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Soft Power 30 Global Report names Singapore the world’s best performer for enterprise for the third consecutive year

Soft Power 30 Global Report names Singapore the world’s best performer for enterprise for the third consecutive year

The Soft
Power 30
index, initially launched in 2015, is a global ranking
report that measures a country’s soft power via objective data on six
categories, such as government and culture, and international polling on seven
other indicators. It was produced by communications consultancy Portland in
partnership with the University of Southern California Center on Public
Diplomacy.

Singapore placed
21st among 30 countries in terms of soft power yesterday in the annual
ranking report. Singapore received an overall score of 62.44.

Among the categories,
Singapore was the best performer for enterprise for the third consecutive year.
The report’s Enterprise sub-index seeks to capture the appeal
of a country’s business model, its capacity for innovation, and regulatory
framework. Singapore topped the sub-index for the third year in a row,
maintaining its lead on close competitor,
Switzerland, which ranks second. This is an impressive feat for the city-state and often attributed to its economic
competitiveness and favourable business
environment. With one of the lowest rates of corruption and a highly skilled workforce,
it is no surprise that both global giants and start-ups choose to set up their Asian
headquarters, as well as R&D facilities in Singapore. That being said,
Singapore also performs well in metrics for innovation
and posts the highest proportion of high-tech exports.

Singapore also rose to
the seventh position in the digital
category, which assesses various metrics such as a country’s digital
connectivity. In The Asia Soft Power 10 section of the
report, Singapore places 3rd after Japan (1st) and South
Korea (2nd). The report highlights that in the past year Singapore
has improved performances in the Engagement and Culture sub-indices and stated that, even though Singapore has slipped one place, it needn’t be too concerned.

Singapore, a high-tech city-state continues
to top the Enterprise sub-index and is
widely considered the Asian financial hub of choice due to its favourable business conditions, rule of law,
and innovation-fostering environment.

The report shows that Singapore has also performed
well in the Digital sub-index, helped by its excellent digital infrastructure,
efficient government online services, and “Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s
savvy use of social media”. The
country, however, was ranked lower in the other categories of government
(23rd), education (23rd), engagement (30th) and culture (28th). According to
the report, Singapore’s small size presents itself as a
limiting factor, hindering its ability to
perform in the Engagement and Culture sub-indices, making its use of digital
diplomacy even more important. However, with Singapore having taken over the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN this
year, it has “leveraged its digital expertise to great effect, launching the
ASEAN Smart Cities Network, and highlighting its role in bringing prosperity
and stability to the region”. The ASEAN chairmanship has
given Singapore the unique opportunity to shape its international role in
bringing prosperity and stability to the region, and it should ensure that its
diplomatic efforts are matched by digital efforts.

Singapore’s extensive
efforts to showcase the young nation’s diverse cultural offering have yet to be
reflected in the international polling. Moreover, its diplomatic footprint
remains small, again, the report places specific emphasis on the need for the
country to employ more emphatic digital diplomacy strategies.  

“Building on the
momentum of the Singapore Summit and the ASEAN chairmanship, Singapore should
leverage its reputation as a trusted and effective government to establish its
role as a neutral and fair arbiter,” it said. 

Describing Singapore
as an "inspiring example" of how small countries can “carry
global influence through attraction and persuasion”, Mr Jonathan
McClory, Portland’s general manager for Asia and author of the report, said:
“Amidst a shifting geopolitical landscape, Singapore has
real opportunities ahead to elevate its profile in international diplomacy
and global affairs.” 

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