6 February 2021
Singapore—the Tech Hub of Southeast Asia
In TODAY’s Big Read, Spire’s CEO, Leon Perera, shares his perspectives on Singapore’s competitive advantage vis-a-vis other technological hubs in Southeast Asia, alongside other commentators from the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), Sea Group, Zoom and others.
Singapore’s tech scene takes off
Despite the pandemic-induced economic uncertainty, foreign investments hit S$17.2 billion in 2020, a record high for Singapore in over a decade. With 80 of the world’s top 100 technology firms having a sizeable presence in Singapore, the country is host to some of the world’s fastest-growing technological firms, with the likes of Zoom, ByteDance and Tencent having moved or expanded their operations to Singapore in recent months. TODAY reports that this influx of the world’s top tech firms has refreshed Singapore’s hopes of becoming the next Silicon Valley.
A bastion of neutrality
While the pandemic has slowed investor and business expansion momentum around the world, TODAY reports that global technology corporations have boomed, as digital interactions replace physical ones out of necessity. This resulted in a boom in the Singapore e-commerce sector, swelling by 87 per cent to hit US$4 billion in 2020.
Spire’s CEO Leon Perera provides his insights into the reasons for the boom in the tech sector during the pandemic. Leon shares that other hubs in the region have not been strong competitors. Citing the example of Hong Kong, he states that it has “faced its fair share of issues”, while locations in China such as Shanghai continue to face restrictions on access to some US social media platforms. These considerations could make Singapore a favorable location for tech-firms to set up business, as opposed to other competing cities. Looking within the Southeast Asian region, Leon further adds that Singapore stands out against competition for various reasons — ease of access to English-speaking manpower, connectivity, strong government incentives and support.
Supply of external talent
TODAY reports that the tech crunch is a global phenomenon, with a projected shortage of 4.3 million tech workers worldwide by 2030. With Singapore’s relatively small population and high demand for top- notch talent, the country’s continued competitiveness is contingent on its ability to consistently maintain an external supply of talent, while buttressing its domestic efforts to encourage entrance into the tech industry.
Leon comments that Singapore’s ability to hire diverse manpower that can support regional operations is also key. Where talent is concerned, he adds, Singapore has a fairly liberal employment pass regime compared to most other countries in the region.
To read more about Singapore’s tech scene, please click hereto read the article on Today
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Manager, Group Corporate Communications
Spire Research and Consulting
Phone: (65) 6838 5355