Singapore

Singapore attracts $17.2b in investments, a 12-year high

Last year's commitments were boosted by electronics, energy and R&D sectors

Singapore attracted about $17.2 billion in fixed asset investments last year, hitting a 12-year high despite the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

This beat the Economic Development Board's (EDB) medium- to long-term target of $8 billion to $10 billion and exceeded 2019's $15.2 billion in fixed asset investments.

Last year's commitments, bolstered by large capital investments from the electronics, energy and chemicals, as well as research and development (R&D) sectors, are the most sizeable since 2008, when Singapore drew over $18 billion in fixed asset investments.

Speaking to the media yesterday, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said: "Our efforts to keep our borders open, maintain external connectivity and ensure business continuity have given global companies the confidence to continue to site their projects in Singapore."

The Republic garnered $6.8 billion in total business expenditure last year, which was lower than the $9 billion seen the year before.

When the projects from the investments secured last year are fully implemented, they will create 19,352 new jobs over the next five years, with a projected contribution of $31.2 billion in value-added a year.

Notably, the R&D industry is expected to add more than 4,200 employment opportunities, while the headquarters and professional services segment will contribute more than 3,000 openings over the next few years.

In comparison, 2019's investments were predicted to create close to 33,000 openings and to contribute $29.4 billion in expected value-added a year.

Of the more than 19,000 jobs that will be created over the next few years, 45 per cent are in production and include roles such as process engineers and administrative assistants. Close to a quarter of the new openings will be in digital roles, such as cloud developers and software engineers.

Mr Chan noted that Singapore's focus is not solely on the investment amount secured or the number of jobs created.

"We want to secure investments that make us a critical part of the global value chain in different industries, so that we cannot be easily bypassed, so that we have the knowledge, we have the IP (intellectual property)... to make sure that we can entrench ourselves in the global value chain."

For the medium to long term, the EDB's yearly targets are fixed asset investments of between $8 billion and $10 billion, total business expenditure of $5 billion to $7 billion a year and 16,000 to 18,000 new jobs.

Mr Chan said while Singapore is optimistic about its prospects for the year, it cannot assume the road ahead will be a "walk in the park".

"We also need to be mindful that things can change very quickly... we must continue to be flexible and adaptable - Government, companies and workers."

BUSINESS & FINANCE