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Doing Business in Singapore VS United Kingdom


Southeast Asia’s Financial & High-Tech Hub

Singapore has over the years moved to the number two spot in the World Bank’s Global Survey Rankings for ease of doing business in 2017. The United Kingdom ranks seventh. Singapore enjoys a highly developed and successful free market economy with an open and corruption free environment. It also boasts a capita GDP higher than most other developed countries. Singapore has a conducive business environment that is strongly underscored by the political stability resulting in a cohesive pro-business policy direction. The country has embraced liberalisation, particularly, for trade, finance and trade as a means for economic prosperity. Singapore has attracted major investments in pharmaceuticals and medical technology production and will continue efforts to establish Singapore as Southeast Asia’s financial and high-tech hub. The UK meanwhile, a leading trading power and financial centre, is the second largest economy in Europe after Germany. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanised, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60 % of food needs with less than 2% of the labour force.


Transparent Business Haven

While the UK is one of the best locations for doing business in Europe, the recent events have clouded the business environment. In a popular referendum in June 2016, the UK voted to exit the European Union economic bloc. The aftermath of the Brexit referendum has resulted in some uncertainty regarding its stand towards economic integration and globalisation. The scope of its economic and trading engagement as well the immigration policy remains to be seen. Singapore is a transparent business haven with clear rules, simple and effective regulations.

The government is actively funding in research development and deployment, test bedding and demonstration projects that are all followed by wide scaled adoptions. This is due to the progressive nature of Singapore and its hunger to be the most advanced city in the world. Singapore is also a gateway to South East Asia and beyond and this can be used to establish yourself regionally as you will be provided a platform to share your knowledge and services with Singapore’s neighbours. Singapore has a highly productive and skilled workforce that is multi-racial and multi-lingual. A significant majority of its workforce are English speaking. Although it is pursuing a stringent immigration policy following its economic restructuring measures, Singapore continues to welcome deserving foreign talent. The United Kingdom has a vast labour pool but unlike Singapore it has minimum wages rules that drives up the business costs. Singapore lets the market forces determine the wages. Post Brexit, the end of the UK’s access to the EU may affect the mobility of skilled workforce and may impact the availability of labour.


Openness To Trade & Investments

Singapore, being a city-state without any natural resources, has always remained plugged into the global economy through its openness to trade and investments. Singapore continues to advocate and pursue economic integration with the regional and international economies; ASEAN Economic Community, Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements are examples of efforts towards its economic integration. The country has a vast network of FTAs and DTAs signed with partner countries globally to facilitate trade and investment. More than 99% of the goods enter the country’s domestic market duty-free. The UK’s Brexit referendum is a clear indicator of the country’s shift towards protectionism and the impact of its decision to exit the unified market remains to be seen. It is not clear if the country will renegotiate its treaty arrangements with other trade and investment partners.

Both countries have great public transport systems, the need to own a car is almost obsolete. However, if you do want to buy one, then London certainly comes up trump, with new car prices around 70% cheaper than in Singapore. Once you’ve purchased, though, you’ll find petrol around 16% more expensive in London. Petrol prices also vary somewhat depending on the area. Like Singapore, the British government provides several financial schemes that offer significant tax benefits not just to smart investors who can afford expensive tax advice, but also to the founders and even employees of companies. However, the number of assistance schemes offered by the Singapore government far outnumber those offered in the UK.