Friday, December 2, 2016

Robotics & Automation are welcome to Singapore

Singapore is the country where I live. It is a small country in size (less than 6 million citizens) but big in initiatives to promote the Technology, Innovation, and Productivity.



Singapore has very special good conditions that make it really interesting for Robotics & Automation:


Government priority

This sector is so important to the Government, that this year the Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat unveiled a comprehensive package under the new Industry Transformation Programme (ITP) to stimulate growth for industries and firms [1]. It includes:

  • Automation Support Package, to support companies to automate, drive productivity and scale up: S$400 million[2] grants over 3 years.
  • National Robotics Programme: S$450 million grants over 3 years for the development and adoption of robots. These robots will be used in sectors such as healthcare, construction, manufacturing and logistics.
  • Up to S$4 billion under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 Plan will be directed to industry-research collaboration. The Government will provide a top-up of S$1.5 billion to the National Research Fund during this year 2016 to support these initiatives.
  • An existing Double Tax Deduction for Internationalization scheme has been extended up to 2020. IE Singapore is expected to support 35,000 to 40,000 companies to expand to markets overseas .
  • The Government created a new portal to help companies find the suitable grant for their needs (https://www.businessgrants.gov.sg). Very helpful considering the amount of schemes and agencies managing grants (IE Singapore, SPRING, STB, Design Singapore,...)


Educational Institutions

Singapore has a very good reputation in terms of education. There are several technical universities (NTU, NUS, SUTD,...) really well prepared not only for education but also for R&D, acting as incubators and being able to work with companies for the success of product developments.


Language and Culture

Singapore is a country with a mix of ethnic groups (74.1% Chinese, 13.4% Malay, 9.2% Indian, 3.3% others) and four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese and Tamil, being English the common business language. A country open to the western cultures, being ranked as one of the less corrupted countries in the world [3], secure and reliable. Singapore is a perfect hub between Asia and the rest of the world.


Communications

Singapore is a major international transport hub in Asia, serving some of the busiest sea and air trade routes. Currently the world's second-busiest port in terms of total shipping tonnage, it also trans-ships a fifth of the world's shipping containers. There are also eight airports in the country.

These privileged conditions make the Country really suitable not only to market in Asia, but also to the entire World. The diversity of the official languages and cultures eases the relationship with China, India, Vietnam or Malaysia for manufacturing purpose at low prices, while the headquarters, design and trading could keep in the country, with the help of a Government with a good understanding of the priority of innovation in our actual world.

Reference:
[1] Industry Transformation Programme
[2] Singaporean Dollar (S$) exchange rate
[3] Corruption perception index