Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) achieved investment commitments in 2021 in line with the medium- to long-term targets. The ability to consistently deliver on these goals reflect Singapore’s status as a strategic hub and a critical supply chain node for global companies.
EDB attracted investment commitments amounting to S$11.8 billion in Fixed Asset Investments (FAI) and S$5.2 billion in Total Business Expenditure per annum (TBE) in 2021. When these projects are fully implemented, they will create 17,376 new jobs in the coming years with a projected contribution of S$16.8 billion in Value-Added Per Annum (VA).
The country’s reputation for trust and stability, coupled with a successful vaccination rollout and the reopening of travel in the second half of 2021, bolstered companies’ confidence in Singapore as a choice location for new investments and expansion of ongoing activities.
The manufacturing sector remains a key pillar of Singapore’s economy, accounting for around 20% of the GDP. FAI commitments in 2021 were driven by large manufacturing projects from Semiconductor and Biotech firms, which accounted for more than 50% of commitments secured. Nonetheless, there were also new investments across sectors such as Agri-food, Chemicals & Materials and Electronics.
The growth of the digital economy contributed significantly to TBE commitments in 2021, as digitalization picked up pace across all sectors. Over the past decade, the digital sector has almost doubled its share of total jobs created through EDB-related investments.
Companies also capitalized on Singapore’s thriving research and innovation ecosystem to undertake more R&D and innovation activities. This included the establishment of new R&D centers, innovation platforms and partnerships with Institutes of Higher Learning and public research institutions.
These activities not only served to enhance their existing products, but helped spawn entirely new products and businesses, strengthening Singapore’s innovation capabilities and creating new job opportunities for Singaporeans.
In addition, EDB has been promoting innovation through corporate venture-building. The Corporate Venture Launchpad, launched in May 2021, provides a platform for large companies to create entirely new, globally competitive products, services, and business ventures from Singapore.
While the global economic and investment climate remains uncertain in 2022, Asia offers vast opportunities as the world’s fastest growing market for the next decade. By 2030, the region is expected to contribute to around 60% of global growth. EDB expects Singapore to remain attractive to global companies seeking to invest in Asia and for an increasing number of Asian companies seeking to expand globally.
EDB will continue to focus on high-growth and high-VA sectors which offer Singaporeans exciting job opportunities and entrepreneurial career pathways. Digitalization and the digital industry will remain a vibrant source of new concepts and business models.
The need to find healthcare solutions for an ageing population and resilience for infectious diseases will also propel investments in biotech and medtech. The push for sustainable solutions to combat climate change will give rise to new business opportunities in decarbonizing existing industries, and growing new types of enterprises for the green economy such as in carbon services.