Busi­ness Sense: Sin­ga­pore’s EDB helps Nor­we­gian com­pa­nies suc­ceed and prosper

Norway-Asia Business Review - - Contents -

To at­tract and sup­port these com­pa­nies is the Sin­ga­pore Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Board ( EDB), the lead gov­ern­ment agency for plan­ning and ex­e­cut­ing strate­gies to en­hance Sin­ga­pore’s po­si­tion as a global busi­ness cen­tre.

“Sin­ga­pore has un­der­gone a rapid eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion in the last 50 years based on an in­vest­ments-led growth strategy,” ex­plains Lim Kok Kiang, As­sis­tant Man­ag­ing Director, EDB. “EDB has played a sig­nif­i­cant role in this trans­for­ma­tion jour­ney. Much of this suc­cess can be at­trib­uted to our abil­ity to bring in top com­pa­nies, cap­i­tal and tal­ent to keep our econ­omy grow­ing and vi­brant. Go­ing for­ward, Sin­ga­pore is cal­i­brat­ing its strategy to yield high qual­ity, sus­tain­able growth that meets an ad­vanced econ­omy’s needs.”

The work of the EDB can be sum­marised as At­tract-Trans­form-Cre­ate (ATC). In the area of at­tract, the EDB pur­sues in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties with ex­ist­ing and new com­pa­nies by tar­get­ing in­vest­ments that com­ple­ment the city’s ex­ist­ing in­dus­try strengths, as well as look for growth op­por­tu­ni­ties in new ar­eas or ad­ja­cent to key in­dus­tries. This helps the city ex­pand its port­fo­lio of profitable niche sec­tors.

“Trans­form is about keep­ing our firms and in­dus­tries highly pro­duc­tive and com­pet­i­tive,” ex­plains Lim Kok Kiang. “We hope to work with com­pa­nies who have large and es­tab­lished op­er­a­tions in Sin­ga­pore to raise labour pro­duc­tiv­ity through bet­ter de­ploy­ment of tech­nolo­gies such as ro­bot­ics and other in­ter­ven­tions catered to our more ma­ture in­dus­trial sec­tors. Where there are suit­able op­por­tu­ni­ties, we would also like to help firms im­prove their land pro­duc­tiv­ity, en­ergy use and car­bon emis­sions.

“Cre­ate is about catalysing in­no­va­tion-driven growth in the ecosys­tem. EDB aims to sup­port com­pa­nies in grow­ing new busi­nesses. We be­lieve that Sin­ga­pore is well-placed to drive this ini­tia­tive, mov­ing from be­ing a value-adding to value-cre­at­ing part­ner,” says Lim Kok Kiang.

Since 1990, Sin­ga­pore has steadily grown the gov­ern­ment’s in­vest­ment in building up R&D ca­pa­bil­i­ties and the an­nual bud­get is now equiv­a­lent to 1 per­cent of the GDP. “We not only in­vest in our uni­ver­si­ties’ R&D but we also have an ex­ten­sive net­work of gov­ern­ment funded re­search in­sti­tutes that work closely with in­dus­try to solve prac­ti­cal prob­lems and to com­mer­cialise dis­cov­er­ies in the lab­o­ra­to­ries. Mov­ing for­ward, the gov­ern­ment has ear­marked a fur­ther in­vest­ment of S$19 bil­lion for R&D from 2016 to 2020,” says Lim Kok Kiang.

Apart from R&D, as the EDB ex­pects trans­for­ma­tion in the global man­u­fac­tur­ing land­scape with the adop­tion of ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­nolo­gies, the EDB is also work­ing with lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers and en­ablers in var­i­ous sec­tors to co-in­no­vate ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing so­lu­tions with EDB re­search in­sti­tutes, in­sti­tutes of higher learn­ing and sup­plier ecosys­tem in ar­eas such as ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing (3D print­ing), ro­bot­ics, in­dus­trial in­ter­net of things (IIoT) and ad­vanced ma­te­ri­als.

It is within this frame­work that the EDB sup­ports the Nor­we­gian busi­ness com­mu­nity in Sin­ga­pore. As of end-2014, the stock of For­eign Di­rect In­vest­ment (FDI) into Sin­ga­pore from Nor­way was es­ti­mated at S$23 bil­lion. More than 250 Nor­we­gian com­pa­nies are based in Sin­ga­pore, mak­ing the city state home to the largest con­cen­tra­tion of Nor­we­gian busi­nesses in Asia. Nor­way is Sin­ga­pore’s eighth largest trad­ing part­ner from Europe and its fourth largest in­vestor from Europe. Ac­cord­ing to Nor­we­gian Prime Min­is­ter Erna Sol­berg, who vis­ited Sin­ga­pore dur­ing the re­cently held Nor­way-Asia Busi­ness Sum­mit, Asia boasts some 500 Nor­we­gian-con­trolled com­pa­nies, pro­vid­ing jobs for about 60,000 peo­ple.

“Sin­ga­pore’s suc­cess is due in large part to four at­tributes we pos­sess as a na­tion: ‘ Can-do’ spirit, for­ward­look­ing, part­ner­ships and in­ge­nu­ity,”

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