Speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat at the inauguration ceremony of TÜV SÜD on 8 September 2021.
Professor Axel Stepken,
Chairman of TÜV SÜD
Dr. Norbert Riedel,
German Ambassador to Singapore
MOS Tan Kiat How
Ladies and Gentlemen, including those who are joining us online
A very good morning. It brings me great pleasure to be here for the inauguration of TÜV SÜD’s new regional hub, TÜV SÜD@IBP.
We are fortunate to be able to meet here today, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In Singapore, with a tremendous effort from everyone, we have kept our situation under control. With a high vaccination rate coupled with robust safe management measures, we are learning to live with the virus. While there has been an uptick in infection cases recently, the number of seriously ill has remained low.
We are now also focusing on the future. Our economy is showing green shoots of recovery, with this year’s growth forecast at 6% to 7%. This is due in part to continued business confidence in Singapore. Despite COVID-19, EDB attracted a record S$17.2 billion in investments last year, the most since 2008. As a Global-Asia node, we continue to welcome investments here. Singapore can be a gateway for global companies to explore opportunities in Asia, and Asian companies can use Singapore as a launchpad to go global. We seek to partner more companies to contribute to our economic transformation, and to find ways to help realise the growth potential in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia.
Partnership with TÜV SÜD
In TÜV SÜD, we have a trusted and longstanding partner. I am delighted that even amidst the global economic challenges, TÜV SÜD is making a significant investment here. This S$100 million new regional hub in the International Business Park will house more than 60 laboratories. These labs will explore various state-of-the-art technologies as part of your global R&D efforts, which Axel spoke about. As the first regional hub outside of Germany that TÜV SÜD designed and built from scratch, this is a vote of confidence in Singapore and the region’s prospects. I look forward to this new regional hub adding to the vibrancy of Singapore as a global business and innovation centre.
This latest investment is yet another milestone in TÜV SÜD’s long-term partnership with Singapore. As mentioned by Ishan, TÜV SÜD’s presence in Singapore goes back to 2006 when you acquired PSB Group. That was your first significant investment in Asia and you have not looked back since.
Over the years, TÜV SÜD has contributed to advancing our manufacturing sector. For example, you partnered EDB to develop the Singapore Smart Industry Readiness Index, or SIRI. This world-first tool helps companies prioritise their investments in Industry 4.0 technologies. Last year, I announced that EDB is partnering the World Economic Forum, TÜV SÜD and other companies, to grow the pool of SIRI assessors. To date, more than 130 certified assessors from close to 30 different countries have been trained.
TÜV SÜD has also supported our home-grown robotic manufacturers in safety testing and certifications that are internationally recognised. This enables them to better access global markets. Some examples include Lionsbot's cleaning robots, which I recently had the opportunity to interact with, Xnergy's wireless robot charging system, and Sesto's Industrial Autonomous Mobile Robot.
Beyond manufacturing, TÜV SÜD has also contributed to a vibrant innovation eco-system. For example, you have been piloting autonomous driving through the Centre of Excellence for Testing & Research of Autonomous Vehicles.You also invested S$40 million into another Centre of Excellence to develop digital technologies and talent in support of Singapore’s Smart Nation efforts.
New Areas of Growth
Looking ahead, as we continue to transform our economy, there will be many exciting new opportunities. To capture these opportunities, we are seeking to broaden our collaborations with partners from around the world. So I’m glad that TÜV SÜD @ IBP will be a launchpad for us to collaborate on new areas of growth.
The first area of growth is in digital. Industry 4.0, AI, and the Internet of Things – these are reshaping and transforming industries everywhere. The rapidly growing digital economy presents a generational opportunity to propel the world into a better future.
But the digital revolution can only succeed if there is digital trust. A huge amount of digital data is being generated daily, and we must ensure that these data are adequately protected and appropriately used. This requires us to build up digital trust capabilities.
In this regard, I am glad that TÜV SÜD has played an active role in a ground-up industry-led effort on digital trust. Together with other corporate partners, TÜV SÜD will be part of a new Digital Trust Committee, commissioned by SGTech. The Committee will drive initiatives on digital trust, including establishing internationally recognised standards. I hope this will contribute to the growth of digital trust in the region. To guide the Committee, a separate Digital Trust Council made up of prominent business leaders will also be formed, with MOS Tan Kiat How as the Committee’s patron. I look forward to the Digital Trust Committee’s impact and TÜV SÜD’s contributions.
The second area of opportunity is in sustainability. The pandemic has provided a wake-up call to the world on the importance of tackling long-term, complex global challenges. In Singapore, we have laid out our vision of sustainable development under the Singapore Green Plan 2030.
So I was happy to hear Axel mention TÜV SÜD’s participation in the newly launched Plastic Recycling Association Singapore. This new initiative brings together industry and academia to exchange ideas to improve plastic waste management recycling. Through efforts such as these, we can reduce the amount of waste generated.
In addition, I am glad that TÜV SÜD will be launching a sustainability-as-a-service programme, to help our businesses adapt to the green economy. This programme will support SMEs in meeting customer and regulatory requirements, through gap analysis, training and certification. Supported by Enterprise Singapore, I hope this programme will raise awareness of new concepts and drive the adoption of standards. I encourage our SMEs to tap on this new programme.
Yet another sustainability initiative is the MOU between TÜV SÜD and ComfortDelGro Engineering, which we are witnessing today. This is a partnership to upskill automotive technicians on the safe handling of high voltage systems in electric and hybrid vehicles. This will in turn set new industry standards and nurture more skilled technicians as Singapore ramps up EV adoption.
The various partnerships that I have just highlighted show how TÜV SÜD is working with stakeholders in Singapore to pursue new opportunities. This can foster greater innovation, and add to the vibrancy of our industries. These partnerships also show TÜV SÜD’s commitment to digital and sustainability.
Walking the Talk with TÜV SÜD @ IBP
In fact, TÜV SÜD @ IBP is an excellent showcase of the tremendous possibilities in digital and sustainability. You have taken a digital building lifecycle approach - from design, to construction, and now to operations. Energy use has also been optimised with technology – energy consumption is half that of your old premise in Science Park. More broadly, I am also pleased to know that TÜV SÜD is working with the Building and Construction Authority to explore the use of technologies, including AI, for digital construction monitoring and smart facility management. These initiatives will further boost our efforts in transforming the built environment sector to become more efficient and sustainable.
As we look to emerge stronger from this crisis and position Singapore for long-term growth, we must find new ways to innovate, incubate new ideas and put them into action. We continue to welcome collaborations with TÜV SÜD and other like-minded industry players, as we work together to ride the waves of growth and the fourth industrial revolution in the years ahead. Let me conclude by wishing TÜV SÜD all the very best as you add yet another milestone in your partnership journey with Singapore.
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