Is Singapore losing its reputation for being the start-ups mecca?

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For aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators who would want to take a shot at launching their start-ups, Singapore may not be the best place, at least according to the man behind the start-up Wonderlabs.

In a commentary he wrote for, Singaporean entrepreneur and Wonderlabs co-founder Keith Tan said building a tech start-up in Singapore could be something to regret in the long run.

"Despite its reputation as the region's start-up hub, the conditions here are far from ideal, especially if for those who are just starting out," he stressed.

He enumerated the reasons behind his position and topping the list is Singapore's expensive tech talent.

Tan explained that it is vital for every tech start-up to have a robust tech talent, something Singapore lacks.

"Look around — tech start-ups are springing up every day, but graduates with software expertise are rare gems," he said, "Plus, the ones you can find here are often expensive."

Also Read: Singapore declared No 1 for global startup talent, beats Silicon Valley hands down

Citing the head of Singapore International Chamber of Commerce Victor Mills, Tan said even Silicon Valley technopreneurs in Singapore faced many problems in setting up in the city-state.

"They found a shortage of good IT developers with unrealistic remuneration expectations," he noted, adding that the quality of work of some of the IT developers is anything but stellar.

He went on to say that not only tech talent is expensive in Singapore but also a number of important things start-ups need to thrive.

In fact, Knight Frank listed Singapore as the 10th most expensive city globally and the costliest place in Southeast Asia to start a tech company.

Tan suggested that if a tech start-up wants to be exposed to the vibrant scene of Singapore, the best bet is to do offshoring to avoid the city-state's high costs.

This article was first published on January 19, 2018