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Singapore, the most 'innovative city in Asia'

Singapore ranks as Asia's most innovative city in Asia-Pacific, according to a new survey by Solidiance, a strategy consulting firm.

Singapore ranks as number one for innovation in the Asia-Pacific because "it has made dramatic and perpetual improvements for the past 25 years," said Solidiance, transforming itself from a trading port to high-tech and financial hub.

The Republic beat 15 other cities in the region, including second-ranked Sydney and third-ranked Melbourne.

The top three cities were separated by 0.04 points and a macro-view “photo shoot” was needed to allocate the top spot to Singapore. This means the ranking is likely to change in the future.

The report examines six links between what a city has to offer and the amount of talent that relocates to that city: the availability of a skilled talent base; a strong higher education system; the liveability of a city and environmental sustainability; technological advancement and government regulations that support financial freedom and global integration.

Singapore took pole position in global integration, which was determined by factors such as global competitiveness, presence of innovative corporations and net migration. It ranked from third to fifth in other categories.

However, the city-state scored sixth in the society ranking, which is determined by factors such as degree of censorship and tolerance for failure. While the former is pegged to freedom of expression rankings, the latter factor is pegged to suicide rates.

Strong government regulations have provided a structured and stable environment to conduct business with, the report said. The World Bank ranked Singapore as the best place to do business in the world, for 2013, unchanged from 2012.

But to keep its top spot as best Asian city for innovation, Singapore needs to stay open to new ideas, new cultures, and new entrants, adds Solidiance.

In the report, Solidiance said it did not compare against countries as it “is a bit like comparing the punch power of a boxing heavyweight with that of a featherweight – the outcome is not very surprising”. The report also said that cities are places of ecosystems and birth and “(speaks) to us every day, whereas the nation does so only once in a while”.