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tv   This Is America With Dennis Wholey  WHUT  October 23, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT

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>> recently, we traveled to the republic of singapore, they small, culturally diverse and highly successful city state. in less than 50 years, singapore has transformed itself into one of the most dynamic and productive countries in southeast asia. with limited resources but and openness to innovation, the government has helped to make singapore an ideal place to live, work, and play. "this is america" visits the republic of singapore. "this is america"is made
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possible by -- >> singapore is one of the most
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important countries in the world today. it is not only location, location, location, but it is ae english-speaking c wountryith a solid infrastructure. on this program, we will find out why singapore is key to doing business in the region, and why asia is so important to america's trade policy. whether you are shopping on orchard road, the fifth avenue of singapore, or you are downtown at lunchtime, he cannot help but notice the multinational companies, especially american, which are here. we spoke with michael zink, head of citi singapore. >> singapore is a must for citi? >> critical. we have 9700 employees here in singapore. we are the largest employer in financial-services in singapore. we employ more people here that
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even the big domestic banks because we have a collection of businesses. big businesses domestically, corporate banking, private banking. our consumer bank has 1000 outstanding credit cards. on top of these domestic businesses, we have regional businesses that serve all of asia. our global markets which would be for a change coming interest- rate derivatives, commodities businesses, based here in singapore. a lot of these services are for multinational clients. private banking for asia. this is the part of the world generating more millionaires than anywhere else today. finally, we also have one of our most important centers of excellence for our technologies and processing. i am sure you understand today the world is digitizing. our business is digitizing more
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quickly than most. the ability to process transactions, protect data, is critical to finance services. our main data center and main processing center serves about 45 countries, so it is more than just asia. >> you have three core businesses. corporate, multinationals, personal banks. atms all over the place. then there is this other area and which is a bit over my head. you are a bank as well. that has a different connotation than just going to the teller and making a deposit or withdrawal. >> that is right. there are two big streams financing this economic growth, financing corp., governments, that are putting together the infrastructure that is allowing the economy to grow. that is a lot of what we do in
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corporate and investment banking. as asia become wealthy, there is more wealth to manage. wealth management is the other key stream for us. >> what is next for citi as we head for the finish line here in singapore, and in asia? >> asia is the single most important region for us today. it generates one-third of our global business. again, let us be careful -- every region in the world is important to us. but our position in asia reflects its positioning in the global economy. one of the beliefs is that the center of gravity for the global economy -- the global economy's center of gravity is shifting this way. it does not mean that the u.s. and europe are less important than ever, but with growth rates in asia so much higher, the
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percentage of the global economy based in asia will rise. the u.s. grows at 3%, asia at 6%. it is arithmetic. as that center of gravity shifts this way, there is more trade, derivatives, economic flows, greater mass of wealth to manage. our business needs to grow in line with that. asia is already important to our presence and deeply rooted in our past. >> singapore, a good place to do business, good place to work? >> singapore is as fine a place to do business as anywhere in the world. that is known exaggeration. it is a secure place. the infrastructure is first- class. the policy makers are forward- looking and they understand the business. it has a great lifestyle, wonderful weather, schools. it is an urban center that has
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been carefully planned. it is a lovely place to live, a great place to work. singapore has built all of this in one-and-a-half generations. if you go back to singapore on the day that i was born in the 1950's, singapore was not even independent. today, they are a power house. singapore is not an emerging market. singapore is a financial- services center as sophisticated -- hand on heart -- as new york or london. has the regulatory framework, the collection of talent, processing capabilities, platforms, all the infrastructure, all the software to match toto with the best financial centers in the world. that may come as a surprise to people at home. that does not mean that the financial centers in new york and london are about to disappear. that is just not true. it just means one more
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competitor has risen up. and that is part of the story of asia. fast economic growth that has translated into better quality of life for hundreds of millions of people, sustainable economic growth, and a sophistication that is not fully visible to everyone in what we used to describe as the west. >> one of the biggest projects in singapore ever in size, scope, investment, and construction is the marina bay sands integrated resort. it is a city within a city and its dramatic presence leaves visitors speechless. it is all here. hotel, mall, casino, and use the notes -- museum, restaurants, and even sky park. people were told to come for the weekend and never leave. we spoke with the ceo of marina bay sands. >> i think, singapore, with its
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new leadership that has come into power in the past few years has taken the view of the future. no country does a better job of planning for the future or positioning itself to be competitive. part of the key to singapore's success is to be nimble and recognize the environment is changing, and therefore, singapore needs to change as well. >> the sans came to the government, came to singapore? >> back in 2004, 2005, singapore was considered the opportunity to open and to integrate operators. we had developed a position in macao. we opened up in 2004 and had engaged in an ambitious about the plan there. when the opportunity came for this came up, we fought for that
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and were successful. as a result, we were able to develop the marina bay sands resort here in downtown singapore. as you can see, we are in the midst of the central business district but also situated next to all of this emerging hospitality and tourism infrastructure. given we have the day on one side and the new gardens on the other side, the view of our property will never be blocked. we felt like it needed to be significant. we feel like our architects created something that will last for a long time. >> so you have three columns, towers? three hotel towers withky skype park on top. we are going to talk about each one of those. -- sky park on top. how many people were involved in the building? how did the building work?
