Singapore's Economic Development

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Singapore's Economic Development

By | September 2008
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Singapore is an island country located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. It lies 137 kilometers (85 mi) north of the equator, south of the Malaysian state of Johor and north of Indonesia's Riau Islands. At 707.1 km2 (273.0 sq mi), Singapore is one of three remaining true city-states in the world. It is the smallest nation in Southeast Asia. Prior to European settlement, the island now known as Singapore was the site of a Malay fishing village at the mouth of the Singapore River. Several hundred indigenous Orang Laut people also lived along the nearby coast, rivers and on smaller islands. In 1819 the British East India Company established a trading post on the island, which was used thereafter as a strategic trading post along the spice route. Singapore would become one of the most important commercial and military centers of the British Empire, and the hub of British power in Southeast Asia. The city was occupied by the Japanese during World War II, which Winston Churchill called "Britain's greatest defeat". Singapore reverted to British rule immediately postwar, in 1945. Eighteen years later the city, having achieved independence from Britain, merged with Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia. However, less than two years later it seceded from the federation and became an independent republic on 9 August 1965. Singapore joined the United Nations on 21 September that same year. Since independence, Singapore's standard of living has been on the rise. Foreign direct investment and a state-led drive to industrialization based on plans drawn up by the Dutch economist Albert Winsemius have created a modern economy focused on electronics manufacturing, petrochemicals, tourism and financial services alongside traditional entrepôt trade. Singapore is the 6th wealthiest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita. The small nation has foreign exchange reserves of more than US$177 billion. The population of Singapore is approximately 4.59 million....

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