Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign city-state and island country located in maritime Southeast Asia. Singapore lies about one degree of latitude (137 kilometres or 85 miles) north of the equator, and is situated off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, and, by extension, the southernmost extremity of continental Eurasia. The island country shares its southern maritime border with Indonesia's Riau Islands, its northern, western, and eastern maritime borders with the Johor state of Peninsular Malaysia, and is in the vicinity of Sumatra to its west and Borneo to its east. It is enveloped by the littoral waters of the Johore Strait to its north and the Singapore Strait to its south, and is geographically positioned within the confluence of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, being bounded by the Malacca Strait to its west and the South China Sea to its east. The country's territory is composed of one main island, 63 satellite islands and islets, and one outlying islet, the combined area of which has increased by almost 25% since the country's independence as a result of extensive land reclamation projects.
Although Singapore has been a constituent part of several Malay Hindu-Buddhist thalassocratic empires and Islamic sultanates throughout its millennia-long history, modern Singapore, then part of the erstwhile Johor Sultanate, was founded in 1819 when Stamford Raffles, a British colonial officer, established a trading post of the East India Company on the main island. In 1824, the main island and its satellite islands were fully ceded by the Johor Sultanate, and in 1826, Singapore was incorporated into the Straits Settlements, a group of East India Company territories in the Malay peninsula. From 1830 to 1858, the Straits Settlements were administered as a Malayan subdivision of the East India Company's Bengal Presidency; following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Presidency and its constituent Settlements were reorganised into the British Raj. In 1867, Britain's colonial holdings in the Malay archipelago were separated from British India, and the administration of the Straits Settlements was transferred from Calcutta to London, bringing the Straits Settlements under the direct control of the British Crown as a crown colony.
From 1867 to the 1940s, Singapore grew into a successful entrepôt that attracted settlers and sojourners from the region and beyond. During the Second World War, Imperial Japan successfully invaded and annexed Singapore, resulting in an interregnum of British rule corresponding with a brief but violent Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945. Following Japan's surrender in 1945, Singapore was returned to British control; in 1946, the Straits Settlements were dissolved, and Singapore became a standalone crown colony. In 1959, following a protracted period of agitation against colonial rule, Singapore gained limited autonomy from the British Empire. In 1963, Singapore became fully emancipated from colonial rule after it federated with the territories of the erstwhile British Malaya and British Borneo to form the country of Malaysia, but after two tumultuous years as a constituent state of the Malaysian Federation, and following intractable differences, Singapore was expelled in 1965, becoming the first country in modern history to gain independence against its will—though this narrative remains highly contentious. After early years of turbulence, the newly sovereign nation—viewed as a nonviable state by international observers due to its diminutiveness, geostrategic vulnerability, absence of natural resources, and lack of a hinterland—defied odds by rapidly developing and industrialising under the leadership of the founding People's Action Party to become a high-income economy and developed country within a single generation.
Singapore is the only truly sovereign city-state in the world; it has its own currency and a well-funded military that is considered the most advanced in Southeast Asia. It is a unitary parliamentary republic with a unicameral legislature that has been characterised by dominant-party rule since independence. The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Singapore a "flawed democracy" in 2019. The city-state is home to 5.6 million residents, 61% (3.4 million) of whom are Singaporeans. The country has four official languages: English, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil; Malay, as the ancestral language of the country, is accorded special status in the country's constitution as the national language, while English is the lingua franca, being spoken as a common tongue by the vast majority of Singaporeans. As a legacy of its historical nature as an entrepôt, modern Singapore is a pluralistic country with a racially, culturally, and religiously diverse citizenry, with one indigenous ethnic group, the Malays, and two settler-descended ethnic groups, the Chinese and Indians, forming the historical and contemporary core of the country's citizen populace. As a reflection of this diversity, multiracialism has been enshrined as a foundational principle of the state, and has shaped the country's politics and national policies, particularly in education and housing.
The country is one of the five founding members of ASEAN, is the headquarters of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat and Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) Secretariat, is a member of the United Nations, World Trade Organization, East Asia Summit, Non-Aligned Movement, and the Commonwealth of Nations, and is a recurrent guest invitee to the annual G20 summit. It is the most developed sovereign nation in Asia, being ranked 9th on the UN Human Development Index, and has the 7th highest GDP per capita in the world. It is also considered by Transparency International to be the most incorruptible nation in Asia, and the fifth most incorruptible worldwide. Singapore is placed highly in key social indicators: education, healthcare, quality of life, personal safety, and housing, with a home-ownership rate of 91%. Singaporeans enjoy one of the world's longest life expectancies and one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. As a city, Singapore is classified as an Alpha+ global city, and is the only country in Asia with an AAA sovereign rating from all major rating agencies. It is a major financial and shipping hub, consistently ranked the most expensive city to live in since 2013, and has been identified as a tax haven. Singapore is also a popular tourist destination, with well-known landmarks such as the Merlion, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, the Jewel, the Orchard Road shopping belt, the resort island of Sentosa, and the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the only tropical garden in the world to be honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Business Investment: Company formation. Minimum paid-up capital of S$ 50,000 (US$ 36,838).
Business Investment: Invest S$ 2,500,000 (US$ 1,841,900) in a new business startup or expansion of an existing business operation.
Shares, Funds, Treasuries, Bonds
Investment: Invest S$ 2,500,000 (US$ 1,841,900) in a GIP-approved fund.
Citizenship by Residency and Naturalization
Once permanent residency is obtained, one can apply for citizenship through naturalization after 24 months of being a resident.
Currency: Singapore Dollar
Free Trade Agreements: AANZFTA, ACFTA, AIFTA, AJCEP, AKFTA, AFTA, ESFTA, GSFTA, TPSEP
Residency: 6-12 Months
Citizenship: 24-36 Months
Visa Free Travel
Cost of Living
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