Business and Market Overview on Singapore

ECONOMY. Singapore is the most advanced economy among the Southeast Asian countries with a GDP per capita of US$25,207 in 2004 which is comparable to many advanced economies in the European Union. Singapore lacks natural resources but is a regional hub for international trade, shipping and air transport. Many US, European and Japanese multinational companies have established Singapore as a regional office for their business operations.

Singapore’s GDP grew at an average of 2.7% annually from 2000 to 2004 to reach US$106.9 billion by 2004 while inflation remaining below 2.0%. Though Singapore’s economy is the most advanced among the Southeast Asian countries, unemployment increased from 1.8% during the Asian economic crisis of 1997 to 5.3% in 2004. To diversify and expand the country’s economy, the government is developing Singapore into a regional hub for finance and high technology.

The service sector accounted for 66.2% of Singapore’s GDP in 2004 while the manufacturing sector accounted for 33.7%. Agriculture plays a minimal role in Singapore’s economy and accounted only 0.1% of the country’s GDP. Major industries in Singapore include electronics, chemicals, financial services, petroleum refining, food processing, ship repair, offshore platform construction, biotechnology and entrepot trade.

DEMOGRAPHY. Singapore’s population of 4.2 million in 2004 is predominantly Chinese accounting for 77% of the population. Other ethnic communities include Malays (14%) and Indians (8%). Major religions practiced include Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. The Chinese are generally agnostic, Buddhist, Tao or follow the Christian faith while Malays are mostly Muslims and Indians generally Hindus, Christian or Muslims. Main languages used are English (widely spoken and used in business and by the government), Chinese (mainly Mandarin and Hokkien), Malay and Tamil.
Singapore is a city-state and therefore nearly all its population live in an urban community. Most Singaporeans live in high-rise apartments or flats accounting for nearly 90% of the households while the remaining 10% live on landed property.

Singaporean consumers have the high level of disposable income compared to consumers in other Southeast Asian countries. High-income households account for nearly 27% of the total households while middle-income households account for 32%. Low-income households i.e. those earning than US$1,900 per month account for 41% of the total households.

INFRASTRUCTURE. Domestic and international telecommunication services are excellent and one of the best in the region. Internet broadband services are efficient and widely available. Singapore’s road system is efficiently managed and the city-state is well served by a public transport system. Singapore has efficiently managed seaports and airport which are used as regional hubs by many sea and air carriers.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE. Singapore has one of the busiest ports in the world and a regional hub for entrepot trade. Singapore’s major trading partners are Malaysia, US, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea. Many of the goods imported from and exported to Malaysia and Indonesia are re-exports from other countries. Major exports from the Singapore include electrical and electronic products, machineries and equipments, processed foods, consumer goods, chemicals and mineral fuels. Major imports include machineries and equipments, mineral fuels, chemicals and foods.

CONSUMER USAGE OF TECHNOLOGY. More than 90% of all homes have mobile phones putting the country on par with Sweden, Norway, Austria and Norway. Nearly all homes have at least a fixed-line telephone, television and refrigerator. The penetration of computers is also high with 70% of all homes having a computer and there are nearly 2.5 million internet users for a population of 4.3 million. Furthermore, there are more than 2.5 million credit cards in the county and online payments are well established. However, only 35% of all homes own a car due to the extremely high cost to own a car in Singapore.

RETAIL MARKET. Singapore has one of the highest standards of living in Asia after Japan and Singaporeans are keen shoppers. Estimated retail sales in Singapore in 2004 were US$11 billion. Unlike other countries in Southeast Asia, retail chains dominate over the industry by sales value. These include shopping malls, hypermarkets, supermarkets, department stores, convenience stores and speciality stores. Singapore has many established international retailers and brands attracting tourists from Southeast and Northeast Asia. Many shopping malls have also sprouted in the suburban areas existing side-by-side with the “mom and pop” establishments.

FOOD CULTURE. Singapore’s multi-ethnic communities has had influenced on Singapore’s food culture. Furthermore, Singaporeans are accustomed and often frequent various western and Japanese food service establishments including fast food outlets. Eating out is popular among Singaporeans and the current trend is to eat out rather than at home. Thus, Singaporeans spent 9% of their income on foods for cooking at home and 12% for eating out.

Commercial Real Estate Agency – How to Use Signboards to Build Your Business and Market Share

When you sell or lease commercial real estate, the signboard becomes an extremely important part of your marketing process. The greater the number of signboards that you can place on the good quality properties in your sales territory, you will usually find that the enquiry and new listings will be easier to achieve. Your telephone will ring more frequently with fresh new enquiries for properties.

