Edited by Sanjaya Lall and Shujiro Urata
Chapter 8: From using to creating technology: the evolution of Singapore's national innovation system and the changing role of public policy
8. From using to creating technology: the evolution of Singapore’s national innovation system and the changing role of public policy Poh Kam Wong 1. INTRODUCTION Singapore has achieved impressive economic growth since independence in 1965 (Table 8.1). In 1999, and despite the impact of the Asian ﬁnancial crisis, Singapore’s per capita GNP stood, on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, at over US$27000. This was the highest in Asia, even including Japan, and globally came behind only Luxembourg, the USA and Switzerland (World Bank, 2000). In 1965, Singapore’s PPP-adjusted per capita income was less than 16 per cent of that of the USA; as recently as 1980, it was still less than 50 per cent (Wong, 2001a). The rapid economic expansion of Singapore was achieved through continuous industrial re-structuring and upgrading (Wong, 2001a). In the ﬁrst decade after independence, growth was led largely by labour-intensive manufacturing. In the two subsequent decades it was propelled by the rapid technological upgrading of manufacturing. The development of Singapore into an increasingly important business, ﬁnancial, transport and communications services hub in the Asia-Paciﬁc region provided additional engines of growth (Table 8.2). Nevertheless, manufacturing has remained important to the economy, with its share of GDP remaining above 25 per cent for most years in the last two decades. As in Korea and Taiwan, the growing technology intensity of Singaporean industry was supported by signiﬁcant government initiatives in technical manpower development and infrastructure investment. The Singapore government was also a lead user of...
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