SINGAPORE'S economic planners want to bring the region to the world and the world to the region. The development of an external economy has seen the nation focus strategically on China, India, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indochina and Burma. Singapore was one of the top five investors in China last year with investments worth US$8.6 billion. In India, it ranks eighth with equity commitments worth more than US$117 million. Singapore is the leading foreign investor in Burma and fourth in Vietnam. Total direct equity investments with its ASEAN partners (excluding Vietnam) is more than S$5.9 billion (HK$32.6 billion). Most investments are in infrastructure projects such as power, water, transport, communications and property. Singapore investors insist on a win-win formula. In the sound old Chinese business philosophy, everyone must benefit. In Indonesia, at Batam Industrial Park, this has meant 35,000 jobs and US$600 million in goods produced. The idea is alluring; there is a US$155-million industrial park in Wuxi, a US$30-billion Singapore-Suzhou Township in Fujian and an information technology park in Bangalore, India. Research and development and early development of new products is done and tested in Singapore before large-scale production begins in factories sited overseas. As the global marketplace develops, multinationals can produce identical goods in factories sited in distant locations. This has obvious implications for efficiency if a factory is located in a place where it can source raw material from. As these regional manufacturing bases develop with Singapore investment and know-how, the island will remain the hub of development and marketing.