Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Firms find business prospects best in China, Singapore

By TEH SHI NING

China and Singapore hold the best business prospects for local and foreign firms here in the next six months, say respondents to the latest BT-UniSIM business climate survey.

Of the 154 firms polled, close to three quarters of them have business dealings overseas. Of these, about 22 per cent cited China and 21 per cent picked Singapore as most promising in their line of business.

China was also the top-listed for prospects in this poll a year back. Then, Vietnam was also favoured by firms across the board. Going by the findings, however, Vietnam's attraction has since waned, with Singapore emerging as a new bright spot.

Says survey project director Chow Kit Boey: 'This shows that firms are more cautious following the financial crisis, and they see Singapore's comparative stability as being better for business.'

China was particularly favoured by foreign, and also large, companies, and was most cited among firms from the manufacturing, commerce, and transport and communications sectors. On the other hand, Singapore's business prospects appear rosier to small or local firms, and particularly those from the construction, and financial and business services sectors.

The third 'most favoured' market was Indonesia, which garnered 9.6 per cent of the total number of mentions. Other countries that made the top three, when the responses were broken down by company size, ownership or sector, were Vietnam, India, Japan, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.

Ms Chow said the range of countries cited indicated 'a diversity of views as well as wider knowledge and exposure to more distant and non-traditional trade partners of Singapore', including Portugal and the Seychelles.

This article was first published in The Business Times on November 03, 2008.