Singapore is an island nation the size of Chicago but with twice as many people – it has a population of over 4 million. However, while it’s an island nation, its innovation and economic growth ambition is, in fact, continent-sized. One of the Singapore’s strategic achievements (along with digital media and clean technology) involves being the leader of biotechnology in the global economy. Singapore focuses heavily on nurturing and leveraging human capital in bio-tech areas to establish itself as a dominant power. For example, it recruits world-renowned scientists and arms them with the tools they need to find cures for major diseases. They also plan to educate a generation of native and immigrant Singaporeans to carry on that highly specialized work.

Singapore has had great success in attracting foreign talent; but at the same time, it also provides its local people with the best opportunities for growth to eliminate the brain drain. The country’s brand identity for education – “Thinking Schools, Learning Nation” – rewards high-performing teachers and experiments with new learning technologies. It comes as no surprise that one of Singapore’s most important national icons is its futuristic National Library. Here are some facts about the nation that cause a huge envy from the rest of the world:


  • It’s the easiest place in the world to do business.
  • It’s the best landing opportunity for dynamic Asian market through its modern port.
  • It’s the world’s leader in high-tech exports.
  • It ranks highest in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics education among the industrialized countries, including the USA (Source: World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2011-12).
  • Its exports share of GDP is 211%. The U.S. finished last place with 13% in 2010 (Source: World Bank).

Singapore is an important hub for the South-East Asian region. Its economy has always been dependent on international trade. In recent years, the Government has moved to reduce reliance on the manufacture and export of electronics by developing its own service sector, as well as independent biotechnology, chemical and petrochemical industries.

Exports are the main source of revenue for the Singaporean economy. Its primary export partners are Hong Kong, Malaysia, the U.S. and China. Singapore’s major imports include commodities, machinery & equipment, mineral fuels, chemicals and consumer goods.
Singapore’s strong Intellectual Property protection, its American styles of doing business, and its predominantly spoken language (English) have made this country a favorable destination for U.S. exporters. Some of the hot markets for exports are health care, energy, aerospace, and educational & training services.

Singapore has truly achieved the economic miracle by investing in human capital – it showcases people with talents, ideas, and knowledge, as well as leaders with entrepreneurial motivation, vision and organizational ability. Singapore is one of the globe’s smallest countries in the world, yet it’s responsible for the largest global footprint in the 21st century.

Ayse Oge is President of Ultimate Trade, International Trade Consulting, Speaking and Training. She is the author of “World Wise Children” and “Global Business Guide.” Her website: