Singapore ranks third in Asia Pacific as most desirable country for business expansion

Affluence of citizens and potential customer base contribute to Singapore’s competitive edge 
Singapore has emerged as the third most desirable country in the Asia Pacific region and sixth in the world by companies looking to expand their business overseas, according to The art of connecting global business, an international report published by BT. The report surveyed 1,150 business leaders in 13 regions, including 350 respondents from the Asia Pacific region. 

Singapore’s attractiveness as a business destination 
About 41 per cent of the business leaders in India indicate Singapore as an excellent destination to grow their business. Furthermore, a significant 48 per cent of respondents in China and 47 per cent in India are currently or planning on expanding into Singapore. 

The potential customer base and affluence of citizens are cited by business leaders as the most crucial factors contributing to Singapore’s high ranking. The nation’s I.T skills and quality of governance and IT security/data protection are also recognised as top characteristics attracting businesses to grow their footprint here, reflecting how important the quality of IT infrastructure is to expansion plans. 

Ron Totton, managing director, South East Asia, BT Global Services, said: “Countries such as Singapore are regarded as highly desirable places to expand into not only because of their economic potential but the extensive digital infrastructure, skills and regulation. With BT’s technological expertise and strong presence in the Asia Pacific region, we are well placed to help bringing foreign businesses to Singapore.” 

Singapore businesses branching out 
Globally, business leaders and decision makers are all looking to grow their business’ international footprint. An overwhelming 80 per cent globally and 76 per cent in Singapore believe that international expansion is highly essential for the success of their organisation. 84 per cent of Singapore business leaders specifically say that growth opportunities are the main reason prompting them to expand overseas. 

The study also highlighted that Singapore businesses indicate the US and Hong Kong as their desired destinations for expansion due to their potential customer base, followed by China, Indonesia and Thailand. 

Technology factors key to business expansion 
In making the decision to expand overseas, 91 per cent of businesses agree that if a country is a “digital-first” economy then this is of “great help” for overseas expansion. “Digital-first” economies are those which have a ubiquitous, nationwide, high speed internet connection. Other technology factors taken into consideration include the quality of IT infrastructure and services (62 per cent), the quality of digital and communications infrastructure (62 per cent) and the IT skills of the workforce (52 per cent). 

The lack of an adequately competent IT infrastructure is one of the key challenges hindering overseas growth. In Singapore, nearly all (96 per cent) business leaders are hindered to some extent by the digital infrastructures of their most desired markets. 

Totton continued: “It is clear that the IT infrastructure can stand in the way of organisations expanding overseas. Networks can transform the environment in which these businesses operate, at home and abroad. They help to orchestrate businesses, bring people together, identify opportunities and allow us to deliver great business outcomes.” 

About The art of connecting global business 
The art of connecting global business: A barometer of executives’ views on the opportunities and challenges of international growth is a new report commissioned by BT based on survey of 1,150 company executives based in 13 regions worldwide. The companies covered by the sample each employ over 100 staff and are all in the process of, or are considering, international expansion. The survey was conducted by international market research agency Vanson Bourne on BT’s behalf. It can be downloaded from www.bt.com/ifb-research-2014