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Germans remain bullish about S’pore

Business community upbeat on growth prospects: survey

THE German business community remains bullish about Singapore as a regional business hub, a survey published yesterday shows.

The survey of businesses varying from small operations to multinationals was conducted by Droege & Comp in December, for the Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

The companies were asked about growth prospects and about what they saw as the challenges ahead.

Findings show that all participating companies here strongly confirm Singapore’s position as the undisputed hub for Asean markets, affirming that Singapore would be the cornerstone of their future Asia strategy. The republic will continue to attract foreign direct investments from German companies.

Respondents attributed their positive attitude to the competitive advantages of the ‘Singapore package’ of excellent infrastructure, socio-political stability, efficient logistics hub and protection for intellectual property rights, which outweighed the rising costs of doing business here.

There were also several less promising findings. One hot topic was that despite Singapore’s push for R&D, most German companies were reluctant to shift R&D capabilities here.

In addition, some medical and healthcare companies were seriously considering neighbouring countries as alternative locations for further investments, particularly Malaysia.

A grouse of all the companies is that despite viewing themselves as attractive employers, they are finding it difficult to recruit and retain skilled personnel.

But even so, a majority of the companies still planned to hire more local people and cut back on their expatriate staff. Calling Singapore the gateway to Asean, Alexander Melchers, vice-president of the chamber, said that Germany is an important trading partner, with bilateral trade valued at more than $20 billion last year. There are 5,600 German people working in Singapore.

Mr Melchers added that Singapore could look forward to better business relations with German companies, especially in the area of environmental engineering and technology such as the clean energy sector where the interests of both countries are ‘perfectly matched’.

 

Source: Business Times 6 Feb 08

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