Singapore continues to draw investments from global players including TikTok owner ByteDance, PayPal

Several companies have announced investments in Singapore this year including (clockwise from top left) DB Schenker, ByteDance, PayPal and Twitter. PHOTOS: DB SCHENKER, AFP, REUTERS

Singapore's business-friendly reputation continues to draw foreign investments - particularly from the technology sector - the dismal global economic climate notwithstanding.

Among the firms upping their stakes in Singapore is German logistics firm DB Schenker, which in May started operating a high-tech warehouse in the free trade zone of the Airport Logistics Park of Singapore in Changi.

The firm will be adding more than 250 positions here, in areas such as artificial intelligence, data analytics and process engineering, its vice-president for contract logistics and supply chain management Catherine Soo told The Straits Times yesterday.

Its $163 million Red Lion warehouse at the logistics park, the company's largest investment globally, spans over 550,000 sq ft - the size of seven football fields - across five floors.

The facility, its 13th here, brings DB Schenker's footprint in Singapore to 2.8 million sq ft.

The logistics firm is a unit of German rail operator Deutsche Bahn.

Meanwhile, Chinese tech start-up ByteDance also looks set to shore up its presence here.

The Beijing-based owner of video-sharing app TikTok, which has 400 staff in Singapore, is looking to spend several billion dollars and add hundreds of jobs here over the next three years, sources told wire agencies Bloomberg and Reuters yesterday.

TikTok has also reportedly moved some engineers to Singapore from China this year.

In the first half of this year alone, the Republic has drawn about $14.3 billion in fixed-asset investments - about 95 per cent of the total investment commitments for the whole of last year. The $15.2 billion drawn last year was a seven-year high.

Economic Development Board executive vice-president Kiren Kumar said: "Despite the uncertain environment, many companies from all over the world and across a range of industries continue to grow their operations in Singapore to serve Asia and international markets.

"This is because we are business-friendly, we are trusted to uphold the rule of law, we are highly connected, and we have a skilled and reliable workforce," he said.

Several other companies have announced investments in Singapore this year, Mr Kiren noted, citing the likes of PayPal, Rakuten, Kajima, Johnson Controls, Twitter and Zoom.

Paris-based insurance tech company Descartes Underwriting is also planning to open an office in Singapore, after raising US$18.5 million (S$25.3 million) in a recent funding round.

Along with the new investments come opportunities for workers here to gain new proficiencies.

DB Schenker's Ms Soo said the Red Lion warehouse has exposed staff to new ways of working.

The facility harnesses automation, such as with its in-house-designed robotic arm which utilises three-dimensional vision to pick, label and pack products simultaneously.

The warehouse also boasts sustainable features, such as 1,440 photovoltaic solar panels which cut energy use by about 35 per cent.

The logistics firm, which has been in Singapore for 50 years, intends to continue collaborating with institutes of higher learning on relevant supply chain projects, Ms Soo added.

"We hope these exchanges, along with our (operational experience), will help develop the next generation of supply chain professionals in this industry."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2020, with the headline Singapore continues to draw investments from global players including TikTok owner ByteDance, PayPal. Subscribe