Singapore secured S$13b in investment commitments in Jan-Apr 2020; exceeds EDB projection

SINGAPORE secured S$13 billion in investment commitments from January to April this year, already exceeding the Singapore Economic Development Board's (EDB) full-year projection of S$8 billion to S$10 billion, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said in a media interview on Saturday.

The investments, in areas such as electronics and infocomm media, are expected to generate a few thousand jobs in the coming years, said Mr Chan.

Secured despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, these long-term investments reflect the sustained confidence that many major investors and businesses have in Singapore, he added. "Throughout the crisis, we have been known as a safe harbour."

EDB executive vice-president Kelvin Wong told The Business Times that while the economic impact of Covid-19 is expected to last for some time, companies that have the capacity to plan for the longer term have continued to engage EDB on new projects.

The investment commitments secured from January to April come from a range of industries, including electronics as well as energy and chemicals. They include projects announced last year, such as ExxonMobil's expansion of its refining and petrochemical complex on Jurong Island, which will create 135 new jobs upon completion; Micron Technology’s expanded semiconductor plant; and STMicroelectronics’ new wafer fabrication facility.

"These and previously committed investments that are due to be realised over the next three to five years remain on track," said Mr Wong. But he noted that some projects may take a longer time to be implemented, due to current disruptions to construction timelines.

Mr Chan also cited examples of companies that are continuing to hire during this crisis. Micron intends to add 1,500 jobs in Singapore in the next few years, as global 5G adoption spurs the next wave of semiconductor demand.

E-commerce platforms Lazada and Shopee continue to hire for roles in data analytics, business development, and product development, with the pandemic having accelerated the rise of online shopping.

To meet rising demand for its Covid-19 test kits, life sciences multinational corporation Thermo Fisher Scientific has ramped up hiring in Singapore for manufacturing technicians, field service engineers, and roles in quality assurance, quality control, sourcing and procurement.