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About Singapore

Singapore is a small, multi-cultural and cosmopolitan city-stage in the very heart of South East Asia. Home to a population of over 5 million, it has one of the highest per capita GDP in the world. The country recorded an estimated GDP of US$ 296.6 billion in 2016, with growth projections for 2017 ranging between 2 and 3%.

Singapore is a high-income, free-market economy, and is recognized as a leading financial and high-tech hub of the region. The country is considered to be a strategic starting point for global enterprises seeking business opportunities in Asia. Promiment companies across the globe invest and operate in the country as it offers an open and corruption-free environment to businesses in the market.

Population: 5.78 million
Inflation Rate: -0.8%
Currency: Singapore Dollar (S$)
Ave Exchange Rate: S$ 1.379 : US$ 1
Imports: US$ 271.3 billion
Exports: US$ 353.3 billion
GDP: US$ 296.6 billion
GDP per capita (PPP): US$ 87,100
Real GDP Growth: 2%
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This report provides an overview of the medical technologies sector in Singapore. The Singaporean government strongly fosters the medical sector, and has helped the country to become a medtech manufacturing and R&D hub. From 2000 to 2015, Singapore’s medtech manufacturing nominal val...

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This report is designed to provide an overview of the smart cities sector in Singapore.  The country is a tiny island of 5.7 million people, and is an often-cited example of a smart city in Asia. The country is investing heavily in the future, particularly in smart technologies. The repor...

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Listed as one of the “water-stressed nations in the world”, Singapore struggled with scarcity of water in its early years. Its dependence on Malaysia for the import of raw water led the country to invest heavily into R&D in the water and wastewater sector. Today, it has built u...

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Singapore Country Profile

The report offers a wide range of data and information collected from various sources that were built together in order to provide not just facts but deeper insights about the country. Unlike other country reports that focus more on macro-economic data, we think that the most valuable part of ...

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Singapore And Indonesia Sign Bilateral Investment Treaty

Singapore  -  October 2018

Singapore and Indonesia signed an Agreement on the Promotion and Protection of Investments, also known as the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), at the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat in Bali, Indonesia, on 11 October, 2018.

Singapore has been the largest investor in Indonesia since 2014, with realised investments reaching USD 8.4 billion in 2017. The BIT aims to protect investors’ interests and reinforce the strong economic ties and cooperation between Singapore and Indonesia.

The BIT is a legally-binding agreement between the two countries and it will complement the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA), that Singapore and Indonesia are also Party to. It establishes rules on how Indonesia should treat investments and investors from Singapore and vice-versa. With the BIT, Singapore companies operating in Indonesia will enjoy protection on their investments, on top of that already accorded under Indonesia’s domestic laws. Similarly, Indonesian companies operating in Singapore will also enjoy investment protection.  Some of the key areas of protection are:

  • Non-discriminatory treatment compared to other foreign investors and their investments (Most-Favoured-Nation treatment)

  • Non-discriminatory treatment compared to local investors and their investments (National Treatment) in most sectors

  • Fair and equitable treatment, and full protection and security, based on customary international law

  • Protection from illegal expropriation

  • Compensation for losses arising from war, armed conflict, civil strife

  • Freedom to transfer capital and returns

  • Right for investors to submit dispute claims on behalf of their locallyestablished enterprise in the host State

  • Access to international arbitration for investment disputes

(Source: Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore)

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Singapore Seeking To Translate Quantum Technologies Into Real World Applications

Singapore  -  October 2018

In September 2018, the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF) launched a SGD 25 million  (USD 18 million) Quantum Engineering Programme (QEP) to translate quantum science and technologies into engineering devices and capabilities that meet industry needs. QEP will connect researchers in quantum science, photonics devices, and system engineering, with industry partners and local start-ups, with the aim of developing the engineering capabilities needed to commercialise quantum technologies into quantum communication systems, quantum sensors and devices, with applications in areas such as cybersecurity, global navigation systems, sensing technologies, and diagnostic imaging. For instance, quantum enhanced imaging technologies are, in principle, much more effective than existing classical techniques and their use would include fluorescence and phase microscopy, space telescope imaging, magnetic and gravitational sensing, and thermal imaging.

