The emergence of Singapore as the heart of Asia’s economy has come with many challenges. From its days as a small and underdeveloped nation, Singapore has emerged from the tumultuous financial, social and political changes over the years to transform into the first-world metropolis that it is today.


As a result, the country remained unaffected in the throes of a subsequent economic global recessionin the 1970s.

Singapore's Economy In The 70s

By this decade, industrial development was surging ahead as EDB marketed Singapore to be a quick operations start-up location where factories were built in advance of demand and a highly skilled workforce was readily available.

Singapore's manufacturing industry evolved to become more sophisticated and included computer parts, peripherals, software packages and silicon wafers.

To push Singapore’s agenda as a business hub, more EDB offices were set up in Europe, USA and Asia. During this period, Texas Instruments rolled out a production line in just 50 days after committing $6 million to make semiconductors and integrated circuits for export to world markets. This major investment, which EDB secured in under six months, heralded the start of Singapore’s electronics industry.

To balance the opening of new EDB overseas centres in Zurich, Paris, Osaka and Houston between 1971 and 1976, a Manpower and Training Unit was established locally to focus on industrial training.  The Overseas Training Programme and Joint Government Training Centres with Tata of India, Philips of Holland and Rollei of Germany were also drawn up to place young Singaporean workers in apprenticeship programmes for the exchange of knowledge and skills. This unique partnership approach to workforce training was the first of its kind and a significant step forward in Singapore’s investment promotion programme.

Although the world recession in 1975 slowed progress slightly, the city’s economy remained nimble and flexible as EDB pushed for more industrial projects and manufacturing eventually became the largest sector in the economy surpassing trade.


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