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Singapore 101 - An Island Nation's Story

Singapore 101 - An Island Nation's Story
Singapore Economics

As a result of its development from a British colony to one of the Asia Tigers, Singapore's economy heavily depends on the industry and service sectors. Singapore is a world leader in several areas, it is the world's fourth leading financial centre, the world's second biggest casino gambling market, the world's top three oil refining centre. The port of Singapore is one of the five busiest ports in the world. The country is home to more US dollar millionaire households per capita than any other country. The World Bank notes Singapore as the easiest place in the world to do business.

Singapore has a highly developed market-based economy, based historically on extended entrepôt trade. Along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Republic of China (Taiwan), Singapore is one of the Four Asian Tigers. The economy depends heavily on exports and refining imported goods, especially in manufacturing, which constituted 27.2% of Singapore's GDP in 2010 and includes significant electronics, petroleum refining, chemicals, mechanical engineering and biomedical sciences sectors. In 2006 Singapore produced about 10% of the world's foundry wafer output. Singapore is a world leader in several economic areas, it is the world's fourth leading financial centre, the world's second biggest casino gambling market, the world's top three oil refining centre, the world's largest oil rig producing nation and a major ship repairing nation. The port is one of the five busiest ports in the world. The country is home to more US dollar millionaire households per capita than any other country. The World Bank also praises Singapore as the easiest place in the world to do business and ranks Singapore as the world's top logistics hub. Lastly, the country is also the world's fourth largest foreign-exchange trading centre after London, New York and Tokyo.

Most work in Singapore is in the service sector, which employed around 2,151,400 people out of 3,102,500 jobs in December 2010. Around 64.2% of jobs were held by locals. The percentage of unemployed economically active people above age 15 is about 2%. Poverty levels are low compared to other countries in the region. The government provides cheap housing (in the form of Housing Development Board flats) and financial assistance to poorer people. Singapore has the world's highest percentage of millionaire households, with 15.5 percent of all households owning at least one million US dollars.

Tourism forms a large part of the economy, and 10.2 million tourists visited the country in 2007. To attract more tourists, in 2005 the government legalised gambling and allowed two casino resorts (called Integrated Resorts) to be developed. Singapore is promoting itself as a medical tourism hub: about 200,000 foreigners seek medical care there each year, and Singapore medical services aim to serve one million foreign patients annually by 2012 and generate USD 3 billion in revenue.

Singapore Geography

The Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, located about 137 kilometres north of the equator. It is a small island nation made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to the north. The country is highly urbanised with very little primary rainforest remaining, with significant area of land being created to satisfy the demand for land through land reclamation works.

Land reclamation projects have thus far increased Singapore's land area from 581.5 sq km in the 1960s to 704 sq km today. There are tentative plans to grow this by another 100 sq km by 2030. Some projects involve merging smaller islands through land reclamation to form larger, more functional islands, as with Jurong Island. About 23% of Singapore's land area consists of forest and nature reserves. Urbanisation has eliminated most primary rainforest, with Bukit Timah Nature Reserve the only significant remaining forest.

Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate with no distinctive seasons, uniform temperature and pressure, high humidity, and abundant rainfall. Temperatures usually range from 23 to 32 °C (73 to 90 °F). Relative humidity averages around 79% in the morning and 73% in the afternoon. April and May are the hottest months, with the wetter monsoon season from November to January. From July to October, there is often haze caused by bush fires in neighbouring Indonesia. Although Singapore does not observe daylight saving time, it follows time zone GMT+8, one hour ahead of its geographical location.



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