QEP will focus on building engineering capabilities in three research themes:

  1. Quantum cryptography:  While quantum computers when implemented could easily break today’s most prevalent cryptosystems in minutes, quantum cryptography can prevent this scenario. QEP will therefore focus on developing viable and portable quantum crypto-systems that are widely deployable in practice. For instance, quantum crypto-systems developed in the programme could be used to encrypt and protect secret documents, and provide quantum-certifiable random numbers for biometrics, computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and information security.

  2. Quantum networks: Today, most countries depend on Global Positioning System (GPS) and global navigation satellite systems to derive precise timing information. However, these time sources are vulnerable and prone to active disruption efforts. Quantum clocks, if made portable, can provide a robust ground-based source of timing information with key applications in telecommunication, banking, space communication, and radar technology. 

  3. Quantum devices: QEP will seek to strengthen Singapore’s capabilities in engineering integrated quantum devices, generate quantum technology patents, and support local start-ups specialising in quantum technologies.

SG-UK Collaboration to develop quantum-secured communications networks

A few days after the announcement of the QEP, the Singapore and UK governments entered into a SGD 18 milllion (USD 13 million) initiative to build and deploy a satellite quantum key distribution (QKD) test bed. Singapore and UK will co-develop a “QKD Qubesat”, a satellite based on the CubeSat standard that will use a pioneering QKD technology from Singapore to test the secure distribution of cryptographic keys over globe-spanning distances. The satellite is expected to be operational in late 2021. This new joint quantum technology satellite mission could potentially open access to a global market estimated to be worth up to SGD 20 billion (USD 14.5 billion) over the next decade. 

(Sources: National Research Foundation; Channel NewsAsia; Today)

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BCA Singapore Launches 'Super Low Energy' Rating For Buildings

Singapore  -  September 2018

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore has launched a new rating for the energy efficiency of buildings. This is a part of the super Low Energy (SLE) Programme, which includes initiatives such as the SLE Buildings Technology Roadmap and the SLE Challenge to encourage the adoption and design of cost-efficient SLE buildings. 

This rating is a voluntary certification framework for SLE buildings, based on the BCA Green Mark (GM) scheme. BCA Green Mark for SLE targets new and existing non-residential buildings such as offices, commercial/retail, industrial, institutions and schools, including demonstration projects from Research & Innovation efforts. Under BCA Green Mark for SLE, there are two building categories: (a) Super Low Energy buildings and (b) Zero Energy Buildings. To be classified in the first category, the buildings need to have achieve at least 60% energy savings through adopting energy efficient measures and onsite renewable energy based on 2005 building code level. Project teams can also choose to attain SLE by having energy Use Intensity (EUI) of the building less than the benchmark EUI - 25 kWh/m2yr for schools, 100 for offices and 160 for hotel, retail & other mixed commercial development. Zero energy buildings have to demonstrate use of onsite and off-site renewable energy to generate more than 100% of energy needed for building operation including plug load.

Green Mark Gold rating is the minimum requirement for SLE and ZE buildings in order to meet the holistic environmental sustainability indicators, such as greenery, indoor environmental quality and other nonenergy aspects. This ensures the overall environmental sustainability performance indicators are being looked at holistically, while pushing the boundaries in terms of building energy performance.

BCA has been working with the industry and academia closely to develop a Super Low Energy Buildings Technology Roadmap that charts the pathways towards SLE via development, demonstration and application of technologies. The Roadmap outlines broad strategies of technology development towards mainstream adoption of SLE by 2030. The roadmap identifies 60 potential solutions from enhanced existing technologies and emerging R&D innovations and groups them under four broad categories, namely Passive Strategies, Active Strategies, Smart Energy Management and Renewable Energy. It also says that lower rise institutional buildings and schools have the potential to achieve zero or positive energy target first.

