Theoretically, a company could choose to be located anywhere in the world. Think about it. So why exactly, year after year, do companies flock to Singapore, of all places?
Last week, the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmChamSG) helped MBA students answer that same question. AmChamSG’s Dustin Watson hosted a seminar led by company leaders from Caterpillar Inc., Malwarebyetes, and United Airlines. The AmChamSG provides the opportunity for these international businesses to network with peers and obtain information pertinent to their sectors.
Jeffrey Hardee represented Caterpillar Asia. Hardee is Caterpillar’s Executive Director for Asia Pacific Government & Corporate Affairs and Singapore Country Manager. Hardee worked in Singapore for past positions with Dell and the Motion Picture Association of America. Currently, Singapore is the regional headquarters for Caterpillar for the Asia Pacific region.
Jeff Hurmuses, the Asia Pacific Area Vice President and Managing Director of Malwarebytes, joined the conversation. Born in Hong Kong, Hurmurses has extensive experience working in the Asia Pacific region. Hurmuses brought a technical standpoint to the seminar.
Finally, Laurence Chin, the Company Manager of Singapore at United Airlines shared his expertise. A Singaporean local, Chin personally experienced the transformation of Singapore into a technology hub. As the first country manager from Singapore, Chin brought great competence to United Airlines operations in the region.
Although Hardee, Hurmuses, and Chin represented different companies, they each explained similar rationalities for choosing to operate in Singapore.
First and foremost, Singapore’s location is strategic, as it is surrounded the large potential markets of Thailand and India. Although it is a small country, Singapore has global reach. In 2016, U.S. Department of Commerce named Singapore as its 13th largest export market.
An economic miracle, in the last 50 years alone, Singapore became renown as a stable and predictable place for business. The low tax rate paired with a strong rule of law leveraged Singapore’s location to attract businesses. The rule of law offers businesses the secure knowledge that contracts in Singapore will be solidly bound.
As one of the safest countries in the world, business expats feel comfortable bringing their families along to Singapore. In addition, the high standards of education attract many business people to permanently relocate the entire family to Singapore.
Finally, there are four official languages of Singapore: Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and English. For Singaporean students, English is a compulsory language, which enabled Singapore to join the global economy.
Companies have found these reasons to not only be favorable for business, but also high quality of life. Next time you’re looking to relocate, keep an open mind about Singapore!
A huge thank you to Hardee, Hurmuses, and Chin for the fascinating and informative interview panel!