Singapore’s transformation program creates opportunities for Australia

09 May 2018

The latest phase of Singapore’s economic transformation program will open up new business and collaboration opportunities for Australian business.

Under the country’s S$4.5 billion Industry Transformation Programme launched in 2016, the Singapore Government developed Industry Transformation Maps aimed at raising productivity, developing skills and driving innovation in 23 sectors.

The aim of the transformation program is to position Singapore as a key node for technology, innovation and enterprise in Asia and around the world.

In April, the Singapore Government announced it would group these 23 sectors into six industry clusters to maximise opportunities for collaboration. These sectors are: manufacturing, built environment, trade and connectivity, essential domestic services, modern services and lifestyle.

‘The grouping of industry clusters from many to six priority sectors clearly identifies the areas that Singapore is interested in developing further. All of these sectors align neatly with Australia’s core capabilities,’ said Prerana Mehta, Senior Trade Commissioner A/g, Austrade Singapore. ‘For Australian businesses, this provides clarity around specific opportunities and increases the potential of partnering with and/or providing solutions across mulitple sectors.’

There are strong opportunities for Australian firms to supply solutions within each cluster:

  • Manufacturing (precision engineering, energy and chemicals, marine offshore, aerospace, electronics): Singapore is adopting automation and industrial IoT to improve operational excellence, so there are opportunities to assist in developing public infrastructure and industry-relevant technologies, and equipping workers with relevant skills to be future-ready.
  • Built environment (construction, real estate, security, environmental services): Singapore is seeking green building and smart city expertise and solutions. For example, the Building and Construction Authority has flagged that Singapore plans to build 10 integrated construction and prefabrication hubs to boost supply capabilities and capacity by 2020.
  • Trade and connectivity (air transport, logistics, land transport, sea transport, wholesale trade): Singapore is seeking technology and solutions for light rail that improve efficient operation and maintenance, in the areas of rail safety, track management and rail infrastructure management.
  • Essential domestic services (healthcare, education): Singapore requires healthcare services, medtech and biotech to cater for its ageing population; as well as targeted, skills-based training and research in niche ‘borderless’ education and institutional research.
  • Modern services (professional services, financial services, ICT and media): Singapore is open to collaboration to develop and adopt data science and analytics technologies, and boost the growth of a digital economy in sectors such as fintech and cyber security as part of its Smart Nation journey.
  • Lifestyle (food manufacturing, food services, hotel and retail): Australia can use its reputation as a source of clean, green quality produce to supply Singapore’s sophisticated consumers with premium food and beverage, including dairy, meat, horticulture and wine.

Australian firms have a significant presence in Singapore. For example, Australia is regarded as a leader in sustainability, safety and smart cities. Recent successes include Lend Lease and John Holland working on major projects with local partners, and Hickory partnering with a local construction company.

Major educational institutions are also collaborating on programs. Griffith University’s School of Education and Professional Studies and the National Institute of Education at Nanyang Technological University signed the first pre-service student teacher exchange agreement between Australia and Singapore, and Ngee Ann Polytechnic started an internship program that sends entrepreneurial students to work at NSW-based growth-stage startups for six months.

Australia is also building a strong reputation in broader technology sectors, including cyber security, fintech, edtech and startups. The Singapore Landing Pad is facilitating greater collaboration between the Australian and Singaporean startup ecosystems with more companies looking to Singapore to scale up and access South East Asia.

There are a number of upcoming trade events in Singapore that Austrade is supporting and where Australian businesses can participate, including:

  • CommunicAsia 2018 (26–28 June): Austrade will be providing business matching and market briefings to over 20 Australian firms
  • Science Month (September): Austrade is coordinating multiple events for a medtech delegation
  • EduTECH Asia 2018 (8–10 October): Austrade is supporting participating companies.

For more information about opportunities across ASEAN, see the ASEAN Now report.

Read the Singapore market profile or contact Austrade for more information.