Singapore's economy was built in the 70s and 80s by attracting multinational companies to manufacture on the island. Philips and Seiko were some of the early investors while IBM, Hitachi, Glaxo or DuPont and many others followed.
Located at the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula Singapore has always benefited from a strategic location on the Maritime Silk Road in the Straits of Malacca. Trade has always been important for Singapore. With no natural resources Singapore’s attraction can be attributed to an effective corruption-free public bureaucracy, a high level of education, peaceful social relationships and a government funded industrial infrastructure.
Singapore’s business ecosystem, composed of thousands of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) was built around the success of the multinational corporations (MNCs) including many in the electronics. For example, Singapore was the largest producer of HDD (Hard Disk Drive) with companies like Seagate or Western Digital. Clearly SMEs flourished on a booming domestic market and sales and marketing was not a top priority. This was a time when business came to you.But that doesn’t mean you did not have to be good! Investment went into state-of-the-art equipment and personnel training while time was spent on building effective quality systems, optimizing processes and improving productivity.
At the beginning of the new millennium, the cost of doing business on the island continued to increase and MNCs started to move their manufacturing out of Singapore into lower cost regions like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand or even China. SMEs had no other choice than to follow and we saw a lot of Singaporean small companies investing in Southeast Asia.
Today the best Singaporean companies offer technology expertise and price competitiveness through the combination of their technology center in Singapore and high volume manufacturing in lower labor cost area. As odd as it sounds many of these companies don’t have premium websites designed to draw new customers. They often lack traditional or digital marketing as well as some of the basic sales tools to grow their business outside of Southeast Asia.
Many of these “hidden gem” companies are unknown to US buyers despite solid fundamentals and stellar performance. If you are interested to find out more about who these outstanding companies are, feel free to contact us.