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The Lure Of Singapore: Chinese Flock To ‘Asia’s Switzerland’

Geopolitical tension has increased the city-state’s attraction as a financial outpost and safe haven. But can it maintain its neutrality?

Chinese individuals, their families, their companies, and their advisers, according to a wide range of bankers, lawyers, accountants, and investors interviewed by the Financial Times, now see Singapore as the vessel that can navigate them through a series of expected storms. At the same time, they add, it is becoming an increasingly vital place for outposts of Wall Street and the global financial industry to interact with them. For many years, Singapore has liked to sell itself as the Switzerland of Asia.

The new cold war, says one former top official, is finally turning that pitch into a reality. The big question, though, is how far Singapore will tolerate being Switzerland with Chinese characteristics.

“This is a dramatic, epochal realignment of wealth in Asia. Capital moves as quickly as it can to the safest destinations with the highest rate of return. In Asia, that place is increasingly Singapore,” says Drew Thompson, visiting fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.

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