SINGAPORE - A global testing and certification giant has opened a new $100 million regional hub here, in a move Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat described as a vote of confidence in Singapore and the region amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
German company TUV SUD's new facility at the International Business Park in Jurong houses more than 60 laboratories to explore various technologies as part of the company's global research and development efforts.
The seven-storey office and laboratory facility spans 18,900 sq m - around two and a half football fields - and some 650 employees have moved there from their former premises at Singapore Science Park.
Speaking at its official opening ceremony on Wednesday (Sept 8), Mr Heng, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, noted that TUV SUD is making the significant investment amid global economic challenges.
"As the first regional hub outside of Germany that TUV SUD designed and built from scratch, this is a vote of confidence in Singapore and the region's prospects," he said.
Mr Heng noted that Singapore's economy is showing green shoots of recovery, and is forecast to grow at between 6 per cent and 7 per cent this year, partly due to such continued business confidence in the Republic.
Singapore continues to welcome investments here, he said, adding that as the country presses on to transform its economy, it wants to broaden collaborations with partners from around the world.
TUV SUD's new hub will be a launchpad for collaboration in new areas of growth, such as the effort to build trust in the digital economy, and in sustainability, he added.
The firm, founded in 1866 to inspect steam boilers regularly following a fatal accident at a German brewery, today certifies the security of businesses' data, among others. It offers safety, security and sustainability solutions, specialising in testing, certification, auditing and advisory services, and its new centre will create 50 new jobs in engineering and cyber security.
TUV SUD and ComfortDelGro Engineering also announced a partnership to develop a training programme to upskill automotive technicians on the safe handling of high voltage systems in electric and hybrid vehicles.
"Having such a programme in place will in turn set industry standards and also enable more skilled technicians to be readily available as Singapore works towards a more sustainable future," said TUV SUD.
The firm completed its first major deal in Singapore when it acquired PSB Corporation and PSB Certification - units of statutory board Spring Singapore - in 2006, a move that nearly doubled its resources in the Asia-Pacific region at the time.
TUV SUD then started operating here as TUV SUD PSB.
It invested $40 million in 2016 to build a Digital Centre of Excellence to develop technologies and talent in support of Singapore's Smart Nation agenda. This is now housed at the new regional hub in Jurong.
Dr Axel Stepken, chairman of TUV SUD's management board, said the new $100 million investment will "spur our ambitions in digitalisation and sustainability".
"Singapore and Germany are two countries which are actively working on shaping the future with innovative technologies and solutions designed to benefit people and the environment," he added.
TUV SUD chief operating officer and management board member Ishan Palit said Singapore is the company's "chosen destination to further invest in digital technologies, given its pro-business environment and skilled talent pool".