Eric Wang left Shenzhen for Singapore about a year ago to further his studies, but at times, he wished he had not.Since then, foreign schools from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia have been setting up campuses there, competing head-on with private schools in Singapore for Chinese students.
When China joined the World Trade Organisation in 2001, it had to relax protectionist measures on its domestic education market.
Singapore's "Education Hub" strategy is to attract students overseas, especially from China and India to study here.
It is like running a business with your rival manning and controlling your door. You have no control over the flow of your customers. That is what you get when you fail to develop your domestic market.
So will this happen to our 'Medical Hub' strategy? or our 'Casino' strategy.
Admits Tan of Parkway group: "Prices in Thailand are substantially cheaper than in Singapore." But she declares defiantly, "Singapore is where people come for the best medical care in Asia — no matter what the price."People are choosing Thailand over Singapore for lasik and other surgery.
Yeah, people come regardless of price to Singapore. You know what type of people?
Arabs with rich with oil money. But will this strategy sustian?
Thailand is not exactly a country with third-world standard hospitals. It is considered as good as ours. It's a matter of time before the Arab medical tourist flock to another cheaper country.
Even before the casino is built, we are already thinking of ways to stop Singaporeans from coming into the Casino. That is not a good business strategy.
For all other hubs Singapore is planning, we may see the repeat of what happened to our 'Education Hub'.