Singapore tops Asia in returns per capita from infrastructure, buildings

A view of the Marina Bay area against the Central Business District skyline.
A view of the Marina Bay area against the Central Business District skyline. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Singapore tops the list of having the highest built-asset income per person in Asia, in the latest Global Built Asset Performance Index - an alternative indicator to measure a country's economic performance.

Singapore generated the income at US$35,900 (S$51,100) per capita, followed by Hong Kong at US$21,400, according to a release on Monday by Arcadis, a global design and consulting firm. Japan, Malaysia and South Korea rounded up the top five in the index designed to better understand how built assets can power more growth to economies and contribute to stronger, sustainable performance, Arcadis said in a release.

The study examines the income generated by buildings and infrastructure such as schools, roads, airports, power plants and other fixed assets, across 36 countries that collectively represent 78 per cent of global gross domestic product.

For Singapore, high savings rates were channelled into productive investments that created a manufacturing hub and steadily moved up the value chain.

"Today, Singapore competes in some of the most high-value knowledge industries, so reliance on built assets is slightly reduced, though it retains some of its high-tech manufacturing," Arcadis said.

Other South-east Asian countries in the list include Thailand, China, Indonesia, the Philippines and India.