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SINGAPORE


Rising in the East S


Singapore has quietly but steadily grown to become one of the world’s most outstanding financial centres. Dave Waller investigates the secret of its success


INGAPORE’S government knows how to get what it wants. Take its notorious ban on chewing gum sales, and its hefty punishments


for littering. We may think it extreme, but Singapore’s leaders point to the island’s immaculate streets. Though it’s harder to explain the bans on bungee jumping and wandering round the house in the nude. But the hands-on approach extends far beyond the social stuff. The people at the


top have also weighed in with a massive effort to stimulate growth, and the island’s economy is soaring as a result. It now ranks fourth in the world in the Global Financial Centres Index – behind only New York, London and Hong Kong – and was recently named by the World Bank as the best place in the world for starting a business. To see how seriously Singapore is taking its aim to be a global player, just look at gambling. This year it opened two


30 businesslife.co December 2010/January 2011


high-profile casino and leisure complexes – Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa (the latter includes South East Asia’s first Universal Studios). Being Singapore, the moral argument was heated, but it couldn’t stop the economics – the developments are set to bring in 17 million visitors a year, generating over $21bn by 2015. And you wouldn’t bet against more


success. Singapore’s economy took a hit in 2009, but grew a world-beating


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