Far East | Appleton Greene & Co
Appleton Greene & Co

Far East


Singapore has a highly developed market economy, based historically on extended entrepôt trade. Along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, Singapore is one of the original Four Asian Tigers. The Singaporean economy is known as one of the freest, most innovative, most competitive, and most business-friendly. The Index of Economic Freedom ranks Singapore as the second freest economy in the world, behind Hong Kong. According to the Corruption Perceptions Index, Singapore is consistently ranked as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, along with New Zealand and the Scandinavian countries.


Singapore Garden

Singapore is the 14th largest exporter and the 15th largest importer in the world. The country has the highest trade-to-GDP ratio in the world at 407.9 percent, signifying the importance of trade to its economy. The country is currently the only Asian country to have AAA credit ratings from all three major credit rating agencies; Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch. Singapore attracts a large amount of foreign direct investment as a result of its location, corruption-free environment, skilled workforce, low tax rates and advanced infrastructure. There are more than 7,000 multinational corporations from the United States, Japan, and Europe in Singapore. There are also 1,500 companies from China and 1,500 from India. Foreign firms are found in almost all sectors of the economy. Singapore is also the second-largest foreign investor in India. Roughly 44 percent of the Singaporean workforce is made up of non-Singaporeans. Over ten free-trade agreements have been signed with other countries and regions. Singapore also possesses the world’s eleventh largest foreign reserves, and has one of the highest net international investment position per capita. The currency of Singapore is the Singapore dollar, issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. It is interchangeable with the Brunei dollar. In recent years, the country has been identified as an increasingly popular tax haven for the wealthy due to the low tax rate on personal income, a full tax exemption on income that is generated outside of Singapore and legislation that means that capital gains are also tax exempt.


Indonesia has a mixed economy in which both the private sector and government play significant roles. The country is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and a member of the G-20 major economies. Indonesia’s estimated gross domestic product (nominal), is US$928.274 billion with estimated nominal per capita GDP was US$3,797, and per capita GDP PPP was US$4,943 (international dollars). At World Economic Forum on East Asia, Indonesian president said Indonesia will be in the top ten countries with the h2est economy within the next decade. The gross domestic product (GDP) is about $1 trillion and the debt ratio to the GDP is 26%. The industry sector is the economy’s largest and accounts for 46.4% of GDP, this is followed by services (38.6%) and agriculture (14.4%). However, the service sector has employed more people than other sectors, accounting for 48.9% of the total labor force, this has been followed by agriculture (38.6%) and industry (22.2%). Agriculture, however, had been the country’s largest employer for centuries.

Jakarta 1


Jakarta’s economy depends heavily on financial service, trade, and manufacturing. Industries in Jakarta include electronics, automotive, chemicals, mechanical engineering and biomedical sciences manufacturing. The economic growth of Jakarta is 6.44% up from 5.95%, with the growth in the transportation and communication (15.25%), construction (7.81%) and trade, hotel and restaurant sectors (6.88%). GRP (Gross Regional Domestic Product) is Rp. 566 trillion (around $US 56 billion). The largest contributions to GDRP are by finance, ownership and business services (29%); trade, hotel and restaurant sector (20%), and manufacturing industry sector (16%). The increase in per capita GRDP of DKI Jakarta inhabitants is 11.6% compared to the previous year.


Thailand is an emerging economy and is considered a newly industrialized country. After experiencing the world’s highest growth rate averaging 12.4% annually, increased pressure on Thailand’s currency, the baht and led to a crisis that uncovered financial sector weaknesses and forced the Chavalit Yongchaiyudh administration to float the currency. The baht was pegged at 25 to the US dollar; however, the baht reached its lowest point of 56 to the US dollar and the economy contracted by 10.8% that year, triggering the Asian financial crisis.



Bangkok is the economic centre of Thailand, and the heart of the country’s investment and development. The city has an economic output of 3.142 trillion baht (approx. US$98.34bn), contributing 29.1 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). This amounts to a per-capita GDP value of ?456,911 ($14,301), almost three times the national average of ?160,556 ($5,025). The Bangkok Metropolitan Region has a combined output of ?4.773tn ($149.39bn), or 44.2 percent of GDP. Bangkok’s economy ranks as the sixth among Asian cities in terms of per-capita GDP, after Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka-Kobe and Seoul. Wholesale and retail trade is the largest sector in the city’s economy, contributing 24.0 percent of Bangkok’s gross provincial product. It is followed by manufacturing (14.3%); real estate, renting and business activities (12.4%); transport and communications (11.6%); and financial intermediation (11.1%). Bangkok alone accounts for 48.4 percent of Thailand’s service sector, which in turn constitutes 49.0 percent of GDP. When the Bangkok Metropolitan Region is considered, manufacturing is the most significant contributor at 28.2 percent of the gross regional product, reflecting the density of industry in the Bangkok’s neighbouring provinces. The automotive industry based around Greater Bangkok is the largest production hub in Southeast Asia. Tourism is also a significant contributor to Bangkok’s economy, generating ?427.5bn ($13.38bn) in revenue. Due to the large amount of foreign representation, Thailand has for several years been a mainstay of the Southeast Asian economy and a key centre in Asian business. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network ranks Bangkok as an “Alpha-” world city, and it is ranked 59th in Z/Yen’s Global Financial Centres Index. Bangkok is home to the headquarters of all of Thailand’s major commercial banks and financial institutions, as well as the country’s largest companies. A large number of multinational corporations base their regional headquarters in Bangkok due to the lower cost of the workforce and firm operations relative to other major Asian business centres. Seventeen Thai companies are listed on the Forbes 2000, all of which are based in the capital, including PTT, the only Fortune Global 500 company in Thailand.