Singapore has consistently challenged the expectations of many around the world. Despite having only 55 years under her belt since her independence, our nation has achieved leaps and bounds in the successes achieved. In 2020, Singapore faced one of the toughest challenges, the coronavirus pandemic. Despite it being a tempestuous year for all nations around the world, our sunny island never stopped growing, with news headlines about international megacompanies setting up headquarters in Singapore, exciting launches of innovative prototypes like flying taxis and even the world’s first lab-grown chicken nugget!

It seems that the sun never stops shining on our tiny red dot, with the nation poised to becoming one of the world’s best cities for businesses of the future world to take flight and grow. Here are some of the latest additions to Singapore’s arsenal of things that we can achieve, right in our own backyard!

At the time of writing, the top concern for many countries continues to be their battle with the ravaging pandemic, with some undergoing the second and third waves of reinfections. While Singaporeans have eased back into somewhat ‘normal’ lives safely in Phase 3, with slightly larger group gatherings allowed and larger scale events permitted, the benefits we enjoy today are privileges that even our neighbouring countries do not have. Singapore received her first cargo freight containing the approved Pfizer and BioNTech late December 2020, taken to SATS’ cold-chain facility specifically designed to cater to the sub-zero freezing temperatures requirements for the vaccine storage.

Despite only just receiving the first freight of the vaccine, Singapore has yet again proved her forte as an enterprising and ambitious global player by announcing plans to transform the nation into a regional hub for the transportation of the COVID-19 vaccines. Having identified a potential gap in neighbouring regions who may not have the logistical resources to handle larger volumes of vaccine shipments which are required to be stored at specific temperatures such as -70°C for Pfizer vaccines, Singapore intends to transform and strengthen Changi’s ability to manage pharma cargo shipments.

Changi has in recent years been touted as the “top logistics hub” and a preferred hub for pharmaceutical shipments, claiming international awards and titles for having one of the most efficient unbroken cold chain, managed by logistical partners including SATS and Dnata. These logistical partners will work hand-in-hand with other brands including UPS, FedEx and DHL who have regional hubs based in Singapore, who will then be responsible for the delivery of the vaccines to neighbouring countries who have placed orders with the Singapore Changi Airport. With pandemics believed to occur every other decade given the mass interconnectivity that air travel has brought, one can be confident that Singapore is more than ready to handle the problems of a future tomorrow.

With climate change surfacing to become one of the world’s most contentious problems after years of environmental damage, there is greater awareness and urgency for a solution. One of the largest drivers of climate change is the production of agriculture, more specifically meat and poultry which are major producers of greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide. As population numbers grow, coupled with demand for more refined varieties of food, cutting back on agricultural production is not the solution. Instead, startups including San Francisco-based Eat Just, have risen to the challenge by manufacturing cultured chicken products as a prototype for future innovations including beef and pork.

These cultured meats have been acclaimed to be the “future of meat”, to counter current disadvantages of traditional meat sourcing, which brings about risks such as zoonotic diseases and its negative impacts on the environment. Singapore will form the base in which Eat Just sets up its Asia-Pacific headquarters and has been praised to be an industry leader in which founder Josh Terrick hopes that the “US and Western Europe will follow the lead of Singapore in providing a regulatory environment”. These companies mentioned are amongst the slew of mega corporations seeking to take flight in Singapore, with others including Tik Tok which is another business of the future for social media and the media consumer market.

This greatly benefits the land and its inhabitants, you and me! With more of such large-scale corporations, massive number of job opportunities will be doled out, from engineers, to product developers and even food scientists. This spells good news as technological advancements continue to render more jobs obsolete. However, these jobs will require relevant skillsets and qualifications, hence may benefit only a certain demographic in society who fit the bill. With more MNCs setting up base in Singapore, more foreign talents will make their way into the Singapore borders which will affect the demand for land. This goes without saying, the competition for land would increase, with a good chance that prices are expected to increase over the years in tandem with inflation.

For locals, this may not be good news because the MRTs and their favourite eateries are about to become more crowded. Along the line of transport, the influx of these large companies into Singapore will spur greater innovation and development in our transport networks. Currently, there are more than 130 stations spanning across six MRT lines, with 6 in 10 households located within 10 minutes from an MRT station. These statistics are expected to increase up to 8 in 10 households by 2030, with rail networks expected to double in length as more stations are added to the mix. 

It is definitely not an easy feat to be where we are today. A legacy left behind by our founding fathers, Singapore is poised to become a city for businesses of the future, corporations that will pave the way and meet the demands of a different tomorrow. How do you think Singapore will look like in her next 50 years of independence?

Darren Ang
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