CITIES, INFRASTRUCTURE & INDUSTRIAL SOLUTIONS
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates that 55% of Asia’s population will be living in cities by 2030. Currently, 44 million people are being added to Asia’s urban population every year. This is equivalent to 120,000 people a day who will need the construction of more than 20,000 new homes, 250 km of new roads and additional infrastructure to supply more than 5,000 litres of potable water. These new cities are keen to address challenges such as overcrowding, traffic congestion, rising energy consumption and environmental degradation.
This will in turn drive demand for infrastructure investments. ADB estimates that Asia would require US$8 trillion worth of infrastructure investments from 2010 to 2020. The rise of the middle class in Asia is also attracting international manufacturing companies to establish production bases in Asia to be closer to their markets.
In the field of infrastructure, Singapore is regarded as the leading Asian infrastructure hub to develop, finance and implement projects in the region. Governments and companies in the region may not have sufficient resources to address their huge infrastructure demand, and are seeking stronger private sector participation in planning and financing. Thus the region could tap on Singapore’s capabilities in infrastructure development and the ecosystem of specialised financial institutions (project financing) and professional services to develop projects in Asia.
The above trends augur well for Singapore as the hub for Cities, Infrastructure and Industrial (CII) solutions. There are three key sub-clusters within CII, namely Engineering Services, Controls & Automation and Building Solutions.
Engineering services companies are instrumental in the development, design, construction and maintenance of industrial plants, infrastructure and buildings. The industry comprises Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) firms, engineering consultancies and specialist engineering services providers. In this industry, there is a good mix of multinational corporations (MNCs) (e.g. Jacobs Engineering, CH2M Hill, Chiyoda, Aurecon etc) as well as local players (e.g. Surbana-Jurong, Meinhardt etc.). In Singapore, the engineering services industry employs about 37,000 people.
Engineering services industry is one that relies heavily on people, strengthening talent capabilities would make Singapore more competitive. EDB is helping companies to build such capabilities through the Asia Leaders Programme in Infrastructure Excellence (ALPINE). Hosted by the Singapore Management University, ALPINE is an executive education programme aimed to groom Asia-ready project development talent and is the first of its kind in Asia. It aims to provide leaders a deep appreciation of infrastructure challenges and opportunities in Asia and to equip them with the skills and knowledge to identify, structure, finance, govern and manage Public-Private Partnership infrastructure projects. EDB is also working with Engineering Services companies to groom project managers with international project management experience.
Controls & automation companies are crucial for the successful operation of industrial plants, infrastructure and buildings. Their products and solutions include supervisory control systems, measurement & instrumentation, motion control and PLM software. Today in Singapore, the controls & automation industry employs over 9,000 people engaged in high-value activities such as headquarters services, R&D, engineering, project management, manufacturing and supply-chain management. 9 of the world’s top 10 controls & automation companies have significant presence in Singapore. Some of them such as ABB, Emerson Electric, Schneider Electric and Yokogawa, employ more than 1,000 people each in Singapore.
Today many companies are at the frontier of Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) adoption. The global trend of digitisation, enabled and enhanced by IoT technologies across all sectors, are changing the face of automation. Products, services and business models are transformed in the connected, real-time and data-driven marketplace. New service offerings are made possible via IoT technologies. This includes predictive & preventive remote maintenance, optimised asset management and big data-enabled production life-cycle management. Several global leading engineering companies and consultancies are tapping on Singapore’s diverse manufacturing installed base (with both discrete and process manufacturing assets) and the nation-wide drive for Smart Nation to develop new business offerings and push the boundaries of new IoT applications, particularly in the industrial space. To date, Emerson Electric set up its first global Centre of Excellence of Pervasive Sensing to help refinery and chemical companies on Jurong Island with remote monitoring and maintenance. Another leader in automation and controls, Rockwell Automation, established its global Integrated Control & Information Centre of Excellence in Singapore, to spearhead the development of IoT-ready next-generation industrial controllers and essential cybersecurity features.
FACTS AND FIGURES
- The Engineering Services industry currently accounts for about 1.2 per cent of Singapore’s gross domestic product and employs about 37,000 people.
- Nine of the world’s top 10 Control & Automation companies already have significant operations here, making Singapore the leading process control hub in Asia.
- Singapore hosts a growing number of global engineering design firms. One recent addition is M+W Zander Facility Engineering which established its global HQ in Singapore to better reach out to the Chinese, European and US markets. It is also the first German engineering design company to set up a global HQ here.