S’pore continues to attract quality investments: EDB

Singapore continues to be attractive for multi-national companies to set up headquarters and take advantage of growth in Asia.

That was the message from Mr Leo Yip, Chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB).

Speaking to Channel NewsAsia on EDB’s 50th anniversary, Mr Yip said prospects for Asia also remain bright despite the slower growth in the last quarter for Singapore.

He said global companies look out for three things when deciding where to invest and root their presence.

These are – where in Asia to invest for maximum growth, where to stage their headquarters, and where in the region to innovate and launch products for the global market.

On all three counts, Singapore has come out tops.

Mr Yip said this is also because of the EDB’s willingness to do all it takes to keep Singapore in the lead.

He said: “Our economy today looks very different from what it was 10 years ago and very clearly quite different from when we started in 1961. The last few years, the investments have been innovation intensive. High-value added activities are brought into Singapore.

“In sectors like energy and chemicals today, we have a lot of investments focusing on speciality chemicals (which are) very complex processes. In the aerospace sector, we are moving from maintenance, repair and overhaul to manufacturing aeroplane engines and design of aeroplane engines.”

My Yip said giving Singapore that edge over other countries in attracting global investments is also down to what he called the “EDB psyche”.

“And we are quite clear, in each of the industries that we have chosen to compete in, we need a competitive strategy, we need a winning strategy, how do we win, either by being technologically ahead or by having a very strong differentiating capabilities. That’s in the psyche of the EDB,” he said.

My Yip also shared that companies are also looking at Singapore in the area of talent, as they build up their talent pool with a global perspective but with an Asian depth to understand the Asian market.

He said: “Where would companies select in Asia as a location, for them to attract, to develop, and deploy their talent? Singapore has become quite interesting in that respect. Many Chinese, Indian companies are starting to look at Singapore to be their international headquarters, a place to build up their international capability, a place to do innovation and familiarise themselves with the global marketplace.”

The recent recession has given further confidence to investors.

Mr Yip said: “Even though the world economy was not in good shape, it gave confidence to companies that this is the place to continue to be when the global economy recovers, and that was indeed the picture every company saw. We saw that in the way investments that were deferred during the recession were quickly reinstated once the global economy started to recover.

“Every recession would present challenges. We would need to face up to them and we need to be there together with the unions, workers and companies to deal with the challenges that every downturn presents. But every downturn presents an opportunity and we need to see beyond the recession to present ourselves in a strong way that companies find attractive and valuable. When the economy recovers, which it will, companies would translate that confidence into investment decisions which happened the last time.”

Mr Yip also said that global companies appreciate the continued political stability in Singapore following the recent General Election, and know the country will continue to have a first rate business operating environment.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 1 Aug 2011

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