Doing Business in Singapore and Japan
I recently had the opportunity to spend a week in each Singapore and Tokyo for my MBA program. We spent that time going into different businesses and learning about their processes and cultures. It was an educational and eye opening experience to learn how businesses work outside of the United States. The most impressive aspect of both countries was their efficiency. Riding public transportation on Singapore or Tokyo was a walk in the park compared to the DC Metro or the NY Subway. However, the efficiency did not stop there. I encountered a group of hard working, organized individuals that left a lasting impression. Here are some of the most interesting facts:
Singapore has a flat tax of 15%. This is way lower than the United States, especially considering that the Singaporean citizens are not taxed on anything besides income. Therefore, if you have capital gains, no tax. This allows the citizens to live a comfortable lifestyle, even in an expensive country.
Japanese business culture is very strict. The gender gap in Japan is real. The big businesses employ mostly men, who come right out of their undergraduate education and work their way up on the corporate ladder. Women are expected to marry respected men that work in these big companies. However, in recent years more and more women are working. This has caused a declining birth rate with an aging population.
Something lovable about both countries though... they work hard and they play hard. Singapore with its constant 90 degree heat has a lot of outside areas where you can relax with your friends after a long day and get a drink. Careful though, alcohol is expensive here due to an import tax. Japanese businessmen love to party hard after a long day at work. There is every type of bar you could imagine in Tokyo. Or you can release the inner child in yourself and head to an arcade...
The best part about Japan was the fashion. They used simplistic pieces to look polished and neat. Both men and women always looked classic and amazing. Sometimes they would sneak a pop of "fun" in there with a bright color or a quirky anime shirt. Since it was winter I was most fascinated by the interesting coats. I even picked up a faux fur one for future use. In January they have their big sales which was great for shopping.
Overall, my experience in Asia was extremely enjoyable and I cannot wait until the next trip! Oh and to eat more Ramen...