February 25, 2024

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Singapore’s EDB: Digital Transformation Prowess Amid Challenges

As the nation navigates a rapidly changing external environment, the Singapore Economic Development Board’s (EDB) collaboration with multinational corporations (MNCs) and the local business and research ecosystem takes centre stage. The focus on technology-driven sectors is evident, with key commitments aligning with Singapore’s strategic priorities for digital transformation.

Image credits: Singapore Press Centre, Infographic EDB Year-in-Review 2023

In 2023, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) achieved a significant milestone by attracting investment commitments totalling SG$ 12.7 billion in Fixed Asset Investment (FAI) and SG$ 8.9 billion in Total Business Expenditure per annum (TBE).

These commitments, when realised, are poised to create 20,045 jobs and contribute an estimated SG$ 26.7 billion in Value-Added per annum (VA). Notably, these figures surpassed EDB’s medium-to-long-term goals, signalling continued confidence in Singapore as a trusted hub for business, innovation, and talent.

Against the backdrop of a challenging global operating environment marked by geopolitical tensions and uncertainties, the flow of substantial investment commitments demonstrates Singapore’s resilience and attractiveness as a strategic destination. The island nation continues to be viewed as a gateway to the growing Asian region, emphasising its pivotal role in fostering business, innovation, and economic growth.

In a year marked by moderation in FAI commitments from the exceptional spike in semiconductor investments in 2022, the commitments remained robust, aligning with past trends. Global manufacturers in chemicals, electronics, healthcare, and aerospace continued to invest in Singapore, leveraging its strategic location and business-friendly environment.

The emphasis on Total Business Expenditure (TBE) commitments, job creation, and expected value-added to the economy increased in 2023, reflecting a rise in the number of investment projects. Headquarters (HQ) and Professional Services projects accounted for nearly 70% of the SG$8.9 billion in TBE per annum. This underscores Singapore’s evolving role as a services hub for the region, with a growing number of global businesses leveraging its vibrant ecosystem to tap into Asia’s growth.

The year also witnessed a notable uptick in investment commitments related to Research & Development (R&D) and Innovation activities. Multinational Corporations (MNCs) deepened their innovation footprint in Singapore, collaborating with the local Research, Innovation, and Enterprise (RIE) ecosystem.

EDB’s Corporate Venture Launchpad (CVL) programme played a pivotal role, aiding 25 large companies in nurturing new venture concepts in areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), data services, climate technology, and agricultural technology.

The expected job creation of 20,045 positions, when projects are fully implemented, demonstrates the diversified impact across sectors. Jobs in Services, constituting 58% of the total, are anchored by HQs and shaped by business priorities like environmental sustainability, digital transformation, and automation.

R&D/Innovation jobs make up 26%, encompassing cutting-edge technology, product development, and commercialisation. Manufacturing jobs, constituting 16%, reflect Singapore’s status as a highly automated, advanced manufacturing location.

As Singapore navigates the challenges of 2024, EDB remains focused on sustaining economic competitiveness. The investment commitment goals for the medium-to-long term include FAI of SG$ 8.0 – 10.0 billion, TBE per annum of S$ 5.0 – 7.0 billion, and job creation of 16,000 – 18,000.

The overarching strategy for 2024 involves transforming existing sectors by leveraging AI and digitalisation, strengthening Singapore’s position in the global value chain, building new growth areas in the green economy, AI, and precision medicine, developing local talent, and reinforcing the competitiveness of the local ecosystem.

EDB aims to stay ahead of the competition, fostering sustained economic growth, a vibrant business environment, and quality job opportunities, positioning Singapore as an attractive destination for global and Asian corporates and startups alike. This commitment reflects EDB’s proactive approach to digital transformation, aligning with Singapore’s vision of becoming a Smart Nation at the forefront of technological innovation.


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