Hong Kong is less westernized than Singapore

Singapore as an education center and transport hub


1 Introduction

2. Country information and history

3. Economic development

4. Singapore as an educational center

5. Singapore as a transport hub

6. Conclusion

7. Bibliography and sources

8. Attachments

1 Introduction

Singapore - a global city, city and island city, as well as an industrial nation, has managed in less than half a century to develop from a developing country to a state with one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. In 2010 the GDP per capita was $ 50,266, which means 6th place in a global comparison (www.hdrstats.undp.org). The economic upswing is due to the authoritarian governance, the geographical location and the right decisions in economic development. Since independence from Great Britain in 1960, the government has been forced to change the direction of the economy several times. Today the focus is on the tertiary and quaternary sectors, especially education. Singapore has also developed into one of the most important financial centers and has the largest container port in the world. Singapore has understood how to use its geostrategic advantage and develop into the transport hub in Southeast Asia.

2. Country information and history

The island and Republic of Singapore is located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula on the Malakka Strait and is separated from the mainland by the Johor Strait. Its neighbors include Malaysia and Indonesia's Sumatra island. With an area of ​​693 km² (EMRICH 2008, p. 69), Singapore is the smallest country in Asia and about as big as Hamburg. The largest ethnic group is the Chinese (76.8%), followed by the Malays (13.9%) and the Indians (7.9%).

Singapore was founded by Sir Thomas Stamfort Raffles, who in 1819 founded a base on the island used by pirates as a shelter.

“The free trade policy pursued by Raffles meant that the city was an important trading center as early as the 19th century, especially in the entrepot trade, as well as a military base for the British Empire. The economic upswing (...) led to strong immigration, especially of Chinese workers, to Singapore. "(WESTERHOLT 1995, p. 321)

Entrepot is to be understood as a trading center which, from the hinterland's point of view, cannot be avoided if one wants to trade with other countries and regions (KINDER 2003, p.21).

Singapore's prerequisites improved even more with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, as the Asian market could now be reached from Europe by steamboats. Steam ships used Singapore as a supply port, previously shipping had passed Sumatra south. In addition, the demand for tin and rubber increased worldwide, these were the main export products.

As Singapore has no natural resources whatsoever, it is dependent on foreign relations. All important raw materials are imported, even drinking water, as the approx. 5 million inhabitants cannot be supplied due to the scarce supplies on the island.

Singapore was granted self-government autonomy in 1959 and the People's Action Party (PAP), which continues to govern to this day, won the election. In order to be able to participate in the Malay domestic market, Singapore joined the Malay Federation in 1963, but political and cultural differences arose, so that Singapore was granted independence on August 9, 1965 (national holiday) (KIESE 2003, p. 8).

3. Economic development

As early as 1959, due to the poor development prospects of the Entrepot trade, a development concept was drawn up with the assistance of a UN economic commission that promoted labor-intensive industrialization (see Fig. 1). Immediately after independence, Singapore had to struggle with problems such as high unemployment, the lack of the infrastructure necessary for industrialization, a very high wage level compared to the Asian region and the insecurity of new companies from the new government. The new government countered this with the establishment of the Economic Development Board (EDP), the elimination of the communist opposition and new trade union and labor law. This resulted in authoritarian governance and the rapid and permanent limitation of strikes and labor disputes.

After the separation from Malaysia and the disappearance of the local market, the city-state began to promote export-oriented industrialization with great vigor. Due to the dominance of foreign capital and a boom in the global economy, Singapore almost achieved its goal of full employment in the early 1970s. Far-reaching improvements in the training of workers, an increase in quality with simultaneous cost reductions in production, as well as tax breaks made Singapore attractive to foreign companies.

During the period of labor-intensive export industrialization, multinational companies (MNEs), especially those in the textile and clothing industry, settled in Singapore because of tax incentives, duty exemption and lower wage costs.

Characteristic for the period in the mid-1970s was “the change in the industrial structure. The new pillars were: shipbuilding industry, oil refining, production of transport equipment and electronic products. "(WESTERHOLT 1995, p. 326)

At the height of the Cold War it was clearly formulated that one should free oneself from all communist influences and orient oneself to the “western” world. Despite the restriction of the free trade union system, the longer working hours and initially still reduced wages, the reductions by the authoritarian state were accepted as a number of social problems were solved. For example, child mortality and the illiteracy rate decreased, mean life expectancy increased, and the supply of housing also improved.

In the early 1980s there were annual wage increases to keep workers satisfied. Due to the increased production costs, the focus was on increasing the quality and training of the staff. In addition, foreign specialists were brought in.

The next phase of economic development began in 1985 with the economic recession, which saw negative economic growth for the first time in 20 years (UHLIG 1988, p. 482). The term “tiger states” has also been coined since the early 1980s. This refers to the states of Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, which have developed from a developing country to an industrialized nation due to their high economic growth in recent decades. In addition, work began on expanding the regional financial and service center. The Chinese had already created a financial sector for granting long-term loans during colonial times (KINDER 2003, p.23). Singapore's development into an international financial center has been influenced by a number of factors. Despite the small domestic market, the high concentration of MNEs resulted in a great demand for financial services.


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