The Singapore government is now focused into high-tech research in areas like the biomedical sciences. It has also ensured that intellectual property is protected while managing political and economic risks as well as maintaining top quality living standards.
Speaking to about 300 delegates from 26 countries at the World Economic Forum(WEF) meeting held in Singapore, Mr. Lim Siong Guanin, Chairman of the Economic Development Board said competition was a "reality of life, so we have to watch out as to what things are happening and what advantage to take".
With the cost of labour and land more expensive compared with its neighbours, the natural resources-starved nation had to think of ways to be competitive in attracting foreign investment, he told the forum.
Mr. Lim urged the Asian countries, particularly those in Southeast Asia, to focus on collaborating in areas where they are weak and to remain competitive in innovation.
Singapore wants to be at the top end of the market, but the costs of doing business are going up. Businesses will want to be in markets where they can innovate and make money, Lim said.
"We take that as a reality of life. Some of the biggest projects we've lost are to developed countries such as Germany and the United States. So we try to link up with (countries such as) Vietnam and Indonesia so investors can do their high-end work in Singapore and low-end work in Vietnam or Indonesia," he said.