Bloomberg: Singapore surpasses Hong Kong as Asia’s premier business hub

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22nd February 2024 – (Singapore) Singapore has solidified its position as the preferred choice for international businesses in Asia, leaving Hong Kong trailing behind, according to a comprehensive report by Bloomberg Intelligence. The study revealed that Singapore hosted regional headquarters for an impressive 4,200 multinational firms in 2023, a significant lead over Hong Kong’s 1,336. Even Chinese companies, aiming to mitigate geopolitical risks and expand their reach, are opting for Singapore over its rival.

The 50-page report attributes Singapore’s success to several key factors that have propelled it ahead in the perennial battle for prominence. It highlights the city-state’s stronger ties with Western nations, a more diverse talent pool, a resilient and varied economy, and attractive tax incentives as reasons for companies favouring Singapore. The report also notes that Singapore is viewed as offering greater political stability and freedom, particularly given the elevated geopolitical risks prevalent in the region.

While Hong Kong solidified its position as China’s financial hub by effectively managing political protests and adhering to the country’s Covid-Zero policy during the pandemic, Singapore showcased its independence and emerged as the preferred location for international business offices, the report explains. Additionally, Singapore’s targeted incentives for foreign companies looking to establish regional hubs have yielded positive results.

A glance at the impressive list of companies with regional headquarters in Singapore reads like a Who’s Who of multinational corporations. Prominent names include FedEx Corp, Microsoft Corp, Google (a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc), Mead Johnson, Rolls-Royce, and General Motors Co. Even companies operating in sensitive environments, such as TikTok Inc and online fashion giant Shein, have chosen Singapore as their business hub. Furthermore, established Chinese companies like electric-vehicle manufacturer Nio Inc have set their roots in the city-state, while tech giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Huawei Technologies Co are actively expanding their operations there.

Singapore’s corporate critical mass, coupled with its diversified economy, positions it to attract even more global business in the coming years, potentially surpassing Hong Kong. The Bloomberg Intelligence report forecasts Singapore’s continued ascent as Asia’s premier business destination for the next five years.