ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore grabs top spot in AsiaPac's most innovative city list

But here's why this is arguable.

According to Solidiance's recent study "Most Innovative Cities in Asia Pacific," Singapore is ranked as the most innovative city in the Asia Pacific region in this study, but some could argue that its society is not that innovative. 

When it comes to addressing the city’s perks, including innovativeness, everyone argues about how their city is the best. It is because people are more emotional about their city instead of their country.

When assessing Singapore, a city-state the confusion between ‘city’ and ‘society at large’ is easy but needs to be avoided. Singapore sits on top of this ranking because it has made dramatic and perpetual improvements for the past 25 years.

Here's more from Solidiance:

It looks as if the city somehow lives by the Jack Welch formula: “Get better or get beaten”. In City-years, thus not that long ago, Singapore was a swamp, then became a spices trading port.

Thanks to its strong leadership vision and implementation, the city later became a manufacturing centre, a high-tech leader and now it has become the most innovative city in Asia Pacific.

Singapore is still a young city, and things are not always perfect but it has built the most attractive ecosystem for companies to innovate in Asia Pacific as it constantly strives for leapfrog improvements and visible changes.

Problems are not shunned under the carpets but fast-addressed. Singapore has been built with an ecosystem efficiency in mind. Many wellknown localcompanies such as Eu yan Sang, breadtalk, Hyflux, TWG Tea, etc. as well as global Fortune 500’s Asia HQs are proof of Singapore’s ability to accommodate a sustainable business environment and an innovative ecosystem.

Singapore’s openness to other cultures is matched by no other city in Asia Pacific. The constantly evolving melting pot is not always easy to manage but creates real opportunities for those who are willing to grab it.

To retain its leading position as a key innovative city in Asia and to really become a global innovative city, Singapore will have few other routes but to remain smartly opened to new ideas, new cultures, and new entrants.

Innovation can indeed be sometimes disruptive. The innovative Singapore F1 Grand Prix that boasts a night race in the middle of the town came with some traffic adjustments and noise.

Singapore authorities and city leadership are present in the marketplace to seed innovation, but the days when Singaporean entrepreneurs were laughed at and tagged as Kiasu (a term derived from Hokkien language, meaning ‘a fear of losing’), are now gone.

Damien Duhamel, Managing Partner Asia of Solidiance, summarized the Singapore findings: “Today, Singapore is bold, fast and successful - and Singapore Inc. will follow the same path. 

Singapore has no other choice; it must adapt, stay opened and lead change if it is to remain relevant in the 21st century.” 

For more information about this ranking, visit

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