Singapore is Asia’s most competitive city in attracting businesses, efficiency and promoting a clean environment, according to an Economist Intelligence Unit report commissioned by Citigroup Inc. (C)
The island, ranked by the World Bank as the easiest place to do business, was the world’s third-most competitive city after New York and London among 120, according to the report. Singapore ranked the highest in financial maturity and physical capital, beating fourth-ranked Hong Kong, the report showed.
“We have always been a hub open to the flow of people, ideas, capital, goods and services,” Khoo Teng Chye, executive director of Singapore’s Centre for Liveable Cities, said in the report. The city “has lured in businesses by, among other things, offering tax incentives and streamlining license approvals,” he said.
Singapore has cut taxes in recent years to spur investment, prompting companies to hire hundreds of thousands of people from overseas. Foreigners and permanent residents make up more than a third of the nation’s 5.2 million population. The city has brought in about 1 million people since the beginning of 2005 as the government allowed more immigration to make up for a declining birth rate.
The city state forecasts its economy will expand 1 percent to 3 percent this year after expanding 4.9 percent in 2011. The current growth forecast for Singapore in 2012 doesn’t factor in “downside risks emanating from abroad,” the trade ministry said on Feb. 16.