According to the World Bank’s newly published ‘Doing Business 2014’ report , Singapore is one of the most business friendly cities in the world. With competitive taxes, low corruption and crime rates, a modern transport network and an educated talent pool, it’s easy to understand why so many global businesses open an office here.
But where should you set up shop, and what areas carry the most clout amongst the business community?
Singapore’s business hub
Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD) refers to the stretch of land south of the river and incorporates areas like Orchard Road, Marina East, marina South, Newton and River Valley. It’s where the city’s key financial and commercial companies choose to have their offices and one of the most prized business districts in the world.
The areas is awash with modern, impressive skyscrapers like as the UOB building. Office workers, clad in expensive suits, dash about purposely. The streets are pristine, the buildings modern and the transport networks efficient.
Of all the areas that make up the CBD, however, Raffles Place carries the most cachet. Home to Raffles Hotel, the streets here like Cecil Street, Robinson Road and Shenton Way contain several Grade A buildings and are where the biggest financial institutions choose to be based.
IT firms tend to favour the Marina Bay or Suntec City area, while media and advertising agencies are clustered around the trendy River Valley/Singapore River area, where you’ll also find Clarke Quay and Boat Quay – a popular spot for office workers to unwind after a long day.
The Orchard area, meanwhile, is geared up to retail businesses and it’s where you’ll find Singapore’s glitziest shopping centres.
When you start to get to the fringes of the CBD around Bras Basah Road, the rates start to get a bit cheaper and you’ll find smaller, more price-conscious firms.
Offices outside the CBD
The benefit of having a CBD office comes at a fairy hefty price, however. According to a study by Jones Lang LaSalle, Singapore’s CBD is the eighth most expensive place to do business in the world. The average rate in this prime area comes in at S$11 per square foot each month, or $103 per square foot for a year.
So it’s not surprising that an increasing number of companies are looking outside the CBD. And it’s not just smaller firms: Shell, Procter and Gamble, Neptune Orient Lines and the Singapore Exchange have all been shopping for office space outside the CBD to save money.
To cater to the demand, a number of world class business buildings have sprung up which are seen as a perfectly respectable alternative to a CBD location. The Metropolis in Bueona Vista is a case in point: due to be completed by the end of 2013, it’s a Grade A building which is expected to attract some of the most successful companies in Singapore, thanks to its state-of-the-art business facilities, airy office space and innovative design features.
If your mind’s set on a Singapore office with a prestigious address within the CBD to impress clients with, there is a more cost-effective alternative: a virtual office.
Clever businesses can have a team of trained professionals who can perform all the office duties a business might need, like answering phone calls, receiving mail or sending faxes, but without the high costs associates with hiring full-time staff to work in expensive premises. Plus, a lot of the virtual offices can be found in the CBD and offer you the choice of paying to hold a certain number of meetings in a physical office when you need to.
About the author: About the Guest Post Author: Elmer is an Entrepreneur with a passion for all things business, catch him on Google+.