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New Growth Strategies for Advanced Manufacturing in Singapore

At the recent opening ceremony of the Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific 2022 (ITAP) trade, Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, launched the updated Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) for five sectors from the Advanced Manufacturing & Trade cluster: electronics, precision engineering, energy and chemicals, aerospace, and logistics.

Singapore’s overall goal is to increase manufacturing value-added (VA) by 50% from 2020 to 2030. The strategies in the five ITMs help make this happen. This will be done by putting more emphasis on innovation, embracing sustainability, and training talented people to take advantage of job openings in the economy’s backbone.

In 2021, 22% of Singapore’s GDP will come from manufacturing. This is the largest part of Singapore’s economy. Electronics (including semiconductors), Precision Engineering, Energy & Chemicals, and Aerospace all made up 80% of Singapore’s S$372 billion in manufacturing output each year.

The Logistics sector is a key part of how goods get from Singapore to the rest of the world and back again. On the other hand, the new decarbonisation and sustainability goals are also changing manufacturing, as are the maturing of Industry 4.0 technologies like AI, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT), which have made the production of goods become more efficient than ever.

The ITMs show what Singapore wants to do in each of these five areas by 2025:

  • One of the most important places in the world for advanced electronics manufacturing and new ideas;
  • A vibrant ecosystem of digitalised precision engineering businesses with a global footprint;
  • A sustainable global energy and chemicals hub that supports green growth;
  • A global node for aerospace manufacturing, maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO), with leadership in engine MRO;
  • Asia’s leading logistics ecosystem.

Moreover, from S$2.2 trillion in 2020, the global electronics market is expected to grow to S$3 trillion by 2030. A lot of this growth will come from new megatrends like artificial intelligence (AI), electric cars, and 5G. Most likely, these application areas will need a lot more semiconductors than they did before. Because of this, semiconductors stand out as a subsector with high growth.

In addition, the updated Precision Engineering (PE) ITM aims to help the industry take advantage of digital manufacturing platforms and technologies to come up with new ideas and make products and services that are viable in global markets.

It also has plans to train and retrain workers in new technologies so they can take on high-value jobs in a) new growth sub-sectors like additive manufacturing, lasers and optics (L&O), and robotics, and b) growth sectors like complex equipment and mature sectors like precision components.

Furthermore, one of the most important is digital and industry skills like 3D modelling, product design and development, preventive maintenance management, big data analytics, and programming and coding are needed to support these growth areas.

The new Energy & Chemicals ITM has a two-pronged strategy to help the sector reduce its carbon footprint and take advantage of opportunities in the green economy and the continued demand for chemicals in Asia, which is driven by the growth of cities and the middle class. It will focus on making the private and public sectors better at coming up with new ideas. Aerospace ITM 2025 aims to solidify Singapore’s position as a global hub for aerospace manufacturing and Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) activities, with a focus on engine MRO. It also wants to make it easier for people in emerging areas to take part in future programmes for making planes.

The ITMs will help Singaporean businesses grow by helping with research and development, deep tech innovation, a lot of digitalisation, and protecting the environment. They will encourage partnerships between local small and medium businesses (SMEs), larger international businesses, and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) to help SMEs adopt new technologies and build the skills they need to take advantage of global business opportunities.

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