for the 2014 conference set for next 2-3 December 2014 at the Mandarin Oriental Miami hotel, timed to coincide with 4-7 December 2014 Art Basel Miami Beach, the meeting place for the international artworld which gathered 75,000 visitors in its 2013 edition.

Another common trait is continuous development in luxury residential Real Estate.

In Singapore, property market showcases outstanding luxury residential condos that rise the benchmark of amenities, facilities, fittings, and details, attracting internationally-acclaimed architects in designing the utmost condo, and collecting international awards.

The high-end segment includes landmarks like the deconstructivist archi-star Daniel Libeskind designed Reflections at Keppel Bay, the Hamilton Scotts which offers the extra feature of an en-suite sky garage, and The Marina Bay Suites that earned the title of Best Luxury Condo in South-East Asia in 2013.

Over 20 new condos are set to be launched, from the Glades in Tanah Merah, to the Ocean Front Suites in Pasir Ris, and that’s only a small niche out of the new 30,000 condo units to be completed between 2013-2014.

In Miami, January 2014 marked the beginning of the construction of the 50th condo tower, namely the SLS Hotel & Residences Brickell, and that’s a huge positive sign after Miami’s real estate market turned for the better in 2011 following the 2008 global economic recession that hit the US and Florida very badly.

Developers are currently building over 7,000 condo units along the stretch between the east of the I-95 highway and the Atlantic ocean, with plans for additional 25,000 condo units.

On the leisure side, Singapore aims at becoming Asia’s passenger cruise hub after the opening of the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore in May 2012, a S$500 million state-of-the-art facility which welcomed 1.3 million cruise passengers in 2013.

Predictions for Asia cruise passengers expect to reach 3.7 million by 2017, and 7 million by the year 2020, with Singapore playing a leading role.

Over 4 million cruise passengers transited via Port Miami, the “Cruise Capital of the World”, in 2013, and another 4 million via Port Everglades in nearby Fort Lauderdale, named best domestic port in 2013 by the Porthole Cruise Magazine.

The US contributed with 11 million, or 51.7% of the 21 million cruise passengers worldwide (8 million alone via Miami and Fort Lauderdale).

Well, I may keep going on with several more categories where Singapore and Miami are top of the class, and proved to be really Alpha Cities in creating a benchmark for global scale.

For sure Singapore and Miami are unique cities with a vibe rare to find elsewhere, and a strong identity trait that redefines the business and lifestyle environments taking them to the next level.

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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Antonio Acunzo

Antonio Acunzo

Antonio Acunzo is the CEO at MTW GROUP | Foreign Market Entry Advisors, a market-entry strategy and brand marketing advisory firm founded in Florida, and with Asia-Pacific office in Singapore. He brings with him over 15 years of experience in international business in the US and Asian markets focused on the Luxury and THL industries, and is a regular speaker at marketing and international business events.

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