The 2017 financial year so far
20 July 2017

After a challenging 2016, Singapore businesses have had cause to celebrate this year, with GDP expected to rise to 2.7%i.  In addition, despite a weak outlook on overall profitability, SMEs are expressing raised optimism about the next six monthsii. Here’s a closer look at some promising sectors in the second half of 2017.



e-Commerce continues to eat into brick-and-mortar revenue, reinventing the entire retail sector. A CNBC report uncovered that “[r]etail rents in Singapore have already dropped sharply, while vacancies have risen”iii, with the rise of more affordable, manageable online platforms giving retailers a more affordable alternative.

Despite the drop in physical stores, the retail industry still has much to look forward to, as “investors are still eyeing the city-state.”

Given that much of this investment is funnelled into e-Commerce, with local online platforms like Reebonz garnering $40 million in fundingiv, setting up an online business would be a savvy choice for potential, and even existing retailers.



In the manufacturing sector, local output jumped to 5% in May 2017, rising for the 10th consecutive monthv. The industry is even slated to be a primary driver in Singapore’s economic growth, with its shift towards advanced manufacturing systems like 3D printing and smart technology proving fruitful.


It’s clear that if the manufacturing industry continues to ride the Industry 4.0 wave, there will be much growth and expansion to look forward to.

Building and Construction


Although promising, the construction sector requires a fresh perspective, and updated infrastructure to stay profitable. As Second Minister for National Development and Home Affairs Desmond Lee notes, “[t]he push for technology in the building and construction sector may cause some companies to shut down or consolidate if they do not keep pace”. He advises SMEs to stay competitive, saying

“Transformation is not only for big firms, we want everyone to be progressive.”

Building Information Modelling and cloud solutions rank among the new technological developments savvy construction businesses are tapping on. The latest in BIM technology facilitates the process by enabling collaboration throughout an entire building’s lifecycle, from design to construction. This allows every project member to note changes in real time, and even visualise and predict building faults before they happen, saving time, money and labour. 

UOB’s quarterly report cautions that “uncertainties to growth remain due to the upcoming elections in several European countries as it may fuel further … anti-trade sentiments which will be a strong negative for Singapore’s trade-dependent economy. Additionally, policy surprises from the new US administration could add on to the cautious consumer and business sentiments, further constraining … consumption and business investments.”vii


However, with the measures put in place by Budget 2017, like the SMEs Go Digital Programme and the International Partnership Fundviii, businesses can be assured of government support, and steady growth.


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