December 2022
AIIB ASEAN ASEAN (R) ASEAN-ISIS Asia Big Tech CH: Hong Kong Country (R): Indonesia Country (R): Malaysia Country (R): Myanmar Country (R): Singapore Country: ASEAN Country: Australia Country: Cambodia Country: China Country: Germany Country: India Country: Indonesia Country: Japan Country: Laos Country: Malaysia Country: Myanmar Country: North Korea Country: Philippines Country: Qatar Country: Russia Country: Singapore Country: South Korea Country: Taiwan Country: Thailand Country: UK Country: United States Country: US Country: USA Country: Vietnam covid-19 DE: 5G DE: Data privacy DE: Data security DE: Facebook Digitalisation Elections: Indonesia 2019 Elections: Thailand 2019 ESG: Climate Change ESG: Diversity ESG: Energy ESG: Green Finance ESG: Green Growth ESG: Haze ESG: Human Rights ESG: Modern Slavery ESG: Peatland ESG: Riau ESG: Smallholders ESG: Sustainability ESG: Sustainable/Green Infrastructure European Union Event: SDSWR Events: AAF Fukushima Global Citizens Singapore Google Indonesia: Jokowi Institute: ERIA Institute: SIIA JP: Abenomics Leaders: Kim Jong Un Leaders: Lee Hsien Loong Megatrends: Populism MM: Aung San Suu Kyi MM: NLD MM: Rakhine State MY: Anwar Ibrahim MY: GE14 MY: Mahathir Mohamad MY: Najib Razak New Horizons New Zealand Nicholas Fang Oh Ei Sun Recovery Region: Latin America Region: Middle East Reports Security: South China Sea Security: Terrorism SG: Lee Kuan Yew SG: SG Secure SG: Smart Nation SG: Society Simon Tay Sustainable infrastructure Topic (R): Belt and Road Topic (R): Business Topic (R): Digitisation Topic (R): Economy Topic (R): Green Finance Topic (R): Haze Topic (R): Infrastructure Topic (R): Palm Oil Topic (R): Peatland Topic (R): Smallholders Topic (R): Sustainability Topic: Anti-Globalisation Topic: Belt and Road Topic: Business Topic: Coronavirus Topic: COVID-19 Topic: Deforestation Topic: Development Topic: Digital Economy Topic: Digitisation Topic: E-Commerce Topic: Economics Topic: Economy Topic: Elections Topic: Environment Topic: ESG Topic: Finance Topic: Global Citizens Topic: Globalisation Topic: Human Trafficking Topic: Indo-Pacific Topic: Infrastructure Topic: Investment Topic: Labour Topic: Nuclear Topic: Palm Oil Topic: Race Topic: Regional Integration Topic: Religion Topic: Security Topic: Singapore-Malaysia Relations Topic: Small States Topic: Trade Trade: AEC Trade: CPTPP Trade: FTA Trade: Multilateralism Trade: RCEP Trade: TPP Trade: War Trends (Digital): Cybersecurity UK: Brexit United States US: Obama US: Trump US: Trump WEF youth

Keep manufacturing as key pillar in Singapore economy: Analyst

03 Dec Keep manufacturing as key pillar in Singapore economy: Analyst

The Republic needs to keep manufacturing as a key pillar of its economy and raising productivity will be important to keep ahead of competition in the region, said economic commentator David Pilling.


Singapore needs to continue moving up the value chain and keep ahead of other countries where labour is cheaper, says economic commentator David Pilling.

Mr Pilling, who is the Asia Editor for Financial Times, was speaking at the first of five Future50 talks held by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs in conjunction with SG50 on Wednesday (Dec 3). The talk was titled Economic Transitions: The Next Phase for Singapore.

He said: “Singapore is way ahead if you look at GDP per capital. It is US$55,000 in Singapore, the nearest in Asia is Japan – US$38,000, then you go to Korea – US$25,000, Malaysia – at about US$10,000. Economics is not a perfect science, but that’s basically a reflection of productivity. This is one of the most manufacturing-intense countries in the world, with Switzerland and Japan being the other two. I think manufacturing is very important. It’s probably been underestimated by some economies.

“Countries that give away their manufacturing are probably unable to get it back again or it is very hard to get it back again, so that is a challenge for Singapore to maintain that kind of level of manufacturing within the economy … It is a continued process of moving up the value chain and keeping one, two, three steps ahead of those countries that are poorer, where labour is cheaper.”

Currently, the manufacturing sector accounts for about 20 per cent of the Singapore economy.

During the panel discussion, Mr Pilling outlined some trends and potential threats that could shape Singapore’s future. These include the low birth rate, the state of the financial market, rise of technology, and environmental constraints. He added that Singapore, being trade-dependent, will also be dependent on trade routes that function properly despite tensions around territorial disputes.

He expects Singapore, which currently invests through companies like Temasek Holdings, to put more focus on investment. “To some extent, I think part of the Singapore economy will become what you might call a ‘rentier economy’. Singapore is very wealthy, it has a lot of savings, it also has a lot of know-how. So one of the ways Singapore can make money is by placing bets on other companies, other countries, other technologies. Just like how a big pharmaceutical company for example has all its R&D in house and it take stakes in and might even buy technology companies,” Mr Pilling added.

“This is a process of hedging, it is a processing of turing savings into a stream of income. This is already a part of what Singapore does and it would be my guess that they will continue to do it and it will become more important.”

This article originally appeared on Channel NewsAsia on 3 Dec 2014.