Country Profile: Singapore
Official languagesEnglish, Malay, Chinese, Tamil
Area710 sq km
Population4, 839, 400 (2008 est.)
The official languages of Singapore are English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil. English is used in general conversation and in business, while Malay is the country's national language. There is also a patois spoken on the streets, known as Singlish but by linguists as Singapore Colloquial English. Other languages spoken are Bengali, Mandarin and Hakka, Gujarati, Javanese, Madura, Malaccan Creole Portuguese, Malayalam, Orang Seletar, Panjabi and Sinhala.
With its developed and aggressive market-based economy, Singapore is one of the "Four Asian Tigers", alongside South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Singapore is a global centre of finance, and its economy is based on the manufacturing industry. Tourism is another vital sector for Singapore's economy, and the country is also a leader in biotechnology and the manufacture of computer components.
Agriculture in Singapore makes up a relatively small percentage of the workforce; however, agricultural produce in the country includes rubber, orchids, fruit, vegetables, fish, eggs and poultry. With manufacturing the main sector for Singapore's economy, industries include electronics, chemicals, financial services, oil drilling, petrol refining, rubber processing and products, food and drink, ship repair, offshore platform construction and life sciences. Singapore's only main natural resources are fish and deepwater ports. Singapore's major trading partners are Malaysia, US, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and South Korea.
Millions of people visit Singapore every year, for attractions such as its Orchard Road shopping district, legalised casinos, and vibrant city culture. Cuisine is also a reason that visit, with the Singapore Food Festival taking place every July to celebrate the country's culinary range.
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