Singapore is an amazing cultural melting pot, where people of different ethnic backgrounds such as Chinese, Malay, Indian, Eurasian and Peranakan unite as one. This extraordinary phenomenon is what makes Singapore such a unique and vibrant place. When you visit Singapore, you will get to discover a wide range of cultures and heritage—even German cultures too!
Germany and Singapore have a long-standing economic relationship that has grown stronger over the years. As of 2019, there are more than 1,800 German companies based in Singapore, with German direct investments standing at €14.3 billion (S$21.5 billion). This influx of German businesses has injected new life into the city-state’s economy, creating jobs and stimulating economic growth.
You may have noticed that there are now plenty of German eateries here in Singapore. As the number of German residents steadily increases in Lion City, which means that for many Singaporeans it will be advantageous and valuable to learn the language!
Why do German businesses choose Singapore?
Many of these companies view Singapore as a strategic regional hub or headquarters for the South-East Asia and Greater Asia regions. And why is this so?
1) Emerging Asia
The Eurozone economy is forecasted to have an average annual growth rate of 2% from 2017-2020, while Asia’s estimated growth rate of 6.2% for the same period. Furthermore, South-East Asia alone accounts for over 600 million people where consumerism is a growing phenomenon. Recognizing Singapore’s technological capabilities, have given rise to a significant number of German businesses setting up offices in Singapore.
2) Favourable geographical location
Singapore’s seaport is amongst the largest in the world, having links to 600 ports globally. Changi airport is connected with over 210 cities in the world and records more than 6,000 flights every week. For businesses based in Germany, Singapore opens up a great opportunity as a gateway to significant regional markets of Thailand, Indonesia, The Philippines and Vietnam for closer access and greater ease to the region.
3) The ideal environment for businesses
A survey has reported that Singapore has the world’s best infrastructure taking into account the country’s ample access to public transportation, healthcare services, universities and power supply. It is also noteworthy that the country has a low crime rate, political stability and respects intellectual property rights, which are important factors for innovation-driven companies.
4) Widespread use of English
Another reason why German companies invest their presence in Singapore is because of the widespread use of English. It is frequently used in schools, workplaces and in the community. Singaporeans speak English in the administrative and business settings for effective communication and efficient operation of global businesses.
5) Highly skilled labour force
German businesses have attracted many highly skilled Singaporeans to be part of their organisation in an effort to localise their operations. Last year, Singapore ranked ninth in the world talent ranking.
The emergence of German associations and companies in Singapore
Germany and Singapore formalised their diplomatic ties 56 years ago. However, the friendship between the two nations has a longer history.
Dating back to 1840, Behn, Meyer & Co is Germany’s oldest business in Singapore, deals with trading, shipping and insurance services. Siemens, an international corporation, has been present in Singapore since 1908. The German Association, which is the oldest German organization in Singapore dates back to 1856 when it was founded as Teutonia Club.
Over the years, Germany and Singapore have forged a strong relationship. German imports represent a fifth of all EU-Singapore trade, which makes Germany one of Singapore’s important trading partner in the European Union.
This burgeoning friendship has been nurtured over many years and silver lining for a brighter future, in terms of diplomacy, business, culture and education.
Singapore is highly aware of the importance of this long-lasting relationship with Germany and has acknowledged the importance of the German language within the country. With an increasing number of German businesses and residents here in Singapore, the importance of learning the German language is becoming increasingly prevalent.
In fact, there are 60 international schools in Singapore with different languages such as German, French and Japanese in its curriculum. For example, international schools such as the Swiss School in Singapore and German European School Singapore (GESS) offer German as the main language of instruction.
The Ministry of Education Language Centre (MOELC) was established in 1978, have recognised and included the German language as a third language a year after its founding. The Goethe-Institut Singapore, a non-profit German cultural association, promoting the study of the German language abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange and relations was established in Singapore in 1951.
We cannot ignore or undermine the importance of the German language in Singapore as more German businesses and institutions are established in the country. The steady firm relationship between the two countries have opened more doors for people who have come to love all things German, from the German language, culture, food and Oktoberfest!
What more would you need to ‘loslegen’ (get going) in signing yourself and your child for German lessons, get in touch with us now!
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- Wong, L. (2019, December 11). German companies contributed to Singapore’s development: President Halimah. The Straits Times. https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/german-companies-contributed-to-singapores-development-president-halimah.