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2007: S'pore revs up tourism renewal with F1 rights

Catalist replaces Sesdaq; iPhone makes debut.


SINGAPORE stepped up its revitalisation as a tourism destination in the years leading into the 2010s with bold plans to create world-class destinations and events, and in 2007 those efforts culminated in the successful pursuit of rights to host the Formula One Grand Prix.

As it was with casinos, Singapore had for years resisted calls to host the premier car racing event, with concerns about disruptions and suitability getting in the way. But those objections fell in 2007 as efforts to remake the Marina area offered an opportunity to rethink old positions. Plans to make the Singapore leg of the Formula One calendar the first to take place at night also optimised the timing of the race for the hot tropical weather and for daytime viewing in Europe.

The Singapore Grand Prix, and the closed-off roads in the central business district, have become a prime annual event for the city, and a renewal of the contract in 2012 means the race will remain in Singapore until 2017.

Singapore was not the only one changing to attract foreign money. The Singapore Exchange, too, announced sweeping changes to its listing regime, most notably the creation of the sponsor-supervised Catalist junior board to replace the old Sesdaq. Pitched as a cheaper alternative to London's AIM and offering a gateway between Asia and the rest of the world, Catalist was intended as a streamlined avenue for younger companies to tap capital markets.

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But perhaps one of the most impactful events in the new century took place in 2007 when Apple launched its first iPhone. With its minimalist design and an intuitive touch-screen interface that introduced the world to swiping and pinching, the device was a hit from the first day. More importantly, the iPhone took computing off the desktops and into pockets, and fundamentally transformed the way in which the world communicated.

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