Singapore: your gateway to Asia

Singapore - your gateway to asia

In recent months, much of the world has had travel and business restrictions in place in the fight against COVID-19.  Countries in Asia were among the first to go into lockdown, and are now amongst the first to emerge. As the restrictions ease and Asia moves to a ‘new-normal’ there are business opportunities for Northern Ireland companies to expand in the region.

As part of a collaboration with Enterprise Singapore, this feature is the first in a series of articles showcasing Singapore, both as an export market for Northern Ireland businesses, and as a gateway location to Asia.

The country has carved out a competitive niche as one of the easiest and most accessible locations to do business in Asia. With our in-market team ready to provide assistance on market scoping, partner and distribution research, as well as business introductions, Invest NI is well-placed to assist you on your business development journey to Singapore.

Even in this global crisis, there are still opportunities to explore in Singapore for the long-term.

About Singapore

Since it was founded in 1965 the Republic of Singapore has transformed itself from humble beginnings and is now recognised as the world’s most open and competitive economy. Singapore is currently the world’s fourth largest global financial centre and its container port is the second busiest globally.  A vast majority of the Top500 multi-nationals have established their Asia-Pacific (APAC) headquarters in the city-state. It is strategically placed geographically with the long-term infrastructure in place that facilitates both global east-west and regional Southeast Asia trade routes.

Singapore is part of the ASEAN region of 10 Southeast Asian countries, constituting a population of over 700 million and GDP of circa US$2.95 trillion dollars.  With a young demographic, rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, sweeping digitalisation, exceptional education and rising purchasing power, the ASEAN (Association of South East Asia) region is poised to acquire a strong standing in the global market.

Singapore enjoys a prominent position within ASEAN.  Singapore companies have investments and projects in the region and its financial markets and infrastructure are widely used by its neighbours.  Moreover, Singapore has been one of China’s longest and most successful trading partners and has deep and rich experience in navigating the international waters between east and west. 

Innovation is the lifeblood of Singapore’s economy, strengthened by years of investment in research and development and a growing, open innovation landscape.

An Innovation focus

Innovation is the lifeblood of Singapore’s economy, strengthened by years of investment in research and development and a growing, open innovation landscape. The Global Innovation Index consistently ranks the country as the most innovative country in Asia and 80 of the top 100 worldwide tech firms have a presence there.  There are also over 3,800 tech startups with 185 incubators and accelerators, and 150 Venture Capital Funds that make up the vibrant innovation and startup ecosystem in Singapore.

Global enterprises, research institutes, universities and government organisations actively seek out collaboration opportunities through co-innovation or open innovation calls to develop new and proprietary solutions that address market needs. With the support of our in-market research and scoping assistance, we can help you identify these collaborative opportunities.  

Singapore has a strong IP regulatory regime and is ranked fourth globally according to the World Economic Forum’s report on intellectual property rights.  Moreover, Singapore is also home to the International Centre for Arbitration (SIAC), which plays a prominent role in IP and other dispute resolutions globally.

Singapore is renowned for the Government’s dynamic and forward thinking connectivity, with business and innovation recognised as key pillars of its continued economic success. 

Doing business

Ranked second globally for ‘Ease of Doing Business’, the business-friendly environment and forward-looking policies in Singapore enable new entrants to the Singapore market to hit the ground running.

Singapore is renowned for the Government’s dynamic and forward thinking connectivity, with business and innovation recognised as key pillars of its continued economic success. For example, Singapore is one of the few countries that has a Committee for Future Economy. Reporting to the Prime Minister’s Office, the high-powered committee identifies strategies and recommendations that guide the country’s strategy for the following 5-10 years.

Top global talents are attracted to Singapore due to its high standards of transparency and corporate governance, its world class infrastructure and the fact that its first language and business language is English. Many highly talented overseas professionals have made this island their home, including many from the UK and Ireland, making Singapore the ideal launch pad for Northern Ireland companies to springboard into Asia.

Identifying the opportunities

Our in-market team can help you scope out opportunities in Asia. Our next article, released in early July, will look at the specific opportunities in the Digital ICT sector including Cybersecurity and Financial Technology. This is one of the country’s top sectors and offers growth opportunities for Northern Ireland businesses.

Invest Northern Ireland’s in-market trade experts can help you explore opportunities in the region and will be hosting an online ‘Spotlight on Singapore’ event on Tuesday 6 October to further explore opportunities for Northern Ireland digital businesses in Singapore.
To register for this online event, click here.

To find out more about how we’re here to help your business succeed in the region, contact singapore@investni.com

For more information on this event and export opportunities in Singapore, contact singapore@investni.com.


About Enterprise Singapore


Enterprise Singapore is the Singapore government agency championing enterprise development. It also supports the growth of Singapore as a hub for global trading and startups.

With Enterprise Singapore’s global network in over 35 locations spanning many developed and emerging markets, it connects businesses with relevant Singapore companies for their business expansion.

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