S'pore taps more funds from AP businesses

Increased investment commitments from companies in the region contribute to the country's growth in manufacturing and services.

SINGAPORE--More companies from the Asia-Pacific region committed to investments in the island-state last year than in 2004, according to a new report from Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB).

Foreign investments make up about 75 percent of investment commitments, in both the manufacturing and services sectors, said the EDB Chairman Teo Ming Kian, at a media briefing today. These included companies with stakes in Singapore such as China's telecommunications equipment manufacturer ZTE Corporation and PC maker Lenovo, India's test engineering service provider Tessolve, and Australia's Business Intelligence Technologies, which specializes in developing and implementing business intelligence tools.

Teo said: "The investment commitments attracted last year are expected to contribute S$10.8 billion (US$6.6 billion) in value-added per annum to Singapore's GDP, and create 26,000 jobs when the projects are fully implemented." The EDB expects investments committed this year to contribute between S$10.5 billion and S$11 billion to Singapore's GDP, and create 20,000 to 25,000 jobs when the projects are fully implemented.

Foreign companies from the Asia-Pacific region, in particular, last year committed investments worth S$2.3 billion to Singapore's manufacturing sector, up from S$1.5 billion in 2004. The EDB defines investment commitment as the amount of resources announced during the implementation of a project. The benefits investment commitments bring to the country is measured in terms of value-added--the expected contribution to GDP (gross domestic product)--and employment creation.

Singapore-based companies committed to investments totaling S$2.2 billion in 2005, according to the EDB. Investments from local companies and those from the Asia-Pacific region contributed 52 percent of total investment committed to the island-state last year. In contrast, the United States and Europe had contributed 54 percent of the total investment committed to Singapore in 2004.

On the services front, the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Singapore) committed S$388 million in 2005, up from S$294 million in 2004. Singapore-based companies contributed S$575 million last year, down from 2004's S$832 million. The services segment, as defined by the EDB, encompasses infocommunications and media, education, logistics, healthcare, headquarter and professional services, engineering and environmental services.

At S$625 million, European companies increased their investment commitments significantly last year in Singapore's services sector, up from S$369 million in 2004. This propelled the U.S. and Europe's share of the total committed investments to 62 percent. U.S. companies pledged S$930 million last year, compared to S$766 million in 2004.

Singapore's infocomms and media industry segment contributed the most value-add per annum, which jumped 37 percent from S$1.3 million last year, to S$1.78 million in 2005.

In fact, several notable animation and games projects were carried out in Singapore last year including U.S.-based game publisher Electronic Arts' new development studio, and Chinese online games company Seasky Netjoy's international headquarters.

The EDB also announced the first computer animation school in Singapore, offering undergraduate and postgraduate degrees to anyone keen in pursuing 3D animation, simulation and games development. The DigiPen Institute of Technology's Singapore campus will be the first of its kind outside the United States.