Insights into Southeast Asia Part 1: Singapore

Truth Asia, set up in 2010, has grown with the inclusion of Aaron Chew, and myself, Ervin Ha, as new members of the Truth family. Based out of the Singapore office, Aaron and myself are looking forward to supporting our clients both global and local, forming lasting relationship through strong and brilliant ideas,strategic insight, creative processes and commercially viable solutions.

Having travelled far and wide, and made new friends all around the world, I’ve come to notice that people do know of Asia as a whole, but don’t realise the size of Asia and the regional breaks we have. Being from Singapore, I consider myself to be from Southeast Asia (SEA), very different from North Asia or Central Asia. Made up of 11 very diverse and unique countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Myanmar, Brunei, Laos, and East Timor), SEA currently has a population of over 600 million. 10 of the countries (less East Timor) are part of a geo-political and economic association called ASEAN. With predictions that GDP growth is to increase by 5 times in the next 20 years, the region is considered one of the world’s fastest growing consumer markets.

Over the course of the next few months, I’ll be writing a few post about each of the countries to give you a view of SEA from a Asian perspective. It won’t be an extensive view (I’m not going write a Wikipedia entry), but one that I hope will allow you to see SEA for what it is. Being based in Singapore, I’ll start from here.

Let’s start with what I hear the most often when I mention I’m from Singapore. Singapore is not, and has never been part of China, or under China’s administration. In the early days, Singapore was part of Malaysia, under the ruler-ship of the Sultanate of Johor. In 1918, modern Singapore was founded by Sir Stanford Raffles of the British East India Company and came under the protectorate of the British empire. As a natural deep harbor and it’s location at the tip of the Malayan peninsular, ships traveling to and from the Far East needed to pass the country and often docked for resupplies or to transfer their cargo. This made Singapore a strategic port for the British and a major trading hub for the region. Immigrants from China flooded into Singapore to find work, as did other nationalities and ethnic groups, from India and Malaysia among others. As a result, Singapore became a cultural melting pot.

Today, the port and our harbour still play a significant part in the economy of Singapore. The traditional warehouses and docks along the Singapore River have now been converted into modern office buildings, bars, and alfresco restaurants, and the river no longer flows directly into the sea, but acts as a fresh water catchment area for the storm drains to empty into, creating Singapore’s 15th reservoir in the heart of the city. The modern ports have been relocated along the southern shore of the island, and run 24/7 with ships from across the globe docking, loading and unloading. As a hub for international trade and investments, Singapore acts as a gateway to the South East Asia region.

Truth Asia is here to assist our clients in understanding the Asian consumer from our regional seat here in Singapore. With a team strong team of globe-trotting consultants, we look at the market through our Asian lenses, translate what’s going on here to the global stage, and bring our international clients fresh insights that help them grow their brand in Asia.

Drop us an email and we’ll be help to assist you with your strategic research and insight needs here in Asia. Contact us at: