The death of Lee Kuan Yew has brought forth a reflection of just how far Singapore has advanced since its independence from Malaysia in 1965. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, upon being named prime minister in 1959, Lee focused on a clean and efficient government, business friendly economic policies and social order. Combined, these focal points helped to attract huge amounts of investment which in turn resulted in the country jumping from third-world status to that of first-world in a relatively short amount of time.
This business friendly environment resulted in Singapore becoming a major supply chain hub for the region. Heavily dependent on exports, Singapore has invested in its port and airport to meet these demands. In fact, in a 2013 Ti white paper, “Singapore – A Supply Chain Hub for Emerging Markets and Beyond”, Singapore’s position in the global logistics sector was attributed to its location – along the Straits of Malacca which is a gateway to Asia Pacific and transshipment moves and its position at the centre of the ASEAN region.
Not only has more manufacturing moved into the ASEAN region but there is also a growing middle class. However, logistics capabilities vary across the region and as such CEVA’s EVP of Business Development APAC describes Singapore as a “gateway option.”
As a result of the great gains in GDP noted in Lee’s leadership role labour and land costs have risen in the city-state. But, thanks in part to Lee’s legacy, Singapore is reinventing itself once again. Not only has CEVA described Singapore as a “gateway option” it is also a “competency hub” for those logistics providers such as CEVA. Singapore offers a unique location for such logistics providers to respond to customers who need to access the various countries within the Asian region and are unable to commit to just one country.
So as Singapore honours Lee and his contributions the city is looking towards future growth and preparing just as the man himself would have expected.