(Sources: Straits Times; Building and Construction Authority, Singapore)

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New Center Opened In Singapore To Address Health Challenges In South East Asia

Singapore  -  October 2018

Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs launched the SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute (SDGHI) on 21 September 2018. The institute aims to address global health challenges presented by rapid globalisation, increasing disease burden and new and emerging infectious diseases in South East Asia. 

It will focus on four areas – research to respond to current and emerging health issues; education and training of future global health leaders; policy development to implement strong regulatory practices and high value health systems; and capacity building to develop a robust collaborative network of regional partners. Researchers, educators, and healthcare practitioners in the SDGHI will work across borders to gain deeper insights into diseases seldom seen locally, be exposed to diverse patient case-mixes and disease manifestations, and conduct multi-national research studies.

Professor Michael H. Merson, former vice-provost for global affairs at Duke University and founding director of the University’s Duke Global Health Institute, will lead the new institute. Prof Merson has served in advisory capacities for UNAIDS, WHO, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, World Bank, World Economic Forum, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.

(Sources: SingHealth; Straits Times) 

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Singapore To Expand Adoption Of Pneumatic Waste Conveyance Systems

Singapore  -  October 2018

On 2 October 2018, the Environmental Public Health (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Singapore parliament. The Environmental Public Health Act (EPHA) was enacted in 1987. One of the provisions in the amended Bill is to drive wider adoption of pneumatic waste conveyance systems (PWCS) to automate waste collection in Singapore. 

In 2015, the Housing & Development Board (HDB) retrofitted 38 blocks in Yuhua estate. Earlier in 2018, the government made it mandatory for new development applications for non-landed private residential developments with 500 Dwelling Units (DUs) or more to implement PWCS. This is in addition to the more than 140 private residential and commercial developments which have already implemented PWCS. The Bill will enable PWCS to be deployed at the district level, beyond individual developments. The first District Pneumatic Waste Conveyance System (DPCWS) willl be implemented at at Kampong Bugis. Dr. Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, explained that legislation is necessary as private developers are unlikely to, on their own, come together to embark on a district-level system. 

PWCS at the district level will provide economies of scale. Instead of having bin centres in each development, the district can share a central bin centre. Refuse truck traffic within the district will also be reduced, as refuse will only be collected from one bin centre, which can be located away from residents. Developments with PWCS will benefit from reduced pests and odour, and manpower savings from not needing to manually transport waste within the premises.

The Bill also makes it mandatory for every licensed cleaning business to provide for the payment of an annual bonus to its eligible resident cleaners, regardless of the worker’s performance. Cleaning businesses who do not comply will face financial penalties or risk losing their licence. Around 40,000 resident cleaners are expected to receive up to 4% more in wages each year through this bonus.

(Sources: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources; Channel NewsAsia)

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Surbana Jurong-Mitsubishi JV To Invest In Emerging Asia Urban Development

Singapore  -  October 2018

Surbana Jurong Capital, the newly established financial services arm of Surbana Jurong, and Mitsubishi Corporation signed an agreement on 14 September to set up a fund management company (FMC). The FMC will be a 50:50 joint venture between the two companies and will be jointly managed by both partners. 

The FMC will set up an Investment Fund (Fund), with seed capital of USD 250 million from each partner, to invest in urban infrastructure projects in emerging Asia, primarily in Myanmar, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka. Projects might include transit-oriented developments (TOD) such as aviation or rail-related developments, affordable housing, as well as other urban-related infrastructure. It aims to select commercially-viable projects which are in an advanced feasibility stage or in the early phases of construction, and provide equity investment to support such projects. Qualifying projects will need to meet sustainable environmental, social and corporate governance metrics.

The FMC will also raise and manage funds from other accredited or institutional third-party investors.  Institutional investors seeking to participate in the sustainable growth of the region can do so through the Fund.

The partnership seeks to leverage on the strengths of both partners. Singapore-based Surbana Jurong has over 70 years of successful project deliveries and technical teams in over 40 countries to provide insights on the risks of such projects. Mitsubishi Corporation, a global integrated business enterprise with diverse business operations, has been investing in real estate projects in ASEAN countries since 2013 totalling JPY250 billion (USD 2.2 billion).

