Czech prospects for S'pore businesses

Above: Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mary, with members of the Singapore business delegation on a river cruise in Prague, with the Charles Bridge behind them. Right: Dr Tony Tan and Mrs Mary Tan with (from left) Mr Josef Knot, f
Dr Tony Tan and Mrs Mary Tan with (from left) Mr Josef Knot, first vice-president of the South Bohemia region; Mrs Tan Soo Khoon and Singapore Ambassador to the Czech Republic Tan Soo Khoon; Mr S. Iswaran, Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry (Industry); Mrs Kay Iswaran; Lord Mayor Dalibor Carda; and Mrs Josephine Teo, Singapore's Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, and Second Minister for Manpower and Foreign Affairs, in Cesky Krumlov.ST PHOTOS: RACHEL AU-YONG
Above: Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mary, with members of the Singapore business delegation on a river cruise in Prague, with the Charles Bridge behind them. Right: Dr Tony Tan and Mrs Mary Tan with (from left) Mr Josef Knot, f
Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mary, with members of the Singapore business delegation on a river cruise in Prague, with the Charles Bridge behind them.ST PHOTOS: RACHEL AU-YONG

Healthcare technology and advanced manufacturing among sectors with potential

Faced with an ageing population like Singapore, the Czech Republic is fertile ground for medical software that caters largely to the health needs of senior citizens, said Mr Roger Pang of Napier Healthcare Solutions.

The Singapore healthcare technology company, in a bid to enter the market, is looking for the hardware to install its software that will let elderly patients monitor their health, such as their heart rate and blood glucose level, at home and e-transmit the information instantly. This would allow their doctors to give advice remotely, without the patient having to travel to the clinic.

But the device has to meet European Union standards, Mr Pang, who is Napier's general manager for Asia-Pacific and Europe Sales, told The Straits Times.

Still, his company expects to roll it out in three months' time at luxury medical spas run by Czech firm Patritus, he added.

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Napier signed an agreement with Patritus on Wednesday.

"The Czech Republic is open to this technology, and the country is also a very digitally connected country," said Mr Pang, adding that his company's technology is already used in Australia.

IE Singapore assistant chief executive Yew Sung Pei said both Poland and the Czech Republic's connectivity and location in the heart of Europe make them good logistic bases for companies that plan to sell to the wider EU market of 500 million consumers.

Mr Pang is part of a business delegation from 15 companies, led by International Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Business Federation, accompanying President Tony Tan Keng Yam on his state visit to the Czech Republic.

Dr Tan also visited Poland earlier in the week. A main goal of the President's visits is to intensify economic cooperation with these Central European nations.

Yesterday, Dr Tan visited Interplex Precision Engineering, an advanced manufacturing company that makes automotive parts and is headquartered in Singapore. Its chief executive, Mr Alessandro Perrotta, who is in the delegation, said his company set up the Czech factory to take advantage of the booming automotive industry in the region. In the last two years, its growth had exceeded the 2 per cent to 4 per cent rise achieved by the automotive industry, he added, declining to give the dollar figures.

IE Singapore assistant chief executive Yew Sung Pei said both Poland and the Czech Republic's connectivity and location in the heart of Europe make them good logistic bases for companies that plan to sell to the wider EU market of 500 million consumers.

Poland, he added, is especially attractive to manufacturers because of its skilled labour.

Agreeing, Singapore Business Federation chief executive Ho Meng Kit said Poland, with 40 million people, also seems "hungry for investments".

Singapore company JCS Shrimps, which harvests and processes the crustaceans, is keen on expanding into Poland, said its director, Ms Belinda Lee, who is also the vice-chairman of the 75-member Seafood Industries Association.

She is optimistic that more seafood will be exported to Europe when trade regulations are relaxed with the ratification of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. "If there are fewer restrictions, then the only obstacle to trade here is gone," she added.

Earlier yesterday, Dr Tan made a day trip to Cesky Krumlov, a small mediaeval town in the south Bohemian region of the Czech Republic. He met the Lord Mayor of the Unesco World Heritage site, Mr Dalibor Carda. The leaders discussed ways to boost tourism and ensure sustainable urban development.

Dr Tan ends his state visit today and will arrive home tomorrow.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2017, with the headline 'Czech prospects for S'pore businesses'. Print Edition | Subscribe