HR & EDUCATION, MARKETS & INVESTING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore lags San Francisco and Tokyo in world innovation rankings: study

Its high level of foreign direct investment has boosted its score.

Singapore was hailed as the third most innovative country behind San Francisco and Tokyo, according to a study by JLL, which is scored based on a city’s innovation capacity and the relative strength of its talent pool.

Innovation is based on the level of foreign direct investment (FDI) in high-tech industries, research and development expenditure, the number of patents awarded and venture capital activity. The strength of a city’s talent pool is determined by its demographics, quality of its higher education institutions, proportion of people with a bachelor’s degree and employment in high-tech industries.

Singapore’s high ranking is supported by significant levels of FDI and a rapidly- growing start-up scene. JLL stated that over $13.7b (US$10b) has been invested over the last three years in sectors ranging from software design to semiconductor manufacturing.

The establishment of global tech companies in Singapore, such as Google and Facebook, is also a contributing factor and has seen over $13.7b (US$10b) of venture capital invested in local startups over the same period.

However, Singapore has failed to be part of JLL’s top 20 talents hotspot. This is said to be attributed to slow growing “‘engine room” population (those in the 20-40 years cohort).

Nonetheless, the nation still scored well on other talent attributes, such as its well-educated workforce, the presence of three world-class universities and an above-average proportion of the workforce employed in high-tech industries.

Of the 109 cities analysed, the seven leading Asia Pacific cities – Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Seoul, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Sydney – accounted for more than 50% of total annual real estate investment volumes over the past decade in the region. 

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