Situated just 20 km off the southern coast of Singapore, Batam is a free trade zone in Indonesia’s Riau Islands province. Almost identical in size to Singapore, Batam has enjoyed 40+ years of record-setting growth (averaging 11% per year) and yet remains, for the moment, nestled comfortably in Singapore’s very large shadow.
Singapore is fast becoming the global financial center. It is already home to Asia’s largest banks, and as the growth of the Asian middle-class continues, it will solidify its title as “center of the financial universe”. Simply stated, like Paris, London & New York in centuries past, Singapore is the hot place to be for the foreseeable future.
But all this excitement also places Singapore out of reach for all but the super-rich, globally-connected, or locals riding the property bubble. Singapore is officially the world’s most expensive city. Luxury condos consistently retail for S$40+ million Singapore dollars. Owning a basic car costs more than most houses in the USA – an SUV will set you back about S$250,000, also requiring a license every ten years for an additional S$80,000.
And that’s why Batam shines like no place on earth.
Just 35 minutes south of the excitement via the world’s most dependable ferry services, Batam seems to be a polar opposite. Oceanfront condos can be acquired for less than S$100k – and that’s Sing Dollars! Cars, food, luxury services (private chef, housekeeper, driver) and labour are among the least expensive anywhere in the civilized world.
As a free-trade zone, Batam is home to hundreds of employers and has attracted billions in foreign investment in just the last few years. Batam is quickly modernizing to support both the influx of foreign investors and expat families, as well as the exodus of Singaporeans cashing in on the city’s fame and pocketing handsome property value appreciation profits – without capital gains tax.
To anyone evaluating the massive amount of positive data, it’s clear why Singapore is on top – and there’s no better place to get in on the action than Batam – your gateway to southeast Asia!