Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry what is the impact to local businesses especially SMEs of Singaporeans and permanent residents shopping in Malaysia and Johore in particular.
Oral Answer (to be attributed to Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Mr Chee Hong Tat)
- The Government does not have data on overseas spending by Singaporeans and permanent residents.
- Singapore retailers face competition not just from shops in Malaysia, but also from other countries due to online shopping and more convenient air connections. This increases competition for local businesses, but it benefits Singapore consumers.
- Competition is a two-way street. Our businesses can also draw customers from overseas by offering greater value, higher quality products, or better service levels. Indeed, tourist spending on shopping in Singapore has grown by 4% from 2016 to 2017.
- Some of our SMEs have developed creative marketing strategies. For example, home grown furniture brand Commune has a retail experience centre at Defu Lane that enhances the shopping experience of its customers. The retail experience centre's 3D floor planner and virtual reality simulation allow customers to recreate their homes and visualise Commune's furniture within their spaces.
- The Singapore economy has thrived because of competition. It drives us to improve our capabilities and up our game, including expanding our international presence and exporting our products and services to overseas markets.