The best prospects sectors for Singapore include electronic components, aircraft and parts, electronics industry production/testing equipment, laboratory and scientific instruments, pollution control equipment, electric power systems, construction equipment and building products, pumps and valves, medical devices, telecommunication equipment and computer hardware and software, university education services and franchising. CLICK on the links below for market information on some of the sectors.
Singapore serves as a major aircraft maintenance hub, and thus provides an ideal market for exports of U.S. aircraft parts. Furthermore, the country’s favorable customs regime and its location in a rapidly growing regional aviation market have attracted many firms from the United States and Europe to set up subsidiaries in Singapore.
Singaporean maintenance firms such as ST Aerospace and SIA Engineering Company are major global players in their own right. While the growth of aircraft fleets in other Asian countries (such as China) and the high cost of doing business in Singapore may challenge Singapore’s dominance in the future, it today remains a solid means of entry to the South Asian market.
Sub-Sector Best Prospects
Singapore is consistently a top market for U.S. aerospace parts exports, and parts exports averaged over $5 billion between 2004 and 2013. Parts represented 84% of Singapore’s aerospace imports from the U.S., and 65% of Singapore’s parts imports were from the U.S.
Singapore’s maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) industry is robust. Singapore’s economy is based on its status as a major port and regional hub. Its infrastructure and regulations are designed to facilitate the movement of goods, making it a convenient location from which to operate an MRO facility; the ability to quickly clear parts through customs is a key advantage. In addition to the hometown facilities of ST Aerospace and SIA Engineering Company, many foreign OEMs have facilities in Singapore including Bell/Cessna, Airbus Helicopter, Bombardier, GE Aircraft Engines, and Pratt & Whitney. Opportunities to supply these OEMs are aplenty.
Singapore has become one of the most important shipping centers in Asia and is one of the world’s top five oil trading and refining hubs. In addition, Singapore is the market leader for floating production, storage and offloading (FPSOs) conversions and offshore jack-up rigs. Underground caverns for oil storage and a liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal are also being expanded in phases to enhance Singapore’s position as the premier regional center for the oil & gas industry. In view of the global economic uncertainty and a significant decrease in oil prices, the growth and imports are expected to be much less promising over the next 12 months due to a decrease in oil and gas exploration.
Six years ago, the government injected approximately $29 million into developing medical technology and devices that could be brought to market faster. In 2000, when Singapore began its push into the biomedical sciences, the medical technology industry was worth $1.2 billion. Twelve years into Singapore’s biomedical sciences push, the sector has also grown into a sizeable stable of almost 300 companies and businesses including over 30 global medical technology companies that have set up commercial-scale manufacturing plants in Singapore.
Singapore’s Research, Innovation & Enterprise (RIE) 2015 plan aims to develop Singapore into one of the world’s leading research-intensive, innovative and entrepreneurial economies. Developing deep R&D capabilities continues to remain a key priority. Under this plan, Singapore plans on spending 3.5% of GDP on R&D. According to A*STAR’s (Agency for Science, Technology & Research) latest R&D survey, public expenditure on R&D has steadily increased over the past ten years, reaching $2.25 billion in 2012 or 0.8% of GDP, while R&D by local private companies increased by $144 million to $1.04 billion.
The United States continues to dominate in the area of laboratory and scientific equipment and accounts for approximately 30% of total imports. Total imports from the U.S. decreased by 10% in 2014. Overall, total imports in 2014 also fell, but by a marginal 1.1% in 2014. As Singapore is a trans-shipment hub, more than 60% of imports are re-exported. Purchasing cycles for such equipment is between 5-10 years and as the industry replaces equipment, demand is expected to remain constant.
The U.S. is considered a leader in the field of scientific and laboratory instrumentation and there is a strong preference for American manufactured products. With Singapore’s strong and keen focus across a broad spectrum of industry, such as precision engineering, chemicals, and biomedical sciences, exports of American laboratory and scientific equipment is expected to remain strong.
Singapore has one of the most developed telecommunication infrastructures in the world, with a ultra-high speed, all-fiber Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network. The mobile penetration rate was 148% in December 2014. The household residential wired broadband penetration rate was 106.4% in the first quarter of 2015 while the wireless broadband penetration rate was over 180%. Telecom statistics can be found at: http://www.ida.gov.sg/Tech-Scene-News/Facts-and-Figures/Telecommunications.
Telecommunications and Internet facilities in Singapore are state-of-the-art, providing high-quality communications with the rest of the world. 3G services were rolled out in 2005, 4G in 2011 and mobile operators introduced 4G+ or LTE-A in 2014. There are three main mobile telephony providers (and 17 mobile virtual network operators or MVNOs) and 81 Internet Services Providers in Singapore.
Singapore operates a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on telecom equipment certification with the U.S. A list of the recognized U.S. testing and certification agencies can be found at: www.ida.gov.sg/Policies-and-Regulations/International-Relations-For-Telecom/Testing-Laboratories-and-Certification-Bodies-Recognised-by-IDA.
Besides a nationwide broadband network infrastructure, Singapore is well connected by multiple satellite and submarine cable systems with more than 283 terabits per second (Tbps) of potential capacity supporting international and regional telecoms connectivity. It has more than 4.22 terabits per second (Tbps) of international internet bandwidth connectivity to economies such as the US, China, Japan, India, as well as some countries in Europe and ASEAN.
From transportation and public housing, to energy management and water treatment, Singapore has developed and adapted some of the world’s most advanced sustainable solutions. Backed by a progressive leadership and firm commitment to sustainable development, Singapore has managed to turn challenges into rewarding opportunities.
Singapore is one of the few countries in the world to have mandated green designs for all new buildings since early 2008. The Building & Construction Authority (BCA) Green Mark program encourages green awareness in the sectors of construction and real estate. Under the BCA Green Mark program, buildings are assessed for energy and water efficiency, indoor environmental quality and environmental protection. Leveraging the growing regional recognition of the program, Singapore is well-positioned to capture the growth in this sector through the increased incorporation of cutting-edge clean energy technologies in new and existing building developments.
The need for a sustainable and fresh water supply is an increasingly important global concern today, with many countries actively seeking solutions for their water and environmental management needs. There is no doubt that in the years ahead, the water industry will continue to enjoy robust growth and Singapore, as a recognized Global Hydrohub, will be there to ride the wave of this economic growth sector. By 2015, the Environment and Water sector is expected to contribute $1.7 billion to Singapore’s GDP.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Singapore’s healthcare system ranks sixth globally and offers the fourth best healthcare infrastructure in the world. It also serves as the healthcare and medical hub of the region and is arguably Asia’s best healthcare system. Among its ASEAN peers, Singapore spends the most annually in healthcare on a per capita basis. The Joint Commission International (JCI) has accredited 11 Singapore hospitals and three medical centers. Each year, Singapore draws over 350,000 patients with its high-quality healthcare. In 2014, Singapore was ranked fourth out of 25 countries worldwide in the medical tourism rankings produced by the International Healthcare Research Centre (IHRC).
The government spends approximately 4% of GDP annually on healthcare and long-run plans are in place to raise this to 8% of GDP. The government’s projected healthcare spending is expected to triple to $9.45 billion per year by 2020, up from $3.2 billion in 2011. A 2013 survey by Swiss Re, a Switzerland-based insurance provider, found that Singaporeans are among the best prepared for future health expenses among the five surveyed countries in Asia. It reported that 74% of working adults are prepared for post-retirement health expenditures, placing Singapore above Hong Kong, China, Japan and South Korea.
In 2014, imports of medical equipment and supplies to Singapore decreased over the previous year. This can be attributed to a sharper increase in imports the previous two years, in which costs associated with the establishment of new hospitals and healthcare facilities resulted in increased spending. U.S. imports accounted for 35% of market share in 2014 and registered a decline of 6.9% over the previous year.
Based on available trade figures for 2013 and 2014, U.S. exports of medical equipment to Singapore will continue to be healthy in 2015 and 2016. This can be attributed primarily to the nature of the healthcare industry and the positive perceptions associated with American brands in this sector. As regional economies enjoy higher economic growth and improvements in healthcare standards and delivery, transshipments through Singapore will increase. At present, approximately 50% of products imported into Singapore are subsequently re-exported.
Medical devices are regulated under the Health Products Act and Health Products (Medical Devices) regulations. Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA) oversees the system of statutory control aimed to safeguard the quality, safety and efficacy of medical devices available in Singapore. Almost all medical devices are regulated. Class A medical devices supplied in a non-sterile state are exempted, however, Class A sterile, Class B, C and D medical devices are subject to product registration requirements. Classification rules are adopted from the guidance developed by the Global Harmonization Task Force (GHTF).
ASEAN has been developing a uniform system for registering and assessing medical devices across the ten member countries. The ASEAN Medical Device Directive (AMDD) is expected to be rolled out by the end of 2015 and will require ASEAN countries to adopt uniform classification criteria for medical devices. This augurs well for U.S. medical device manufacturers as they will be able to easily access a common medical device market with a market size of more than 600 million people.
Singapore is the most wired country in the world connected nation-wide by a network of fiber optics. The 2015 edition of The World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report ranked Singapore as the most networked ready country in the world to leverage ICT for increased competitiveness and well-being. With the successful completion of its iN2015 IT Master Plan, Singapore is now focusing its efforts in realizing its Smart Nation vision with a new 10-year Infocomm and Media Master Plan.
