To which language should you translate to localize in Singapore?
English, Mandarin, Tamil, and Malay.
T-Index ranks countries according to their potential for online sales.
Very high proficiency (EF) – 4 of 112 countries/regions in the world- 1/24 position in Asia.
Most studied languages
Mandarin (for non-Chinese), Malay (for non-Malays), Indonesian (for non-Malays), Arabic, Japanese (only for Chinese), French and German
Arabic numbering system, point as decimal separator and comma as separator of thousands.
Date format: yyyy-mm-dd / dd-mm-yyyy
Time: 24h time system
Country code: 0065
Currency: Singapore dollar
Population: 5,45 milion
Population density: 8/ km2
GDP: 396.99 billion USD (2020)
GDP per capita: 72,794.0USD (2020)
Exports: $281 billion (2020)
Internet users: 92% penetration, 5.45 million
Unemployment rate: 3.5% (2021)
Literacy: 97.05 % (2018)
Language data sources: Worldatlas/Britannica//EF/Wikipedia; Demography data sources: IMF/Worldometers; Conventions data source: Wikipedia; Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal; Statistics data sources: Datareportal/WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF/Culturalatlas/Commisceoglobal
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Facts and data
$301 billion (2020). Integrated Circuits ($51.1B), Refined Petroleum ($30.2B), Gold ($20.6B), Crude Petroleum ($13B), and Gas Turbines ($8.7B), importing mostly from China ($54B), Malaysia ($36.5B), United States ($25.9B), Chinese Taipei ($24.9B), and Japan ($15.8B).
Financial inclusion factors (over 15 years of age)
• 98% have an account with a financial institution
• 49% have a credit card
• 9.5% have a mobile money account
• 57% make online purchases
Ease of doing business
Very Easy to conduct business (86.2 out of 100) 1st out of 25 East Asia-Pacific countries, 2nd worldwide out of 190 countries (2019, World Bank)
Global Innovation Index
Ranked 2rd out of 17 South East Asia, East Asia and Oceania countries, 8th out of 132 worldwide.
The Global Innovation Index captures the innovation
ecosystem performance of 132 economies and tracks the most recent global innovation trends.
$281 billion (2020). Integrated Circuits ($62.7B), Refined Petroleum ($27B), Gold ($11.4B), Packaged Medicaments ($9.9B), and Gas Turbines ($9.24B), exporting mostly to China ($42.9B), Hong Kong ($41.7B), United States ($27.6B), Malaysia ($22.9B), and Indonesia ($14.8B).
Main local online stores
Shopee, Lazada, Amazon, Qoo10, EZuBy, eBay, Zalora, Courts Singapore, Castlery, Love, Bonito
‘Free’ (84.4 out of 100) 1st out of 45 countries in Asia Pacific and 1st worldwide out of 186 countries (2021, Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal)
Service Imports (2018)
Service Exports (2018)
Most complex products by PCI Index
Product Complexity Index measures the knowledge intensity of a product by considering the knowledge intensity of its exporters
Most specialised products by RCA Index
Specialisation is measured using Revealed Comparative Advantage, an index that takes the ratio between Singapore observed and expected exports in each product
Export Opportunities by Relatedness
Relatedness measures the distance between a country's current exports and each product, the barchart show only products that Singapore is not specialized in
Top 10 e-commerce sites in Singapore as of third quarter of 2019, by monthly traffic (in million clicks)
Sources: SimilarWeb; iPrice Group
Distribution of e-commerce payment methods in Singapore in 2019
Media main languages Mandarin, Malay and Indian, English
Singapore’s media are highly developed and tightly controlled. There are two major players. Singapore Press Holdings is linked to the ruling party and has a near-monopoly of the press. MediaCorp, owned by a state investment agency, runs TV and radio stations. Both companies have extended their dominance to include online media, says Reuters Institute. Media have incurred harsh criminal penalties for “speech deemed to be seditious, defamatory, or injurious to religious sensitivities”, says Freedom House. Newspapers occasionally publish critical content, although news coverage is generally pro-government. Reporters Without Borders says the range of issues and public figures that are off limits for media coverage is growing and that self-censorship is widespread.
MediaCorp – operates more than a dozen stations including English-language news and talk station 938Live, music stations and Chinese, Malay and Indian services
SPH – operates English-language One FM and Kiss 92, Mandarin station UFM
Media data source: BBC
92% penetration, 5.45 million
Share of web traffic by device
66.81% mobile phones, 30.09% computers (laptops and desktops), 3.09% tablet devices, others 0.01%
Median speed of mobile Internet connection
Median speed of fixed Internet connection
Mobile connection as a percentage of total population
Percentage of mobile connections that are broadband (3G-5G): 99.2%
Most popular web search engines
Google (96.17%), Yahoo (1.82%), Bing (1.26%), Baidu (0.28%), Duckduckgo (0.24%), Ecosia (0.07%)
Most used social media
Facebook (62.56%), Twitter (19.54%), Pinterest (7.59%), Instagram (5.45%), YouTube (3.29%), Tumblr (0.61%)
82.9 yrs (2017)
Average age of the population
42.2 yrs (2020)
4.47% of GDP (2016)
Singapore is home to three main ethnicities: Chinese, Malay and Indian. As in other Asian countries, the concept of “face” – relating to a person’s reputation, influence, dignity and honour – is central to Singaporean culture. “Have you eaten?” is a very common greeting in Singapore: don’t be confused, it’s the equivalent of “How’s it going?”.
