Singapore is Asia’s happiest place: What it means for businesses

Singapore topped the list as Asia’s happiest country for 2021-2023 according to data from the World Happiness Report 2024. Holding its position for the second year running, this can be attributed to the country’s high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita and low levels of corruption. This article will explore what this mean for businesses planning to operate in the city state.

About the World Happiness Report

The World Happiness Report is a collaborative effort between analytics and advisory company Gallup, the Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre, the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and the editorial board of the report itself, focusing on how happy people are around the world.  

This year’s report draws its primary data from the Gallup World Poll where respondents rate their life satisfaction on a scale from 0 to 10. Each year, around 1,000 people per country are surveyed, with the rankings reflecting data from the previous three years. In this case, the 2024 report compiled data from 2021 to 2023. To evaluate a country’s overall happiness, researchers also considered other factors such as GDP per capita, corruption, and healthy life expectancy.  

In this context, Singapore has shown a positive trend, ranking 30th out of 143 countries globally. In Asia alone, Singapore continues to take the lead with Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines following close behind.

Economic prosperity

Co-author and editor of this year’s report Shun Wang told CNBC that “Singapore did very well in terms of GDP per capita, one of the highest ranking in our dataset”.  

In fact, Singapore’s GDP is forecasted to increase by 2.9% in the first quarter of 2024, marking the fastest growth in six quarters, as reported by a Bloomberg survey. This economic boost is partly due to the success of Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, which had Singapore as its only Southeast Asian venue.  

For businesses considering incorporation in Singapore, a high GDP per capita typically suggests that the economy is performing well. This could mean a secure foundation for new businesses to operate with confidence. 

Transparent business environment

In the interview with CNBC, Wang also pointed out Singapore’s low perception of corruption compared to other countries. The 2023 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (TI-CPI) supports this, with Singapore ranking as the fifth least corrupt nation globally among 180 countries. This is an important indicator of a transparent and ethical operational landscape for businesses. 

The reputation for low corruption may also enhance the country’s attractiveness for foreign investments, providing businesses with more opportunities for growth and collaboration. Coupled with support from the government, this could make Singapore a more appealing hub for international business.  

Healthier workforce

Director of the Wellbeing Research Centre at Oxford University and editor of the World Happiness Report 2024, Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, also mentioned that Singapore “does particularly well on generating healthy life expectancy”. From a business standpoint, this suggests that workers in Singapore are likely to stay healthier and more active for a greater portion of their lives. This may benefit companies in the long run. 

Singapore in the global market

Maintaining its position as Asia’s happiest country, Singapore may stand out as a prime business destination where companies may thrive alongside a contented community. With a stable economy, minimal corruption, and a healthy workforce, Singapore presents a compelling case for businesses looking to establish or grow their presence in Asia.

Healy Consultants Group provides a wide range of corporate services across the world. Email or WhatsApp us now to find out more about our services.

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