Singapore Market Cultural Report

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Middlebury College
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This paper focuses on the preparation of a market cultural report on Singapore. Once recognized as a trading post for the British colonialists, Singapore has become an outstanding city-state in South Asia. This is due to its vibrant economy and cultural diversity that has seen it become a worldwide financial hub. Gifted with political stability and safety, Singapore has displayed a 7.7% gross domestic growth since it gained it its independence. This republic has also been able to maintain a stable population growth, currently with an average of 5.3 million and with a growth rate of 2%. According to the Singaporean government, this increase in population is expected to go on in coming years, as will the cultural diversity based upon a trade dictated economy that comprises a large number of foreigners. By 2030, the projected population make-up is 50% immigrants ("Market Cultural Report | Singapore," 2017). In short, Singapore can be described as an adventure, developing on itself and is forming a success structure in culture and innovativeness, going forward into the future.

Rationale for Choosing Singapore

Apart from its thrilling and progressive culture, Singapore also offers a welcoming business environment for foreign countries. Like for any other country, it is vital to assess the requisites and the etiquette within the culture before venturing into any business within the state ("Guide to Singapore- Etiquette, Customs, Culture and Business," 2017). Fortunately, Singapore gives numerous advantages for investment start-up. Singapore has been able to build an adamant foundation for businesses, rendering it one of the most ideal and competitive Asian markets. Its geographical location is also beneficial as it offers a strong international presence. Beyond the robust business platform, Singapore has also been able to come up with a user-friendly system for starting and sustaining businesses. Companies that have their presence or headquarters in Singapore benefit for various reasons such as double duty avoidance treaties, some free trade agreements, and well controlled intellectual property acts. Therefore, when investors are looking to operate at minimum cost, peace of mind, and protection of ideas and approaches that facilitate competitiveness in a dynamic international market, the often opt for Singapore ("Guide to Singapore- Etiquette, Customs, Culture and Business," 2017).

In a majority of countries around the world, registering a foreign country is usually associated with some obstacles. However, this is not the case with Singapore as it has established a straightforward process for registering new businesses or outlets, allowing them to efficiently face the three arms of government that regulate business registration in the country (Bhasin, 2007). The financial authority of Singapore has been well established to meet the requirements for different entry of banking, insurance or any other financial business. In the legal industry, the services are well simplified by the Legal Services Authority. For any other business, the all-inclusive global enterprise of Singapore facilitates smooth processing of registration documents. Also, Singapore has been identified for its success in developing rigid partnerships within the business sector. By successfully being able to overcome obstacles established by other countries, Singapore has a platform that possesses an inter-agency collaboration, rather than confrontation, to assist businesses develop and flourish ("Guide to Singapore- Etiquette, Customs, Culture and Business," 2017).

Another factor is political stability and good governance. This has resulted in negligible levels of corruption. When compare to other upcoming economies, corruption is a non-issue in Singapore. In this country, crime is well regulated, and this is well reflected in the global ranking of corruption where Singapore has maintained its position of having the minimum corruption around Asia. The level of corruption is even found to be lower than in most super-economies such as the US, Germany, and England (Wirtz and Chung, 2002). For the past 50 years, the country's economy has rapidly grown, reaching its peak gross domestic product inside the last six years. Singapore has been identified to have one of the best GDP per capita globally. Apart from being one of the open and investment friendly markets, the Singaporean market facilitates different entry with trade platforms, allowing a GDP valued at 292 billion US dollars. Therefore, when making an investment, the appropriate question for the case of Singapore is usually, why not invest in Singapore?' (Wirtz and Chung, 2002).

Cultural Environment

When planning and establishing any business activities in a foreign country, it is crucial to clearly understand the essential cultural practices and norms that have the potential to influence the success of the firm. Setting up a business that appreciates the culture of the host nation sees it being supported by the locals. From the initial launch of operations, there are numerous vital components to put into consideration when setting up a new business in Singapore.

Singapore is a multi-ethnic community that is made up of Chinese, Malays, Indians and other Eurasian societies. Chinese constitutes the larger percentage of the four, and therefore it is likelier to meet Singaporean Chinese people in business operations. It is important to keep in mind that these people have been able to preserve their cultural heritage such as their religion, customs, and dialects. Therefore, it is vital to consider the aspect of the different cultures when setting up a business in this region. For example, when doing business with Malay partners, Friday meetings should be strictly avoided as these people are vastly Muslims. Investors are also encouraged to appreciate the fact that Malays neither drink alcohol nor consume pork while the Indians don't do beef.