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largest singapore's private-sector development project in history, in terms of its size and investment. with something that big, we had to divided up into separate pieces of work. we did not have a single general contractor. we had about 350 construction management people that were part of our team that managed this team of contractors that we employed. but we carve it up into different sized pieces. the biggest contract was $1 billion. that went to a korean construction company. they build our three hotel towers. a lot of great companies involved. at our peak during the construction phase, 15,000, 16,000 laborers on site. it is almost a miniature city on our piece of land. tremendous logistics challenges, the sight conditions were difficult, given it was reclaimed land, marine soil.
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it was really quite an accomplishment to get this thing open, the first phase, in a little over than three years. >> do i recall correctly, 57 hours? >> the hotel is 55 stories. then you have space between the top of the hotel and the bottom of the sky park. on top of that, -- it is essentially the height of 60 stories in the air. spectacular views of their. you look in one direction, you can see the sea. in the other direction, the marina bay and skyline. it is really dropping. >> i read somewhere it was a $7 billion investment. >> we are probably about 5.7
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billion u.s. dollars. it makes it the most expensive pier tourism development in the world. >> modern business needs cutting edge technology and an infrastructure that is always ahead of its time. singapore is clearly built for progress. >> we have got a very pragmatic, efficient, and if i might say, clean government, which has tremendous foresight, the long term in its planning, excellent vision. perhaps able to see things in the future that other countries in asia were not able to see. one example is in financial services. they said place infrastructure for singapore to do very well. we are the fourth largest exchange traded location in the world. $250 million of trading going on every day in singapore.
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we are one of the largest fund manager centers in asia. more than $1 trillion being managed. we have the busiest port in the world. remember, singapore was a country with nothing. we had no resources. everything that you see today was built through sound government policies and through a considered effort to make sure everything works. >> is infocomm and made of word? >> it is the joining of two words, information and communication. >> is the country wired? >> we are in the process of entirely wiring up to the last mile. that means providing fiber optic to every home and business. today, we have 70% covered. >> the country has really made a commitment, as far as building an incredible infrastructure, to
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support business. that is why singapore is such an important business hub? >> yes. for us, looking at singapore as a hub, being connected, we need to be highly connected with in singapore. for many of the businesses, doing business with the rest of the world and being able to provide services is also a question of high speed connectivity. >> how does that show up, as far as day to day or the average citizen, as far as businesses are concerned? >> infocomm will become a fundamental and underlying technology. for the ordinary man on the street, they have smartphones. behind every transmitter will be
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fiber, so we have high speed connectivity. even at home when we have broadband access, that would be fiber. for businesses, more would be connected in the world with high-speed access. a lot more services going through the internet. therefore, underlying this will be very high speed connectivity. >> what would you say are the pillars of the success of the economy? >> we started off as a trading country. trade is very much at the core of our economy. even over the years, as trade diminished in importance, it is still able to maintain, together with transport, about a quarter of the economy. then we diversified into manufacturing, managed to maintain manufacturing,
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contributing to the economy. another quarter is provided by financial services and business services. the other 25% would be miscellaneous services. health care, education, construction, tourism, information technology, and government services. >> do you have a sense of how many multinational companies are based here? >> the numbers vary. the traditional numbers that we have for the multinational companies from the u.s., europe, around seven bows and to 10,000 -- 7000 to 10,000. >> the work force is very diverse here. we have locals, at expatriates here, people that have emigrated from other countries. how does that all gel?
