David_M - 8:20 am on Aug 31, 2010 (gmt 0)
My experience in singapore:
# good infrastructure - yes, modern subway, clean drinking water. They plan everything out years in advance. Think sim city. English is an official language, used in business and politics. All signs, govt paperwork, banks etc.. have english. Most people speak it well. They spray for mosquitoes frequently to prevent malaria, dengue fever outbreaks.
# scenic beauty - they made the island "green" with lots of trees, some nice parks, but most people travel to relax. Thailand is about a $100 RT ticket.
# low cost of living - food can be cheap or expensive. eat at local places and its less than $5 a meal. Eat at expat places and it'll run you $30. Beers similar $4 at local center, $10 at expat area. Housing is what is expensive- my flat in a condo (pool,gym) is a 2br+1study thats about $2300 a month. Most people share. Subway and buses are cheap. Taxis are pretty cheap too.
# pleasant weather (no extreme climates) - hot, rains a few times a week for a few hours. Tropics.
# low or average taxes - 0%-20% on corp, 4%-20% on personal. No capital gains tax. They make up for this with VAT of 7%, sin taxes on beer/tobacco, and hidden taxes like TV license.
# fast internet access - generally decent internet, i have a 15mbs plan, although i seldom get that speed, sometimes drops to 2. They are working on getting islandwide wifi, right now its in many hotspots.
# political stability (no dictators and preferably non-nuclear) - very stable, not much decent... Surrounded by countries with less stability.
# easy entry for immigrants - goes through cycles. When i came it wasn't difficult to get a visa for starting a business. They've tightened up since then.
# friendly people (no racism) - yes, multi-cultural society. Very used to foreigners. I'm sure there's some animosity towards foreigners taking jobs etc.. but not common.
# a stable currency - yes, has gained a lot of strength over the past year. Went from 1.55 to 1.35 in about 18 mos.
# little or no red tape - very straight forward visa and business start up procedures, all in english. Banks are a little bit of a hassle but not too bad. I found the govt better than the banks!
# business friendly atmosphere - yes. Main group is chinese decedents, very business focused. Lots of people in IT. Its the asia HQ for many multinationals. Local businesses level of service could use a little improvement.
# access to free or low-cost healthcare - low cost relative to the US. They also have medical tourism if you wanna spend more.