Property owners want to deal with the agent that has the largest slice of the local property market. They want the agent that has the biggest database and attracting the most enquiries from other properties. Time on market today can be quite frustrating so the property owners and the business proprietors do not want to experiment with average agencies with low market profile.

So the signboard is a key part of your business profile and market penetration. On this basis the signboard should feature three things:

  • Your name and contact details for any inquiry
  • Significant and clear branding of your real estate office as specialists in the area
  • Details of the property and the improvements to attract the target audience that you need

It all comes down to the perception of the marketplace. Signboards create the positive perception with the local businesses and property owners that you are the most active real estate agent in the area; the signboards also create ongoing enquiry at low cost and that is the foundation of a good database.

Here are some strategies to help you with your signboard process:

  1. Identify the main roads in your area, and get signboards on those roads and intersections wherever possible.
  2. Ideally you should be seeking exclusive or sole agencies for all your listings. In such case the signboard should be specially designed and placed. Vendor paid advertising should compensate for the cost of this special signboard.
  3. Research the rules and regulations that apply to the placement of signboards on properties for sale or lease. Municipal councils will have restrictions that you must comply with.
  4. Any openly listed properties should also get a signboard where possible, although those signboards will be ordinary in type, size, and cost. Invariably there will usually be a number of signs from different agencies on each property that is open listed. Many signboards placed on the one property will cheapen the marketing process for the property owner, but that is their choice. Still put your sign on your open listings.
  5. Undertake a signboard count in your territory at least once every two weeks. As part of that process you should be identifying the number of signboards in the territory and your percentage of those signboards. Other agent’s signboards on exclusive listings should be tracked for listing expiry. Time on market today can be lengthy and therefore the exclusive listings will commonly expire and become available for other agents to chase.
  6. Do a regular signboard survey of your listings to ensure that the signs are not damaged, destroyed, or covered in graffiti. In some sales territories and real estate markets, it is not unusual for other agents to deface or remove the signboards of successful agents. There are strategies around this problem such as the fixing process for the signboard, the quality of the signboard, and the proximity of the signboard to public access. If you are experiencing this problem, you will need to survey your signboards on a weekly basis to stay on top of the issue. Damaged signboards that are not replaced create a negative impression for your business and the property listing; in some cases other agents would like that.
  7. Only put a signboard on properties where you have a legally signed and accepted agency appointment. To do otherwise is foolish and will get you into trouble.
  8. When you sell or lease a property, get a sticker put on the board to show the status of the listing. Your success in the listing should be displayed to the local area; it will encourage others to talk to you even after the sale or lease processes are completed.

The property signboard is a silent but effective marketing tool. It has local area impact and it is as important as listing the property on the Internet today. Signboards are a key process to your market dominance.

When the signboard is placed on the property, it is the time to contact all the adjacent property owners and business proprietors. It is quite likely that they will want to talk about the listed property; so the signboard becomes the catalyst for prospecting.

The same contact process applies to the signboards of other agents. Any other agents signboard placed in your territory will give you reason to talk to the adjacent property owners and business proprietors near that board. Systematic questioning is part of the prospecting process and the way that you can get your database to grow.

Blogging – Advantages of Blogging in the Field of Business and Marketing

Online diaries, weblogs, websites.

These are just but some of the words associated with blogging. The word may sound technical but it simply refers to a website where entries are written chronologically or reverse chronological order. Many blogs are personal commentaries on particular subject such as food, politics, fashion and employment. Some blogs are significant sources of news of current events that continuously gain wide readership and popularity. In today’s business and commerce, blogging offers a wide array of advantages in terms of working with your clients, merchandizers, work colleagues and other writers.

1. Blog marketing offers endless benefits by drawing potential customers into conversations or forums. Because blogs are accessible for the customers to directly comment on the product being posted, bloggers receive feedbacks and build rapport, thus making your market research a lot easier than traditional market research strategies.

2. Blogs create a population of people who are interested in your products and services and what your corporation has to say about them. Just make sure that your blog links to other related blogs because blogging is all about community.

3. Blogs are communication tools allowing you to connect to new opportunities by providing contacts with people you would have never met.

4. A regularly updated business blog provides links in abundant supply making your search engine visible and dynamic to all as it allows you to communicate with a dynamic and interactive database.

5. Blog marketing spells advertising where media can be informed on news pertaining to your company products’ innovations, its merchant tie-ups to other institutions as well as hiring and promotions and other important events of your company. It establishes your corporation’s credibility, boosts its image to prospective business allies, investors and potential employees.

6. A business blog provides an outlet to describe your merchandize, by displaying pictures of your items, thus increasing your bidding pools in case you have auctions or sale.

With the practicality of business blogging, it is therefore strongly suggested that lessons must be learned to build a successful blog.