S'pore to be 'Asia's most competitive city in 2025'

S'pore to be 'Asia's most competitive city in 2025'

SINGAPORE is tipped to be the most competitive city in Asia in 2025 and the third-ranked globally, according to a new report.

The projections are based on a city's perceived ability to attract capital, business, talent and tourists.

As well as forecasting Singapore's third spot - a position it held when an earlier report was published a year ago - the findings reflect the emergence of Asia Pacific as an economic force.

Hong Kong, Tokyo and Sydney were also tipped to be in the top 10 for global competitiveness in 2025 in the report compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and commissioned by Citi.

It assessed 120 cities. In Singapore's case, it noted that the country's physical capital, financial maturity, environment and natural hazards and global appeal will make it a competitive force.

The report, released on Tuesday at the New Cities Summit in Sao Paulo, said New York will be the world's most competitive city in 2025, followed by London and Singapore, with Hong Kong, Tokyo and Sydney following.

It noted that physical infrastructure, financial maturity and global appeal drive the competitiveness of cities in the region.

"Asia's growth and global pre-eminence are reflected in the development and competitiveness of its urban centres," said Mr Leo Abruzzese, the global forecasting director of the EIU, the business information arm of The Economist Group which publishes The Economist magazine.

"The growth in competitiveness of large and mid-sized cities proves Asia's diverse urban development."

Mr Stephen Bird, Citi chief executive for Asia Pacific, said: "The findings of this report indicate that the economic rise of Asian cities will be mirrored by the region's increased competitiveness in 2025."

While the report cited Singapore's strengths, including its efforts to boost education, it also identified weaknesses, noting that the working-age population is projected to be stagnant at 3.6 million between last year and 2025. This highlights "the need to ensure that the city remains a hub open to the flow of people, ideas, capital and goods and services", it added.

Economists say factors such as the rising cost of living and labour concerns will be most crucial in ensuring Singapore retains its competitive edge. These are being tackled with economic restructuring and a productivity push.

CIMB regional economist Song Seng Wun said: "It may take a while, but these factors will eventually be settled."

If Singapore's projected competitive position in 2025 seems rosy, the here and now looks more uncertain, according to last month's 2013 IMD World Competitiveness poll, which saw the country's ranking slip for the third year running.

Singapore came in fifth behind the top-ranked United States, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Sweden, dropping a place from the previous year due to rising costs and an economic slowdown.

The IMD study is one of two competitiveness polls keenly monitored by businesses and policymakers. The other, the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report, ranks Singapore as the second most competitive economy, after Switzerland.


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