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Thread: S'pore leapfrogs HK as a financial centre

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    Default S'pore leapfrogs HK as a financial centre

    http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/...82851,00.html?

    Published June 10, 2008

    S'pore leapfrogs HK as a financial centre

    Survey ranks it fourth worldwide but expert says it can't stand still

    By JOYCE HOOI


    (SINGAPORE) Singapore climbed to fourth place on MasterCard's Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index this year, leapfrogging Chicago and Hong Kong along the way. It is now the number two city in Asia in this ranking of financial centres - with only Tokyo ahead of it.

    'The Centers of Commerce Index is a roadmap for corporations to identify and evaluate investment and market opportunities in a world where cities, instead of countries, have become the primary economic players,' said Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, MasterCard Worldwide's economic adviser in Asia-Pacific.

    The index surveyed 75 cities using seven key indicators of varying weightages that evaluated a city's legal and political framework, economic stability, ease of doing business, financial flow, business centre, knowledge creation and information flow, and livability.

    Singapore's ranking was driven by its strong showing in relation to the ease of doing business and its legal and political framework indicators, in which it ranked first and second overall, respectively.

    Manu Bhaskaran, a member of the panel behind the index, attributed Singapore's strength in these areas to prudent government leadership in facilitating commerce,

    'The government has made the right decisions in cutting taxes, bringing in talent and focusing on integrated resorts,' said Mr Bhaskaran at the briefing on the index yesterday.

    He is, however, quick to caution against complacency. 'Singapore tends to do well in the 'process areas' which are related to bureaucracy. But other people can learn this formula and mimic it,' he said.

    Instead, Singapore would do well to shore up its competence in the knowledge creation and liveability areas, he said.

    It is currently ranked 40th for liveability - an indicator measuring elements like personal freedom and quality of life. 'To generate more knowledge creation, Singapore should keep adding more universities and encouraging foreign talent,' said Mr Bhaskaran.

    Singapore also has its work cut out if it wants to break into the top three, which is illustrated by the fact that the top three positions have been retained this year by London, New York and Tokyo.

    'London and New York possess critical mass, having amassed a concentration of analysts, investment banks and the support services that accompany them. Critical mass is something that we lack, especially in the financial flows area,' said Mr Bhaskaran.

    The key to overcoming this limitation is cross-border integration and higher levels of economic growth within the Asean region, he revealed. 'Singapore has to be the capital city in the economic sense in Asean, in order for it to be in the top two,' he said.

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    Default S'pore is easiest city in the world to do business

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Money/St...ry_246246.html

    June 10, 2008

    S'pore is easiest city in the world to do business

    It is also top in region for economic stability and legal/political framework: Survey

    By Michelle Tay


    SINGAPORE has leapfrogged rival Hong Kong in a ranking of the most influential commercial centres around the world.

    The Republic is now the second most influential centre in Asia, just behind Tokyo, according to the survey, which is said to be used by multinationals to help guide investment decisions.

    Singapore sits in fourth spot globally in the MasterCard Worldwide Centres of Commerce Index, up two places from last year. Hong Kong fell from fifth to sixth.

    Although the Republic trails London, New York and Tokyo, it beat them in terms of a key criterion used to compile the ranking - the ease of doing business.

    In last year's inaugural ranking, Singapore came in fourth in this area, which covers a range of factors, including quality of life, investor protection, health and safety, and corporate tax levels.

    Mr Mark Ellwood, the managing director of recruitment firm Robert Walters Singapore, attributed the high score to how easy it is to set up a business and to hire foreign talent here.

    Mrs Mildred Tan, the managing director of Ernst & Young Associates, said: 'Singapore is very pro-business, and institutions gravitate towards environments that are open and welcoming.'

    She called the ranking a 'positive reinforcement' for firms considering doing business in the Republic.

    'When it comes to relocation, they will look at various things, from tax incentives to telecommunications infrastructure. The study will be another indicator for them whether to start here, to remain here, or to grow here.'

    Singapore was also top in the Asia-Pacific for two of the other six criteria used in the ranking: economic stability and the legal/political framework.

    The ranking of 75 cities is drawn up by a panel of academics and other experts.

    It serves as 'a road map for corporations to identify and evaluate investment and market opportunities in a world where cities, instead of countries, have become the primary economic players', said Dr Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, MasterCard Worldwide's economic adviser.

    He said Asia 'is experiencing a renaissance in terms of economic growth and social development'.

    Eight Asian cities feature in the top 25 this year, up from five last year. 'The growth performance of China and India has shifted the economic centre of gravity towards Asia,' said Dr Hedrick-Wong.

    Mr Manu Bhaskaran, the head of economic research at the Centennial Group and one of the eight members of the Worldwide Centres of Commerce research panel, said that given time, Singapore could overtake Tokyo as the top Asian centre of commerce.

    'Tokyo has not opened up the way the US, Europe, Dubai and Singapore have,' he said, adding that Singapore's absolute score of 66.16 points was not far behind that of Tokyo (66.6).

    The other four criteria used in the ranking are volume and connectivity of financial flow, reputation as a business centre, knowledge creation and information flow, and liveability.

    One of Singapore's biggest challenges appears to be its place in the bottom half of the 75 cities in terms of liveability.

    While Vancouver in Canada emerged as the world's most liveable city, Singapore ranked 40th - or fifth in the Asia-Pacific.

    MasterCard said a relative lack of personal freedom dragged its score down.

    As was the case last year, the top three places in the study went to London, New York and Tokyo, in that order.

    First-timers in the top 25 include Shanghai and Amsterdam.

    Mr Bhaskaran said the Chinese city could rise further, as it was 'sitting on top' of what is probably the most dynamic economy for the next 20 to 30 years.

    [email protected]


    Strong showing

    SINGAPORE'S sterling ranking is the result of its strong position in the Asia-Pacific.

    Here's how the Republic fared in the region based on the seven criteria used:

    # Legal/political framework: No. 1

    # Economic stability: No. 1

    # Ease of doing business: No. 1

    # Volume and connectivity of financial flow: No. 4

    # Reputation as a business centre: No. 2

    # Knowledge creation and information flow: No. 4

    # Liveability: No. 5



    Top 10 cities

    THE MasterCard Worldwide Centres of Commerce Index ranked 75 cities according to their ability to connect markets and commerce on a global level.

    At the top are:

    1. London

    2. New York

    3. Tokyo

    4. Singapore

    5. Chicago

    6. Hong Kong

    7. Paris

    8. Frankfurt

    9. Seoul

    10. Amsterdam

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