SINGAPORE - Singapore has attracted one more technology giant to set up a research and innovation facility here, involving $250 million in investment over five years and the promise of 500 jobs for software engineers and designers, with 200 to be hired this year.
SAP Labs Singapore at Mapletree Business City is the first such facility by German software giant SAP in South-east Asia, and its 21st globally.
Such labs form the "backbone" in developing and improving the company's solutions, and the Singapore facility will focus on digital supply chains, sustainability, machine learning and artificial intelligence, SAP said at the lab's launch on Wednesday (March 23).
SAP is said to be the world's largest provider of software that helps businesses run operations and improve customer experience.
It is the latest to choose Singapore as the place to set up a research base, joining other enterprise tech companies like IBM, Accenture and Oracle.
At the lab's opening, which was attended by Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, SAP credited the coming together of government support, Singapore's start-up ecosystem, collaboration with local universities and talent access for its latest investment here.
The rising focus on sustainability in business, supply chain resilience and the accelerated pace of digitalisation due to the Covid-19 pandemic were also catalysts, it added.
The 50-year-old company has been operating in Singapore since 1989, noted the Singapore Economic Development Board.
Speaking at the launch, the board's managing director Jacqueline Poh said: "SAP's commitment to research and development fits very well with Singapore's own ambitions to create a vibrant and global competitive digital economy driven by innovation."
Adding that SAP already employs 1,100 workers here, Ms Poh said that SAP Labs will give Singaporean software engineers and designers valuable opportunities to "participate in the design of product features using some of the world's most ubiquitous products."
"SAP will also be setting up an exchange programme for product managers and engineers to take on short stints in SAP Labs overseas," she said.
Associate professor James Pang, co-director of the National University of Singapore's Business Analytics Centre, said he is hoping that 20 to 30 students out of his 130 to 150 yearly cohort will go on to work at SAP after collaborating on innovation projects arising from SAP Labs.
The department has partnered SAP for nine years in areas ranging from internships to projects, and already has a strong "alumni" in SAP, he said.
SAP's president for Asia-Pacific and Japan, Mr Paul Marriott, also sits on the NUS department's advisory board.
Mr Thomas Saueressig, executive board member of SAP SE for SAP product engineering, said that Singapore's focus on sustainability and its 2030 Green Plan are draws for the company. So is the Republic's diversity.
"I mentioned the importance of diversity for innovations. If I think about the fabric of Singapore, it is a multi-ethnic, multilingual and multicultural society," he said.