PwC’s 2017 APEC CEO Survey: Singapore findings

"Technology and increased capital flows are inevitably revolutionising the business landscape in Southeast Asia, and Singapore must continue to seek out its comparative advantage to maintain its unique role within the region."

SAM Kok Weng, Asia Pacific Markets Leader, PwC

One of the region’s most outward-oriented economy

Based on the responses of more than 80 business leaders surveyed in Singapore, this year’s results affirm the city state’s position as one of the most outward-oriented economies in the region. Correspondingly, businesses based in Singapore are also found to be more exposed to global economic headwinds than their regional peers.

When it comes to gearing up for the digital future, our findings suggest that businesses in Singapore are ahead of the APEC curve in certain respects due to the above-average adoption rate of a number of digital workforce strategies by its respondents.

Compared to their regional peers, business leaders surveyed in Singapore are found to have:

  • Experienced increased barriers in the global trade and investment environment over the past 12 months – more so than their foreign counterparts
  • Higher take up of automation as part of their digital workforce strategy, along with use of technologies for remote operations and machine learning

Where Singapore stands out from the crowd

Exposure to global barriers

  • In the past year, more than a fifth of business leaders surveyed in ASEAN and APEC experienced increased barriers across a range of trade and investment openness measures, especially in:
    • Employing foreign labour (ASEAN: 26%, APEC: 23%)
    • Providing or receiving services across borders (ASEAN: 21%, APEC 20%)
    • Investing in another economy (ASEAN: 18%, APEC: 19%)
  • Singapore, being one of the most open economies in the region, is more exposed to headwinds in the international trade and investment environment
  • The same trade and investment impediments therefore weigh more heavily on business leaders in Singapore:
    • Employing of foreign labour (38%)
    • Providing or receiving services across borders (29%)
    • Investing in another economy (23%)

Gearing up for a digital workforce

  • When asked about the workforce strategies that they’re currently adopting for the digital age, Singapore lead the APEC average in:
    • Automation (Singapore: 64%, APEC: 58%)
    • Greater use of technologies for remote operations (Singapore: 54%, APEC: 47%)
    • Investing in machine learning and emerging technologies (Singapore: 53%, APEC:40%)
  • This may be in part fuelled by government-driven initiatives to transform the nation into a smart economy by accelerating the development of the country’s digital ecosystem
  • To ensure that Singapore can achieve sustainable growth and remain competitive in a global digital age, Singapore’s Committee on the Future Economy has unveiled nationwide strategies to restructure the economy through innovation, digital enablement, increased connectivity and deep skills training
This Singapore findings of our 2017 APEC CEO Survey represents the responses of 82 business surveyed in Singapore.
 

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Sam Kok Weng
Markets Leader
Tel: +65 6236 3268
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