1. Countries trade because there are some things they do well that other countries do not, while the inverse is also true. If a country is especially good at producing bananas or sugar because of their climate and infrastructure, and another country is good at making cars because of their special knowledge of manufacturing processes, then it might make sense for the two sides to come to some agreement on the issue of trade. Countries trade because it can help to make them both more efficient in their processes if they are able to team up with other countries in order to meet the overall consumption needs of the public. Countries understand that they are able to exploit their own scarce resources in order to cultivate a surplus. This is a good thing for them because they can then sell that surplus for something that they need. While some of the needs of trading companies is about efficiency, other needs are necessities. If a company absolutely cannot produce some good that it absolutely has to have, then it is in a position where it must trade. A good example of this is with countries that cannot produce or find their own oil. These countries still need to power their militaries, and their citizens still need to get around. They are in a position of necessity, where they have to trade in order to keep the country afloat and meet the needs of the people.
There are a few ways to measure international trade. One of the ways to measure trade is through imports and exports. When people speak a trade balance, they are talking about the amount of stuff a country imports versus what it exports. If a company is exporting more than it imports, that country is said to have a positive trade balance, while the inverse would be a negative trade balance.
2. When it comes to the culture in Singapore, there are many things that one must think about. The business culture depends heavily on the family. Family is the center of the social world in Singapore, and loyalty can matter significantly. If one wants to do business within Singapore, then one must understand family and not step on any toes when it comes to the different relationships with family members. There are often times when business people will value their family members and the concept of loyalty over pure profit, so companies looking to do business must ensure that they are aware of this possibility.
Singapore is what is known as a high context culture when it comes to communication. This means that much of what is communicated is not said with words. Rather, it is said with a person’s facial expressions and his or her posture. This means that getting close to people and seeing their expressions is a major part of the process for people in Singapore. There are significant boundaries between people that must be respected. While touch is an important part of the culture—there are handshake customs and traditions that must be respected, there is no expectation that people will make contact with one another’s faces. Maintaining appropriate personal space in all settings is critical. Singaporeans also like to be reserved in nature. They take silence seriously and are very intentional with their responses to one another.
Time is critical in this society. People in Singapore have a combination of Eastern and Western business values. They value being on time because of the corporate nature of the place, and because of the importance than Western society puts on timeliness for people engaged in business relations.
- Chan, Kwok Bun, and Chee Kiong Tong. “Singaporean Chinese doing business in China.” Chinese Business. Springer Singapore, 2014. 119-129.
- Warner, Malcolm. Culture and management in Asia. Routledge, 2014.
- Yeo, Su Lin, and Augustine Pang. “Asian multiculturalism in communication: Impact of culture in the practice of public relations in Singapore.” Public Relations Review (2016).