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The ability to plan for the long term has helped Singapore get ahead of Hong Kong, according to Hong Kong businessman Robert Wang.

SINGAPORE: The ability to plan for the long term has helped Singapore get ahead of Hong Kong.

That is the view of Hong Kong businessman Robert Wang.

Along with Hong Kong tycoons Li Ka-Shing and Run Run Shaw, Mr Wang was part of the founding circle that established the Suntec City development in Singapore.

The rivalry between Singapore and Hong Kong for the title of Asia's capital city is long-standing.

But Singapore may have the upper hand for now.

Speaking at the Midas Touch Asia business forum in Singapore on Monday, Mr Wang - a veteran solicitor and businessman - said that Hong Kong has started to fall behind since the 1997 Sino-British handover.

He said: "I somehow observed that things have changed - for the better as far as Singapore is concerned and for the worse as far as Hong Kong is concerned.

"It is reflected in the exchange rate. It is now one Sing dollar to six Hong Kong dollars, compared to about one Sing dollar to 3.5 Hong Kong dollars two decades ago. In terms of per capita income, not only has Singapore caught up, it has surpassed Hong Kong."

According to data from the World Bank, in 2012, Singapore had a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of US$62,000, compared to US$52,000 for Hong Kong.

About 10 years ago, Singapore's per capita GDP of US$22,000 lagged behind Hong Kong's US$25,000.

Mr Wang said Singapore's success is due to its ability to plan for the long term.

Other speakers at the forum agreed, citing the government's plan to expand the airport by the mid-2020s.

Tan Khee Giap, associate professor of Public Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, said: "This Terminal 5, or doubling of the capacity of Changi Airport, that has got to do with.

"(With) China as the emerging economy, Indonesia being the rising middle power, and India coming up... Asia is poised for more activity, and Singapore is the first choice as an aviation hub."

Mr Wang said: "Your government comes up with a blueprint for the next 40, 30 years. Hong Kong is completely bogged down by political bickering at this point in time. Somehow, we feel that Hong Kong is getting increasingly marginalised in the context of the world today."

Still, it may just be a case of the grass being greener on the other side.

According to a survey this year by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Singapore is the sixth most expensive city in the world, while Hong Kong is ranked 14.