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singaporeans are famous for saying that the people are the natural resource. >> first of all, singaporeans, we tried to allow them to reach their potential through education but there is never enough of us. we are not reproducing enough. therefore, there is a shortage of workers, people. so we adopted an open-door policy to allow foreign talent and foreign workers who can contribute to the economy and to life in singapore, to come and work. they get a wide diversity of people and talents working in singapore. >> do you think singapore is a good place to work? >> i think so. the fact that we have so many foreign talent, foreign workers in singapore shows that our open-door policy works for us, and for them too.
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>> at the top of the conversation, you alluded to imports, exports, manufacturing, specifically. what is manufactured here that is exported abroad? >> you know we are very small. our manufacturing needs to be very focused. we concentrate on a few sectors. traditionally, we have been competitive in the electronics sector and the precision engineering sector. that constitutes 10% of our gdp. we have also built up singapore as oil refining. from there we progress into petrochemical, and now downstream, specialty chemicals. in 2000, we decidil tbuo d on s the pharmaceutical, by medical sector. that contributed another 5% to gdp. we have also been successful, because of our location, to build up ourselves as a
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transport ohub. shipbuilding, building of rigs, repair, overhaul of aircraft. we are capitalizing on our location. and of course, we have general manufacturing that caters to local needs. >> what is the nature of the relationship with the united states? how important is that? >> the u.s. is very important to us. in the past, the u.s. has been our second trading partner to singapore. in the u.s., you might be surprised, we are your 10th largest export market. we think we are also significant to your exporters. the u.s. is very important to us, in terms of investment.
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one of the biggest investors in singapore. if you drive around singapore, you see the presence of many familiar u.s. names. >> what is your biggest challenge? >> my biggest challenge is to create good, solid job for singaporeans. that means we need to bring in investment. the economy is always restructuring. some parts of the economy would become uncompetitive over time, so you would need new sectors to be built up, creating new jobs. and the workers to take on these new jobs. not just workers who are starting in plummet after school, but also training of existing workers in a new career as jobs are restructured. they need to be trained for the new jobs available. that is a constant challenge for us.
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the average person will change jobs six times in their career. he need to help them make those adjustments. >> asia is now recognized as the no. 1 business targets for u.s. companies abroad. we spoke with cynthia owens of the american chamber of commerce in singapore to learn why amgen is critical to u.s. business, and how it works in singapore and asia. >> the american chamber of commerce has been here for 38 years. we have seven members that are members of the largest american companies, as well as smaller ones that are based here. we have about 4500 members. we represent business in singapore also business in the region. so many of our members have regional responsibilities across asia pacific. >> give us a range of the businesses, some of the names we might know, some that we may not know? >> it will be the big company
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that you have heard of, citibank, american express, ibm, cisco systems, the biggest companies you hear about in the u.s., but it is also small companies that do a variety of things. there is a company here that imports parts from small technology companies in the u.s. to be distributed throughout asia for different technology makers. it is a whole range, as well as people -- and there are many americans that have come here to start their own companies. >> how does this help u.s. companies function here? >> our goal is to work on a couple of levels. a couple of years ago we pushed through the free trade agreement between singapore and the united states, which has been helpful for u.s. companies. whenever there are big regulation things, anything that could be on trader tax policy, or it could be up on treating
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new schools in singapore so that american families, when they come here, have a school that they want to send their children to. >> you mentioned the singapore- u.s. fta agreement. the big issue is people are afraid that the jobs will go overseas. opening up a market for free trade agreement can actually sell more goods, make it easier to create more jobs at home, because you are going to sell in a different way abroad. could you address that? >> that has been our experience with the singapore free trade. as increased trade between the two. it is hard with such a small economy to say that it has created jobs anywhere. >> but it is a market. >> indeed. what we found is, suddenly as an american, you could buy things there that you could not before. most of our companies are in complete support of these fta's
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and opening up trade. trade is the future. we are a globalized world. you know that here more than almost anywhere else. without trade, we are not going to be a part of that. >> special thanks to the staff at the fullerton hotel and the embassy of singapore in washington. for information about my new book "the chance of a lifetime" and online video for all "this is america"programs, visit our
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