The number of Singapore-based companies setting up operations in India, about 350 at present, will double in the next five years, a senior executive of the Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore said on Monday.
Likewise, the India-based business community in Singapore would expand to about 5,500 companies from the present 4,000 within the next two-and-a-half years, said Ravi Manchanda, managing director of the bank for business and corporate developments between Singapore and India.
"We see more than one company from India setting up office in Singapore every day," he said in an interview with PTI.
"Singapore, which offers a wide range of tax incentives and charges a low corporate tax of 17 per cent, is one of the most attractive places to do business," said Manchanda, who had been working with global commercial and financial sectors in New York, Holland, London and Hong Kong over the last three decades.
"Indian companies also love to do business in and via Singapore with the rest of the East Asia, including China. They enjoy the benefits of Singapore's free trade agreements with the rapidly-expanding economies of China and South-East countries," he pointed out.
"Though Singapore companies tread with caution while investing overseas, they view India as one of the biggest profit-generating markets in the world," he said, adding, "India has a huge business potential and Singapore is a gateway to fast-expanding Asian economies."
The senior executive also backed his contention on the two markets with readings on the strong pick-up in India-Singapore bilateral trade since the beginning of this year. He said that the January-February 2010 bilateral trade had grown by a hefty 29 per cent year-on-year to SGD 4.26 billion from SGD 3.31 billion. It had fallen by 31.5 per cent a year ago, under pressure from the global economic crisis.
India's January-February 2010 exports to Singapore had increased by 42.5 per cent to SGD 1.86 billion while imports had gone up by 20 per cent to SGD 2.4 billion.
This fast-paced growth in trade is a reflection of the historical trade, commerce and cultural links between India and Singapore, he said.