Case | HBS Case Collection | March 1993 (Revised April 1995)

Singapore

by Forest L. Reinhardt and Edward Prewitt

Abstract

Since winning independence in 1965, Singapore achieved some of the world's highest rates of economic growth. A large part of GDP and employment came from direct investment by multinational companies in low-cost assembly work, but in the 1990s Singapore's rising wage rates increasingly priced it out of these industries. Could Singapore change itself from an assembler and fabricator of Western-designed parts to a designer and marketer of desirable products? Lee Kuan Yew, "the father of Singapore," repeatedly had shown an ability to guide the nation through such transitions. Not only did his successor have no such track record, but the next transition might be the hardest yet.

Keywords: Transition; Decision Choices and Conditions; Development Economics; Economic Growth; Foreign Direct Investment; Multinational Firms and Management; Employment; Wages; Singapore;

Citation:

Reinhardt, Forest L., and Edward Prewitt. "Singapore." Harvard Business School Case 793-096, March 1993. (Revised April 1995.)