Nine out of ten Singapore homes have broadband and smart phone penetration in the country is 85%. Computer usage amongst all enterprises is 87% and internet usage increased to 86%, with 85% of enterprises using broadband access. Data on info-communications usage by individuals, households and enterprises can be found at http://www.ida.gov.sg/Tech-Scene-News/Facts-and-Figures.
Singapore is home to the #1 and #4 universities in Asia: The National University of Singapore is the top university in Asia, according to Quacquarelli Symonds' (QS) annual ranking of Asian universities. The Nanyang Technological University is fourth. The OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment ranks Singapore’s public schools as #1 in the world.
Singapore emphasizes, supports and values higher education as well as human resource development and skills upgrading. Many government agencies and private sector companies also offer full scholarships for top students to pursue their undergraduate and graduate studies in foreign universities, including in the U.S. An increasing number of adult workers are also encouraged to upgrade themselves to be more knowledgeable in a globalized economy. In line with the long-term commitment to continuing education and training, the government will increase the Lifelong Learning Endowment Fund by $370 million, bringing the total fund size to $3.4 billion. More information can be found at http://www.singaporebudget.gov.sg/budget_2014/Business1.aspx.
Please feel free to contact us directly if you have questions:
Ms. CHIA Swee Hoon, Senior Commercial Specialist
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY/BUSINESS SERVICES - (telecommunications equipment & services; computers, peripherals & software (home, office); information services; media services; film and media technology & services; advertising & public relations services; franchising; management consulting; legal services; leasing services; employment services; investment services; financial & insurance services; audio equipment, films & video; photographic equipment & supplies),
ENTERTAINMENT VENUES - Casinos/Theme Parks
NG Haw Cheng, Commercial Specialist
BUILDING/CONSTRUCTION(construction equipment and supplies; building products & equipment; architectural/construction/engineering services; sanitation equipment & products; cleaning products and services; commercial laundry equipment; cleaners - commercial/industrial; wipes for commercial use; industrial cleaning services; hand/power tools - construction; real estate; interior decoration);
ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION (environmental protection technology - recycling, waste management, pollution control; environmental control services);
SEA/AIR/LAND TRANSPORTATION, (public transport vehicles, rail; ports & shipbuilding; marine technology; automobiles, trucks, vans; automobiles, automotive parts & services; boats and accessories; airport ground support vehicles; air traffic control equipment; aircraft and parts, avionics; safety & security equipment; defense technology & equipment; transportation services; air-conditioning - cold rooms; commercial fishing equipment; commercial vessels & equipment; aircraft maintenance)
CHAN Yiu Kei, Commercial Specialist
MANUFACTURING & TECHNOLOGY - (materials handling; machine/manufacturing tools and metalworking equipment; paper & printing and graphic arts machinery; plastics & plastics production machinery; chemicals & chemical production machinery; textile machinery; general industrial equipment & supplies; materials technology - advanced materials, composite fibers, ceramics; industrial automation/robotics; industrial process controls; electronic production and test equipment & supplies; electronic components - active/passive, electro-mechanical, sensors; bearings - ball & roller; plant maintenance equipment; hand/power tools - mechanic; hand/power tools - metalworking; fasteners - industrial; heaters - commercial/industrial; heating equipment - industrial; leather processing equipment; rolling mill machinery; rubber products - industrial),
EDUCATION/TRAINING - (educational & training services),
POWER/UTILITIES - utilities; energy - electricity, wind, solar, gas, etc; power generation & distribution; power transmission; pumps, valves, compressors; mechanical power transmission product; smelting equipment; hardware - milled non-ferrous, ferrous),
TRAVEL & TOURISM
Ms. Luanne THESEIRA, Commercial Specialist
HEALTH/MEDICAL/SCIENTIFIC - (dental equipment; medical equipment, supplies, furniture; healthcare services; drugs and pharmaceuticals; vitamins/minerals supplements, health foods; biotechnology; veterinary equipment & supplies; general science & technology; bio-medical equipment maintenance; laboratory and scientific instruments);
CONSUMER GOODS & SERVICES - (apparel; jewelry; leather, fur and footwear; home textiles, fabrics, yarns, textiles & textile products; household consumer goods; giftware, stationery; office and school equipment & supplies; do-it-yourself products/tools; retailing; cosmetics & toiletries; spa equipment/beauty salon equipment & accessories; eyewear; sporting goods, golf, fitness; equestrian goods and outdoor equipment; toys and games; musical instruments; books and periodicals; artwork; pet supplies gardening tools and supplies);
FOOD PROCESSING, PACKING & SERVICES - (processed food; food processing & packaging machinery and equipment; hotel & restaurant equipment; beverage technology; food vending machines, agriculture and forestry machinery; agriculture services; furniture; hotel & restaurant management).