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Weekly Business Brief | 2019 Week 34

Wrapping up the week's business news and announcements.

SBO Singapore Weekly Business Brief
Published:   |   Updated:   |   Posted in

Singapore continues to attract investments despite global economic headwinds

Economists said the strong FAI numbers for 2019 thus far indicate how the country remains an attractive place for MNCs.

Despite trade tensions and other global uncertainties slowing down the economy to levels last seen a decade ago, investments into the country seem to have held steady so far.

Singapore attracted almost S$8.1 billion in fixed asset investment (FAI) commitments during the first six months of 2019, according to figures from the Economic Development Board (EDB) released as part of the second-quarter economic report last week.

In fact, the overall investment figure already falls within the EDB’s full-year forecast of S$8 billion to S$10 billion.

By comparison, the country saw FAI commitments of S$5.3 billion during the same period last year.

Economists said the strong FAI numbers for 2019 thus far indicate how the country remains an attractive place for global multinational corporations (MNCs).

This includes reasons such as Singapore having a stable political and business-friendly environment, well-developed infrastructure and connectivity, as well as a skilled workforce.

These factors have grown in importance for businesses amid bubbling trade tensions and other risks that threaten to derail an already-fragile global economy.

Read more in this Channel NewsAsia report.

Businesses can now apply for trademark protection on IPOS mobile app

IPOS said applicants can also track their registration status, be notified of updates, or file for trademark renewals via the app.

Called IPOS Go, the app will make it faster to apply for a trademark, IPOS said on Wednesday (Aug 21).

Firms will take less than 10 minutes to apply for a trademark, down from the 45-minute to hour-long average, IPOS added.

The app is an additional option for businesses who want to file their trademarks, on top of other platforms such as IPOS’ e-services website and third party agencies.

IPOS said applicants can also track their registration status, be notified of updates, or file for trademark renewals via the app.

The app also uses artificial intelligence to search for similar trademarks on the IPOS register, stopping applicants from filing for trademarks that are too similar to existing ones, IPOS said.

Read more in this Straits Times report.

NDR 2019: New retirement, re-employment ages of 65 and 70 by 2030; higher CPF contributions for older workers

Mr Lee said businesses can expect a “support package” to help them adjust to the changes in the retirement age, re-employment age and CPF contribution rates.

Singapore will raise the retirement age and re-employment age to 65 and 70 respectively by 2030, alongside increases in the Central Provident Fund (CPF) contribution rates for older workers.

This, announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday (Aug 18), comes after the Government accepted “in full” the recommendations put forward by a tripartite workgroup studying the country’s ageing workforce.

The retirement age, which is currently at 62, will go up to 63 in 2022 before being raised further to 65 by 2030.

Similarly, the re-employment age of 67 will go up to 68 in three years’ time, and then to 70 by 2030.

Those born on or after Jul 1, 1960, will benefit from the higher retirement age of 63 in 2022, while the first tweak in the re-employment age to 68 will apply to those born on or after Jul 1, 1955, according to the Ministry of Manpower.

CPF contribution rates will also be raised for workers above the age of 55, announced Mr Lee.

Currently, the total CPF contribution rate is 37 per cent for workers up to 55 years old. It drops progressively as the age band increases – 26 per cent for workers aged 55 to 60, 16.5 per cent for those aged 60 to 65, and 12.5 per cent for those above 65.

Mr Lee said businesses can expect a “support package” to help them adjust to the changes in the retirement age, re-employment age and CPF contribution rates.

Read more in this Channel NewsAsia report.


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