New Siemens Digitalization Hub will boost S'pore's Smart Nation efforts, says PM Lee

MUNICH - The new Siemens Digitalization Hub will boost Singapore's efforts to become a smart nation, and produce innovative digital solutions for the rest of the world, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The launch of the facility in MacPherson was held simultaneously on Tuesday (July 11) in Singapore and at the Siemens headquarters in Munich, where Mr Lee was the guest-of-honour.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Lee said the hub "will be the first of its kind globally". The Prime Minister and Siemens AG chief executive Joe Kaeser later unveiled a plaque in Munich to mark the opening of the Singapore facility.

The facility brings together data scientists, software engineers and other specialists from the urban-infrastructure, industrial and healthcare sectors.

It will develop and commercialise digital solutions across all business divisions in Siemens, Mr Lee said. This includes projects in urbanisation and digital industrialisation.

He added that Siemens, through the hub, is partnering with Singapore companies and universities on major projects.

It is working with Singapore Power to develop smart grids - electricity supply networks that use digital technology to detect and react to changes in usage - for Singapore and the region. The engineering giant is also working with ST Electronics to co-create new mobility applications.

Siemens has been a steadfast and valuable partner in developing Singapore's industries and workforce in sectors such as oil and gas, power, transport and healthcare, Mr Lee said.

He noted that Siemens first set up a technical bureau operating as a sales office in Singapore in 1908.

"I think it is fair to say that that beginning has led to success," he said.

Today, Siemens employs more than 1,500 people in its Asean regional headquarters in Singapore while its spin-off companies like semiconductor manufacturer Infineon also have a significant presence, contributing another 4,000 additional jobs, Mr Lee said.

He added that the digital economy is a driver for Singapore's future economy.

The country has built up strong digital infrastructure, he said.

Singapore currently hosts about 50 per cent of South-east Asia's data centre capacity, and the IMD World Competitiveness Centre recently ranked the country first in global digital competitiveness, he noted.

"In Singapore, we hope companies can try out innovative ideas expeditiously in a favourable, conducive environment... before scaling up for the region," Mr Lee said.

To support these efforts, Singapore's workforce must have the right skills and capabilities, he added.

That is why schools are introducing basic coding skills, while universities are rolling out compulsory undergraduate modules on digital literacy.

The national SkillsFuture programme to encourage lifelong learning also has study awards and training schemes to equip the workforce with digital skills such as data science and computer programming.

Mr Lee said Singapore values working with companies like Siemens, who invest in training and developing their employees.