A letter to the Straits Times Forum today paints a rather bleak picture of the state of economy for the working-class Singaporeans.
Basically, the writer contended that Singapore ranking just above Second and Third World countries based on GDP does not bode well for our future. Also, the net salaries of other major Asian cities will likely surpass Singapore.The writer based his conclusions on a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report. I’m not sure which one, but there’s a recent one called “Cities of Opportunity: Business-readiness indicators for the 21st century” which ranked Singapore rather poorly in many aspects.
I took a look at that PwC report.
The study compared 11 global cities – Atlanta, Chicago, Frankfurt, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Toronto – using “9 indicators and 32 variables.”
Note that Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo are the only 3 Asian cities covered. Other big Asian cities like Hong Kong and Taipei are not included in the study.
The report has this to say of Singapore:
“… so-called emerging cities such as Shanghai and Singapore and … Atlanta and Toronto pose serious challenges to the reigning global powerhouses.”
And that’s probably the only nice bit.
These are Singapore’s rankings:
- 2nd last for intellectual capital. We have zero Nobel prize winners and we have the least (absolute?) number of people with higher education, among other shortcomings. “A city’s intellectual capital is key to its business readiness,” so says the report. But to be fair, the report did anticipate that “emerging cities” like Singapore will experience a “brain gain” in future.
- Last for technology IQ and innovation. Oops. We did badly in patents, high tech services employment and Internet users on broadband (is PwC sure of this one?).
- 7th in transportation assets. To do better for this one, we need more passenger flows.
- 3rd in demographic advantages. Ah, not too bad on this one. We did well in terms of working-age population over total population.
- 2nd last for financial clout. We are way behind in domestic market capitalization and having global 500 headquarters.
- 8th for cost. Only London, Paris and Tokyo are more costly than us. Also, our purchasing power is very weak among the 11 cities.
- 2nd last for lifestyle assets. We lost out in entertainment and recreational space.
- 5th for safety and security. Although we are tops in low crime statistics, our lack of hospital beds is a bugbear.
- 1st for ease of doing business. Finally, we have a top spot!