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Inderjit Singh Dhaliwal, a former parliamentarian aligned with Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) during his political career, reckons that Singapore must radically evolve rather than relying on the old formulas that have sustained it.

With a career spanning corporate roles at Texas Instruments, as well as an entrepreneurial career with the founding of United Test and Assembly Center (UTAC), a semiconductor firm, in 1998 — valued at US$2b in 2001 and mostly funded by Taiwanese friends — according to details in a Business Time interview dating to 2006, he has also built up Tri-Star, a trading and services firm, with his brothers, as well as Solstar, a consumer electronics distribution business with a footprint in several African countries. …

Photo by Shawn Ang on Unsplash

Incorporating Singapore’s Housing & Development Board (HDB) apartment complexes — the city-state’s public housing assets — into residential infrastructure trusts can mitigate the issue of HDB lease decay. Additionally, it has the potential to enhance retirement adequacy of its pension system, the Central Provident Fund (CPF), as well as deepening its strength in real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Often cited as an leading example of public housing worldwide for its replicability, it also exemplifies the technocratic governing philosophy of “think ahead, think again and think across”. …

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Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

Singapore can be a key enabler of the Vladivostok-Chennai Maritime Corridor (VCMC). By strengthening relations with India and Russia, it builds strategic autonomy amidst US-China rivalry.

Leveraging its logistics and maritime infrastructure, it can remain a competitive commercial centre amid geopolitical gyrations and international economic competition while augmenting the strategic Indo-Russian partnership.

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Illustration of the VCMC. Credit: Dezan Shira & Associates

Establishing itself as a key node on the VCMC builds on trade pacts Singapore has established with India and Russia. It also hedges against the potential for China to undermine Singapore’s own economic security and other interests.

China’s interest in mitigating the “Malacca Strait dilemma” — a strategic maritime vulnerability for East Asian states — and a vital economic lifeline for Singapore is also impacted by China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). Long-term implications will see trade flows altered by the development of overland trade routes as it redirects trade across continental Southeast Asia and Central Asia, bypassing Singapore. …

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Alex Wicks, CEO-Founder of Myanmar logistics startup Karzo.

What led you to start Karzo? Your professional background was in media. How did you go from film production to starting a logistics company in Myanmar and what was that that journey?

It started a long time. I left Australia and ended up in Myanmar
running a logistics startup is because of a girl that I followed to France many years ago. We lived in Sydney, where I worked in the film industry for a number of years. Then I moved to France with my ex-partner. …

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Photo by Will Truettner on Unsplash

Current global socioeconomic turbulence, deglobalisation and the challenges to Singapore’s future socioeconomic development and growth model highlights the need for Singapore’s public sector (i.e. the state sector) to retool its approach in aligning capital markets and economic development in the city-state.

Organizations such as the Ministry of Finance (MOF), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB) will have to retool their approach and collaborate in realigning Singapore’s economic development and equity capital markets strategy, given the two are crucial to each other.

Prioritizing the growth of its equity capital markets as a core component can drive new new growth. It will enable greater enterprise financing and reduced cost of capital, as well as offering a democratic vehicle for allocating wealth across different social segments. …

Global perspective

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Photo by lucas law on Unsplash

2020 sees stakeholders in Singapore’s equity capital markets being cautiously optimistic, given the city-state’s recovery despite global headwinds. Worldwide, 2019 saw some of the lowest levels of new equity listings in recent years as capital markets contracted, with 2020 being up in the air.

However, information from Duff & Phelps Transaction Trail 2019 indicated Singapore’s IPO performance witnessed a significant recovery — capital raised in 2019 was US$2.3 billion — about four times the capital raised in 2018. This was driven by the listings of several large property trusts, which included Prime US REIT, Eagle Hospitality Trust, and Lendlease Global Commercial REIT, with the potential for this recovery momentum to continue into 2020. …

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Photo by Felipe Simo on Unsplash

With the implementation of a free trade pact with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) paving the way for greater business links between Singapore and EAEU markets — which comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia — Singapore’s capital markets could play host to a wave of initial public offers (IPOs) by Russian firms.

The EAEUs’ total gross domestic product is estimated at US$1.9 trillion, and in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) was estimated at US$5 trillion in 2018. The Russian economy, the 6th largest economy globally, has an economy estimated at US$4.21 trillion on PPP terms.

Russia is also among the most resource-rich countries globally. A 2015 report for the European Parliament estimated Russia’s subsoil wealth (oil, gas, coal and minerals) and other natural resources at US$75.7 trillion, an immense opportunity for Asian investors. …

Photo by Adrien Olichon on Unsplash

The world has changed significantly with fundamental shifts in technology, economics and the international order. Many solutions of the past no longer work in today’s world. A good example of how ‘business as usual’ can lead to a collapse is that of the technology major Nokia in the early 2000s. Lessons from Nokia’s case may enable Singapore to avoid facing a comparable ‘Nokia deterioration’. History doesn’t repeat itself, but has a tendency to rhyme.

Singapore is currently beset by fluctuations in its domestic socioeconomic arrangements and the international political order. Arrangements that formerly protected and benefited it are shifting. Weaker international security frameworks amid the US-China strategic rivalry; an erosion of the international economic and legal order as countries pursue their self-interest in an antagonistic manner; and growing global populism and nationalism drive protectionism and inward-looking public policies. …

Photo by Ed Robertson on Unsplash

This pieces was contributed by Yiannis Anagnostopoulos, Salma Ibrahim and Emmanouil (Manolis) Noikokyris, Capital Markets Research Group, Kingston University, UK.

Despite the uncertainties in the United Kingdom (UK), London’s capital markets operating through the London Stock Exchange (LSE) have remained vibrant with a healthy average daily trading value of around £5 Billion in Q1 2019, according to information from the bourse.

The robust performance of the second largest bourse in Europe, despite the market turmoil and uncertainty over Brexit, offer insights that policymakers and market influencers in Asian financial centres such as Singapore can draw upon.

This continuity in London’s capital markets despite turbulence — the LSE continues to thrive as it prepares for a no-deal Brexit — and how it continues to thrive can offer the UK experience. …

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Eitan Konstantino, CEO and co-founder of QT Vascular. 2019. Credit: Venture Views.

Started with an idea about overcoming the limitation of stents, SGX-listed medical technology firm QT Vascular Ltd. is exploring new areas of growth. Primarily involved in the development of advanced therapeutic solutions and technologies for the treatment of peripheral artery disease and coronary vascular disease.

The product of a merger between two medical device companies — United States-based TriReme Medical, which designed the bifurcation stents and Singapore-based Quattro Vascular, a local company founded with the help of the Economic Development Board of Singapore — it is credited for developing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved, interventional medical device balloon catheter, the Chocolate. …


Shiwen Yap

Versatile businessperson based out of Singapore.

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