Singapore beckons Qatari business leaders |
The Peninsula - 09 August, 2012
The International Monetary Fund’s 2012 report on Qatar points out a paradigm shift in the country's emerging fiscal policy. As per the analysis available, by 2020, Doha is gearing to reduce its fiscal dependency on the hydrocarbon sector and finance its budget completely from non-hydrocarbon revenues. Now, that sounds unimaginable and totally unorthodox.
However, as trends indicate, it increasingly seems that the seemingly impossible feat could very well be accomplished through the high-value returns of Qatar’s global investments made through its investment arms, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Qatari Diar.
The IMF estimates that by 2016-17, about 63 per cent of Qatar’s total government expenditure would be covered by non-hydrocarbon revenues. Understandably, the QIA and Qatari Diar would, therefore, have a pivotal role to play in this quantum leap. With investments in Barclays, Credit Suisse, Harrods, luxury hotels, prime real estate across Europe and even the athlete’s village in London’s Olympic Park, Qatari investment has kissed every lucrative European city.
With the global financial meltdown and the impending collapse of the European economy, Asian markets are emerging as the next cradle of business.
It is time Qatar looks towards the east. Although, China and India pose huge GDP numbers, the inherent struggles to operate a business smoothly in these Asian giants, leaves investors looking for an alternate destination.
The only cosmopolitan, reliable, stable and non-corrupt business base in Asia, then emerges to be the uber-advanced and meritocratic economy of Singapore.
The ‘Red Dot’ as Singapore is commonly known, is already the third richest country in the world, in terms of per-capita GDP. It’s fast and booming economy has made it the hub for many banking, trading, engineering, consulting, information technology, FMCG, biotechnology, shipping, petroleum and real estate companies. Due to its impregnable legal system, Singapore has also emerged as an intellectual property hub.
Not surprising that Qatar has invested prudently in Singapore. The most prominent being in iconic luxury hotels such as the Fairmont Singapore, Swissotel and Raffles hotel. In 2009, Qatar Petroleum also furthered its reach within Asia-Pacific by forming a joint venture with Shell in Singapore as a part of positioning itself as a major global player in the energy industry.
Singapore’s dynamic market not just provides a level playing ground for governments and multi-nationals but also to entrepreneurs and angel investors who are looking to expand into Asian markets. With a high buying capacity and impressive liquidity of capital, Singapore has already attracted giants such as Google, Microsoft, Maersk, Rolls Royce, Bosch, Citibank and Qatar National Bank.
The rapid growth of the Singaporean market ensures a constantly evolving consumer population which has a historicity of supporting sunrise business sectors. No wonder that the Business Environment Risk Intelligence (BERI) report for 2011 ranks Singapore as the best city in the world in terms of investment potential.
Opportunities are galore for Qatari investors to reap rich dividends from Singapore’s embracing and vibrant economy. Singapore also prides itself as one of the easiest places in the world to start and grow a business. This is a phenomenon that Servolve has conscientiously supported.
One thing is for certain, as Qatar progresses towards dependency on non-hydrocarbon revenues, Qatari businesses will undoubtedly explore possibilities of multiplying their returns in resilient Asian markets with Singapore as the port of first call.