Keppel Corp a good example of how companies can pivot, grow new capabilities: Chan Chun Sing

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing visiting Keppel Corporation's headquarters on March 23, 2021. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - All companies large and small will need to pivot and grow new capabilities and seek new markets to overcome challenges as a result of Covid-19, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, who highlighted Keppel Corporation as a good example.

Following a visit to the corporation's headquarters in HarbourFront Avenue on Tuesday (March 23), Mr Chan highlighted Keppel's plans to pivot into new growth areas, specifically, sustainable energy solutions, connectivity and urban solutions.

"Today's Keppel is a very different Keppel from 10 years ago," he said.

"And from what I have heard from Keppel's plans, I am very confident that Keppel will be a very different company providing a very different suite of products and services in 10 years to come," he added.

The minister urged companies in Singapore to follow the firm's footsteps to keep pace with market developments and technology changes.

He noted that companies like Keppel, which was known for being building offshore oil rigs, are facing long-term challenges as a result of more consumers preferring sustainable energy sources.

Another challenge for companies is the accelerated the pace of technological changes as a result of Covid-19, said Mr Chan.

"In the past, a typical Fortune 500 company may have an average lifespan of maybe 40, 50 years. But today, if you look at the same Fortune 500 company, their average lifespan has gone down to below 20 years and maybe in the lower teens," he said.

To overcome these challenges, businesses of all sizes, from small and medium-sized enterprises to large local companies like Keppel, will need to seize opportunities and prepare itself for the future.

"Technology is neutral. Whoever that can master technology, have a better grasp of the mega trends impacting us, will be able to position (themselves) much better going forward, and emerge stronger from this crisis," said Mr Chan.

Keppel Corporation chief executive Loh Chin Hua, who also spoke to the media, said Keppel's long-term strategy Vision 2030 will reimagine what the business will look like in 10 years.

He noted that in January, it was reported that a semi-submersible built by Keppel FELS was acquired by SpaceX to be repurposed as launchpads for rockets - an example of how Keppel technology developed for the offshore industry could be repurposed.

New, higher-value jobs will also be created in Keppel as a result of Vision 2030, such as software engineers and data analysts, and existing employees will also have opportunities to upskill themselves, said Mr Loh.

But he also urged employees to take the initiative to develop skills in new growth areas.

"Whatever we do today, if you imagine that in five years you're going to do the same thing, then you are sadly mistaken," he said.

"We will have to constantly look at how we can improve and look at where the new areas of growth are, and then make sure that we are well-equipped to take advantage of these, when the company creates these opportunities," he added.

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