During business meetings or any other social function, one should always shake hands with everyone present, both at the beginning and at the end, and do so firmly. Also, many locals will always bow when giving a handshake and therefore it is recommendable to do so in return. As a general expectation, avoid making contact with anyone's head, be it an adult or a child, as it is regarded sacred. The business culture of Singapore is formal and dictated by various etiquette requirements they vary between the different members of the society. During negotiations, Singaporeans are very cautious to ensure that they get into business with the right people (Gesteland, 2012). Therefore, it is necessary to develop a good and frank relationship with a Singaporean partner to demonstrate your ability to do business. It's Important to be aware that status and hierarchy are highly in Singapore (Gesteland, 2012). This way, institutions possess a top-down structure. Therefore, decisions are mostly made by the executives and subordinates are expected to avoid confrontation to their seniors. Small talk is usual at the beginning of meetings, and you may be required to provide your personal and family details. Therefore, you are supposed not to consider this rude, but as a part of the getting-to-know, you step. If uncomfortable, you can withdraw politely.

In the corporate world, punctuality is seriously considered and therefore being on time to conferences or notifications for a likely delay is vital. These conferences should be in a position to identify and have a direct approach when dealing with any issues or priorities concerning money.

Singapore vs. US business Culture

Manager-worker Relationships

When it comes to instructing their workers, US managers tend to be more direct in their comments. However, the entrepreneurial culture in Singapore requires that manager suggests their ideas and instructions using nonverbal cues and subtle references. When it comes to asking questions, subordinates in the US are in a position to pose specific questions to the executives and even challenge their directives or purposes. In Singapore, this is not the case because underlings are not able to challenge their seniors as this is culturally regarded as a disrespect to the authority and risks loss of respect ("The alteration in Business Customs between Asia and the West - Executive Search Headhunter - Philippines, Asia-Pacific, ASEAN," 2017).

In the US, the business culture believes in direct and quick approach when a dealing with problems. This is apparently associated with little or no emotional concern and even disruption of others' feelings. However, in Singapore, others' emotional states are highly observed and protected. In businesses, the executive spends quite an amount of time in trying to understand the emotional states of their workers even when faced with a problem. The problem-solving procedure is usually slow as it involves talking in circles while trying to come up with a win-win solution ("Doing Business in Singapore vs. the USA | A Comparative Study," 2017).

When it comes to authority and power, managers in the US usually consider themselves as part of the team. The only thing that makes them be in charge is their specialization and experience. This case is however entirely different in Singapore where managers consider themselves as the next father figure' to their subordinates (Trocki, 2006). They give direction and personal support to their workers, expecting resilient loyalty and compliance in return. In short, the US business culture believes in professional relationships, and it is not expected to go to a personal level. However, the culture in Singapore appreciates close relationships between colleagues.

In the US, workers try to arrive at the planned time and kickoff meeting immediately. In Singapore, people usually come 5 minutes before time and don't start the session immediately. Instead, they take their time warming up with one another via non-business conversations. In American business culture, saying yes' only means a consensus between parties or a commitment to deliver something. In Singaporean culture, yes' doesn't mean an agreement. It is however used as a means of acknowledgment that someone is paying attention to what is being said. When it comes to hierarchies, American business culture has a more flat structure with less hierarchical levels. The managers try to make their subordinates feel that even their opinions matter' and they are all in the same boat.' In Singapore, the business culture comprises of a definite hierarchy, and everyone needs to be aware of his/her position within the pecking order with a view to allowing for a harmonious co-existence. In this culture, foreign investors are usually granted privileged and relatively exalted positions than the locals ("Doing Business in Singapore vs. the USA | A Comparative Study," 2017).

The US business culture allows for managers to criticize their employees publicly. However, this more of absent than rare with Singaporean executives. For confidential information, the US entrepreneurial culture respects that employees can have privacy. In Singapore, it is usually deemed disrespectful if a colleague has some secrets that are not known by the rest of the of a group. In the US, managers, and partners can become angry and distressed if commitments are not maintained. However, the business culture of Singapore is far much fair and accepting. Colleague mistakes are readily accepted.

Company Start-Up

In Singapore, starting a business is a 3 step process that only takes about 2.5 days. In the US, one is required complete a sequence of procedures and this takes twice as much time. It is also cost-effective to start a business in Singapore than in the US. in the states, the start-up process requires about $750 which is a double figure when compared to Singapore....

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