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Singapore as an innovative city in East Asia : an explorative study of the perspectives of innovative industries

  • Poh Kam Wong
  • Yuen Ping Ho
  • Singh, Annette

The city-state of Singapore has achieved rapid economic development in the past by its positioning as an efficient business hub in Asia. To remain competitive in the global knowledge economy, however, Singapore needs to move beyond efficiency by developing a strong"innovative"edge as well. This paper examines the challenges that Singapore faces in seeking to do so through an explorative survey of 40 firms from three innovative sectors: high-tech manufacturing industries, knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS), and creative content industries. Overall, while the survey confirms Singapore's continuing competitive strength in efficiency infrastructure, it also finds a favorable perception of Singapore as an innovative city. Indeed, many of the industry actors indicated that an efficient business infrastructure is a prerequisite for locating their innovative activities in Singapore, suggesting that the relationship between innovation and efficiency is complementary, rather than substitutional. While the study found that intellectual property and its protection are widely recognized by actors in all three sectors, interesting differences exist. In particular, intellectual property protection appears to be of greater concern to the high-tech research and development-intensive manufacturing sector and the creative contents sector than to the KIBS sector. Another interesting difference is that while competition in high-tech innovation tends to be global, competition in creative content tends to have a stronger local or regional dimension. Public policy in East Asia has traditionally emphasized the development of technological innovation capabilities in the manufacturing sector. In light of the findings, public policymakers may need to be more sensitive to the nuanced differences in policies needed to promote the new creative content industries and the associated supporting KIBS.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3568.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3568
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  1. Muller, Emmanuel & Zenker, Andrea, 2001. "Business services as actors of knowledge transformation: the role of KIBS in regional and national innovation systems," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1501-1516, December.
  2. Shahid Yusuf, 2003. "Innovative East Asia : The Future of Growth," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15158.
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