How Singapore is leveraging its partnership with Germany
Germany has around S$15b invested in Singapore.
When German trading company Behn Meyer’s doors first opened in Singapore in November 1840, little did everyone know that it would pioneer the integral role of German businesses in Singapore’s economic success several decades later.
In fact, over the last ten years, the number of German companies in Singapore has tripled to a 1,600-strong list, strengthening Germany as Singapore’s principal goods trading partner in the European Union and likewise, Singapore as Germany’s second most important economic partner in the ASEAN region.
This long-standing partnership between the two countries has led to tight-knit collaboration in several industries, mainly chemicals, biomedical sciences, electronics, engineering, and logistics.
Germany has around S$15b foreign direct investment stock in Singapore, and according to
Tim Philippi, executive director, Singaporean-german Chamber of Industry and Commerce (SGC), the total trade between the two countries has amounted to approximately S$20.8b.
But what really were the critical factors that led to Singapore and Germany’s strong collaboration?
Philippi, as the lead of the platform for Singaporean and German companies, says that both countries have been receptive to development and the fostering of business relationships and collaborations, with focus on competitiveness and highend solutions for future readiness.
Philippi adds that SGC has also observed stark similarities between the two countries in terms of digital healthcare, high-end manufacturing, energy efficiency (buildings, industry), smart city (big data, smart logistics, smart transport), Industrie 4.0 (industrial internet of things), and water technology, among others.
Further, the interconnectivity and complementarity between the two countries is especially seen in their economic histories, wherein both Germany and Singapore have gone through different phases of economic development at almost the same time, from labour-intensive to now R&D and innovation-driven.
Now, Singapore and Germany are closer to Industrie 4.0 than many others. Philippi highlights that as of late, German companies have been investing in centres of excellence in additive manufacturing in Singapore and initiating support services for the implementation of Industrie 4.0 processes for Singaporean companies.
ASEAN’S sweet spot
According to Philippi, Singapore found a way to encourage companies to grow capabilities and conduct new or expanded activities in Singapore.
“Certain sectors are robust and attractive for German businesses. The Singaporean government is investing in advanced manufacturing technologies to enhance the competitiveness of companies and better position them for the future. German companies with their technological expertise will be able to play an important part in this development,” Philippi adds.
To aid German companies looking to set up shop in Singapore, the Singaporean-german Chamber of Industry and Commerce organises events like trade shows and mission trips to expand opportunities for businesses. In November, there will be a mssion trip in the field of energy efficiency.
“This German programme has been running very successfully for 14 years and has enabled German companies to gain access to international markets. Operating in the field of energy efficiency, these companies actively protect the environment through the implementation of sustainable technologies and support knowhow exchange.” added Philippi
Additionally, the SGC also organises Singapore pavilion in international trade show to assist Singaporean SMES to expand their global reach. “One of the latest ones was our fourth Singapore pavilion at IFA, the leading trade show for Consumer Electronics & Home Appliances, in Berlin, Germany. Six companies participated under the wing of the Singapore pavilion to show case their latest innovations,” said Philippi.
Over the last ten years, the number of German companies in Singapore has tripled to a 1,600-strong list.
German companies have been initiating support services for the implementation of Industrie 4.0 processes for Singaporean companies.