Tony Sagami: I’ve traveled all over Asia, so people often want to know my favorite part of this huge continent.
I can answer the question several ways. Japan will always have a special place in my heart. I was born in Japan and have family there.
As a tourist, I have many favorites. I love the history and charm of Beijing … Taiwan’s beautiful mountains and beaches … the vibrant bustle of Shanghai … the stunning views of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor … and the colorful culture of Thailand.
From a business and investment perspective, one country definitely stands out from the rest: Singapore.
Singapore’s Shining Past — and Even Brighter Future
Traders traveling between the Indian Ocean and South China have long sailed through the Straits of Singapore. Its unique position as one of the primary commercial gateways to Asia makes Singapore a key crossroad for global trade.
By the late 1800s, three developments made Singapore one of the world’s most important ports of call:
- The advent of the steamship
- The 1869 opening of the Suez Canal
- The widespread adoption of rubber
The way these factors bolstered Singapore’s position is a story in itself. By the beginning of the 20th century, Singapore was enjoying unprecedented prosperity.
The next major stepping-stone came in 1965 when Singapore, by mutual agreement, separated from Malaysia. Its new status as an independent republic only furthered its powerful growth, which continues to this day.
With a population around 6.9 million, the country generates $60,688 in per-capita gross domestic product. That’s the third highest in Asia, behind only Hong Kong and Japan. Singapore also has a sky-high 95% literacy rate and the highest standard of living in Asia.
The World Bank calls Singapore “the world’s easiest place to do business.” The country earned that moniker by concentrating on growth industries like financial services, biomedical research, technology and oil refining.
American Express, AIG, Boeing, Cargill, Dell, ExxonMobil, Ford, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Merck … they all have significant operations in Singapore.
Singapore is an economic juggernaut with an unmatched combination of modern comforts, sophistication, cleanliness, and an energetic enthusiasm for commerce.
Those values explain why …
- Singapore’s GDP is surging,
- The Singapore Straits Times stock index is up by 13% so far this year, and
- The country’s economy is one of the fastest-growing in the world!
Earlier this week, the Singapore Ministry of Trade & Industry reported GDP rose 3.8% in the second quarter, above the 3.7% estimate and sharply higher that the 0.2% Q1 gain.
Furthermore, the Singapore MTI upped its full-year 2013 growth forecast to 3.0% and the 2014 outlook from 2.5% to 3.5%.
The Singaporean government expects big things — and so do I.
How Can You Profit from Singapore’s Strength?
You can share in Singapore’s growth through an Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) specifically indexed to Singapore.