Singapore: The Place to Be

On most world maps, Singapore appears insignificant. Indeed, it has been called “The Little Red Dot”. So, how has this tiny tropical island nation in Southeast Asia managed to claim a disproportionately large share of the spotlight on the international stage? Why are billionaires, multinationals, top global talent and students flocking to the country? What makes Singapore the place to be?

With a total population of about 5.7 million people and a land area only slightly smaller in size than that of New York City, Singapore is the second-most-densely populated country in the world.

10 reasons why you should come to Singapore

High-rises dot the skyline, from government-built Housing Development Board (HDB) residential flats and private condominiums to skyscraper commercial buildings. The country has excellent infrastructure and transport networks, stemming from its heritage as an important regional port.


Housing Development Board (HDB) residential flats Housing Development Board (HDB) residential flats

Today, it remains one of the busiest ports in the world, but has also grown to become a global hub for financial services, with manufacturing and services being key contributors to the economy. Biotechnology as well as information and communications are counted among its emerging industries.

Apart from a strong economy, its stable political environment and low crime rate make Singapore an attractive place to live and work.

Busy street of Singapore Busy street of Singapore

Locals come from various cultural backgrounds, and it is not unusual to overhear a conversation on the street mixing up words from two or more of the official languages (Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil). The international community is quite sizable too; four out of every 10 people one might meet on the street will probably hail from another country.

Because of this melting pot environment, Singaporean society is generally tolerant and respectful of differences. The rich diversity that exists here also means that a multitude of cuisines to suit any palate can be found across the island. Food is a big deal in Singapore, and social gatherings more often than not involve sharing snacks, drinks or a meal.

Singapore skyline
Singapore skyline

In general, the lifestyle in Singapore is best described as being urban. The average Singaporean lives in a high-rise flat or apartment, is tech-savvy (Internet and mobile device use is relatively high), and likely spends a significant amount of his or her time in an air-conditioned space (the world-famous shopping malls along Orchard Road being a popular choice to unwind and indulge in a little retail therapy).

That said, the many parks and green spaces around the island also attract a substantial number of visitors during weekends and public holidays. Environmental awareness is growing, accompanied by increasing investments in green technologies and innovation.

Technology, research and development are an integral part of Singapore’s strategic plan for the future. Apart from striving to create a good environment for business, growth and innovation, it recognises the importance of human talent—evident from its emphasis on education and lifelong learning. A Quacquarelli Symonds analysis declared that apart from having the fourth best higher education system in the world, Singapore is home to the most world-class programmes in Asia1

Technology, research and development
Technology, research and development

Singapore’s efforts to attract talent, organisations and investment in this regard is good news for anyone aspiring to build a strong foundation for advancement in the future. Indeed, many professionals and multinational organisations have already set themselves up in the country.

Onward, Singapore

Aims to be the world’s first Smart Nation1
First in Asia for digital infrastructure2
First in the world for technological readiness3
8th most-innovative economy in the world, and top in Asia for the past seven years4
Vibrant start-up ecosystem, with more than 600 venture capital deals exceeding S$10 billion in 20205
Second in the world for start-up talent6
Second-most attractive destination for global talent7
Second in the world for ease of doing business8
Home to nearly half of all the regional headquarters in Asia9
Houses more than half of Southeast Asia’s data centre capacity10
  1. Smart Nation and Digital Government Office
  2. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Asian Digital Transformation Index 2018
  3. EIU, Preparing for disruption: Technological Readiness Ranking 2018
  4. World Intellectual Property Organisation, Cornell University and Insead, Global Innovation Index 2020
  5. Prime Minister’s Office Singapore
  6. Start-up Genome, Global Start-up Ecosystem Report 2019
  7. INSEAD, The Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2020
  8. The World Bank
  9. BroadGroup, Data Center South East Asia Market Report, January 2016
  10. Economic Development Board Singapore

For many, Singapore represents a chance to scale greater heights of success—and if that involves earning a postgraduate degree, one should really look more carefully at the value proposition offered by the country’s flagship university, the National University of Singapore.

1As reported in The Straits Times, 4 Mar 2021.

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15 February 2023