(Sources: Surbana Jurong; Straits Times)

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ABB Launches Innovation Center In Singapore

Singapore  -  October 2018

On 11 October, 2018, ABB  inaugurated its Singapore customer innovation center  to co-develop solutions that address business problems and produce tangible business opportunities for customers in the infrastructure, manufacturing, process industries, transportation and utilities sectors. The Center is built on ABB Ability™ – a unified, cross-industry digital technology platform extending from device to edge to cloud.

The center aims to help customers to harness major leaps in productivity and efficiency, driving competitiveness, quality and security, through smart grid technology, electrification of all points of energy consumption and advanced automation solutions, important building blocks to a future of autonomous operations.

Facilities include an ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operations Center, which enables clients to extract higher value from data through information analytics. The center opens with a number of customers already being served through its advanced data analytics and access to experts. Additionally, the facilities house a Digital Solutions Center, Digital Services Center for Drives, Power & Water Innovation Center, Robotics Applications Center, a Smarter Building Center, and state-of-the-art customer training facilities.

The space will also serve as a living laboratory where ABB will deploy its own products and technologies to intelligently manage its own energy use. These include wireless intelligent sensors, building management systems, control room solutions, renewable energy integration and digital grid technologies.

(Sources: ABB; Straits Times)

(Image credit: ABB)

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Contract Awarded For Improvement Of ATC Radio Communications At Changi Airport

Singapore  -  October 2018

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has awarded a contract to Rohde & Schwarz, to upgrade and expand the Air Traffic Control (ATC) radio communications system at Singapore Changi Airport. The enhanced system will further strengthen safety for airlines and passengers.

Under the contract, Rohde & Schwarz will provide auxiliary equipment, software, project management, training as well as after-sales services for a 15-year period to CAAS. Rohde and Schwarz, a global manufacturer of information and communications technology products, will install more than 240 R&S Series 4200 VHF/UHF (ery high frequency / ultra-high frequency)  radios at Changi, including at the new radio stations to be built at Changi East.

Besides providing high-quality voice connections between pilots and air traffic controllers, these radios also deploy a new technology called Detection of Simultaneous Transmissions (DSiT). With the acquisition of these radios, CAAS will be the first air navigation service provider in the Asia-Pacific to adopt DSiT. DSiT enables the detection and notification of simultaneous radio calls to air traffic controllers who can communicate with two counterparts at the same time.

(Source: Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore)

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NTUC Enterprise Acquiring Food Court Operator

Singapore  -  October 2018

NTUC Enterprise Co-operative Limited (NTUC Enterprise) announced on 21 September that it is going to acquire ood court, coffeeshop and hawker centre operator, Kopitiam Investment Pte Ltd and its subsidiaries (Kopitiam). This acquisition is expected to support NTUC Enterprise’s social mission to ensure that cooked food remains affordable and accessible to the Singapore community.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. Upon completion of the transaction, the two entities will continue to operate separately, with their respective management teams and employees remaining in place. They will work together to leverage mutual capabilities and seek out common opportunities for synergies, including the use of technologies.

Founded in 1988, Kopitiam, operates 56 food courts, 21 coffeeshops, 3 hawker centres and 2 central kitchens. It serves about 350,000 meals a day nationwide, employs more than 1,000 staff and manages more than 1,000 food stalls.

NTUC Enterprise, the social enterprise arm of the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC), and its eight social enterprises provide access to affordable and quality goods and services in areas like health and eldercare, childcare, daily essentials, cooked food and financial services. Through NTUC Foodfare Co-operative Limited (NTUC Foodfare), NTUC Enterprise provides affordable, quality and healthier meal options. Every stall at an NTUC Foodfare coffeeshop and new hawker centre offers consumers a budget meal priced from SGD 2 and SGD 2.80 (USD 1.45 to 2), respectively. NTUC Foodfare also operates a social outreach programme, Rice Garden, designed with lower-income consumers in mind. Rice Garden offers affordable and nutritious meals priced from SGD 1.5 (USD 1.1). In 2017, Rice Garden  served more than 4.5 million meals.

(Sources: Business Times; NTUC Enterprise)


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