Resident population in Singapore as of June 2019, by ethnic group (population in thousands)
Multi-language literacy had become more prevalent
Highest qualification attained
(of residents aged 25 years and over)
Chinese: Literate resident population aged 15 and over by ethnic group and language literate in
Malays: Literate resident population aged 15 and over by ethnic group and language literate in
Indians: Literate resident population aged 15 and over by ethnic group and language literate in
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Languages spoken in Singapore
English as a first language – but it is significant how important the second language is to safeguard asian cultural identities.
Singapore has a bilingual education policy, where all students in government schools are taught English as their first language. Students in Primary and Secondary schools also learn a second language called their “Mother Tongue” by the Ministry of Education, where they are either taught Mandarin, Malay, or Tamil. English is the main language of instruction for most subjects, while Mother Tongue is used in Mother Tongue lessons and moral education classes. This is because Singapore’s “bilingualism” policy of teaching and learning English and Mother Tongue in primary and secondary schools is viewed as a “cultural ballast” to safeguard Asian cultural identities and values against Western influence
Chinese: Proportion of resident population aged 15 and over who spoke English most frequently at home, by ethnic group and highest qualification attained
Malays: Proportion of resident population aged 15 and over who spoke English most frequently at home, by ethnic group and highest qualification attained
Indians: Proportion of resident population aged 15 and over who spoke English most frequently at home, by ethnic group and highest qualification attained
Chinese: Resident population aged five years and over by ethnic group and language most frequently spoken at home
Malays: Resident population aged five years and over by ethnic group and language most frequently spoken at home
Indians: Resident population aged five years and over by ethnic group and language most frequently spoken at home
Non residents in Singapore
In 2019, work-permit holders and foreign domestic workers comprised 56% (or about 941,000) of the 1.68 million non-residents in Singapore. Singapore continues to have a strong demand for low-wage migrant workers, and their numbers will likely remain substantial in the years to come. It is necessary to work resolutely towards enhancing the working and living conditions of migrant workers who suffer deplorable hygiene conditions and overcrowding in the foreign workers’ dormitories. The foreign workers live in Singapore’s dormitories, where 10 to 20 men are often packed into a single room. These utilitarian complexes on the city-state’s periphery have become hives of infection, revealing a blind spot in Singapore’s previously vaunted coronavirus response. As of April 28, these dorms were home to 85% of Singapore’s 14,951 cases.
The term Foreign worker refers to semi-skilled or unskilled immigrants who work primarily in the manufacturing, construction, and domestic services sectors. Most of them come from places such as the People’s Republic of China, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Thailand, under bilateral agreements between Singapore and these countries.
Foreign Talents refers to foreigners with professional qualifications or acceptable degrees who work at the highest end of Singapore’s economy. They mostly come from India, Australia, the Philippines, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Europe, New Zealand and the United States.
Non Residents composition in Singapore
The stability of society is rooted in the confucian mentality and it hinders the improvement of social conditions and the achievement of
Power distance and Individualism Index, Singapore
Chinese and Indian Singaporeans are generally regarded as business-savvy ethnic groups as they tend to be profit-oriented, dominating the political and economic facets of society. The Malay population is often considered to be less economically competitive and more content with making ends meet.
The power distance dimension addresses the fact that all individuals in societies are not equal – it expresses the attitude of the culture towards these social inequalities. Power Distance is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organisations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.
Singapore scores high on this dimension (rating of 74). With a Confucian background (the Chinese), they normally have a syncretic approach to religion, which is also the dominant approach in Singapore. One of the key principles of Confucian teaching is the stability of society, which is based on unequal relationships between people. Confucius distinguished five basic relationships: ruler-subject; father-son; older brother-younger brother; husband-wife; and senior friend-junior friend. These relationships are based on mutual and complementary obligations. Here we can see the high PDI as a consequence.
Power is centralised and managers rely on their bosses and on rules. Employees expect to be told what to do. Control is expected and attitude towards managers is formal. Communication is indirect and the information flow is selective. We can see the high PDI also in the first of the government’s defined five “shared values”: Nation before community and society above self.
Singapore, with a score of 20 is a collectivistic society. This means that the “We factor” is important, people belong to in-groups (families, clans or organisations) who look after each other in exchange for loyalty. Here we can also see the second key principle of the Confucian teaching: The family is the prototype of all social organisations. A person is not primarily an individual; rather, he or she is a member of a family.
The geographical distribution of languages that you will find in the maps published in this section is a work in progress. Our community is helping us to fill it up with always new and updated data. Your contribution is precious. If you want to help us, please write to email@example.com
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