Singapore Business Review (June - September 2024)

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Auction houses are expanding their sales to include more up-andcoming Asian artists as collectors seek a wider variety of artists and themes. Learn which artists are fetching high bids on the auction block on page 26.

Similarly, in retail, customers are driving a shift toward experiential shopping, prompting ION Orchard to embrace gamification. CEO Yeo Ming Hui shares her insights on the gamification strategy on page 34.

The investing space has also experienced a significant change. For the first time in 10 years, the healthcare sector overtook tech as the biggest M&A industry in Singapore. Turn to page 18 to learn more about the recordbreaking deals this year.

In the banking industry, a heightened sense of caution is driving developments, with consumers locking away over $4b to safeguard against scams. Read what experts have to say about the new money lock feature on page 20.

In our annual Technology Excellence Awards, we recognise tech powerhouses who have embraced digital disruptions and have unlocked worlds of opportunities for us to explore. Check out the list of award recipients on page 42. We also highlight the achievements of companies who have excelled in their industries through grit, strategic thinking, and resilience. Know more about the winners on page 70. Congratulations to everyone!

Read on and enjoy.

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Singapore's plan to raise retirement age sparks debate

In six years’ time, Singapore is set to shelter one in four citizens aged 65 and older, with the majority of them expressing a desire to remain in the workforce. Following the previous hike in retirement and re-employment ages to 63 and 68, respectively, in 2022, Singapore has announced its plan to further elevate these thresholds to 64 and 69, respectively, in 2026.


Why wellness in Singapore’s communal living is important

has become a popular choice for young adults, offering an affordable and accessible housing option. Successful cohousing examples such as Vinderhoute Cohousing Project, Belgium and Svanholm, Denmark, where residents share communal facilities, have been shown to decrease isolation, particularly in seniors, and enhance the quality of life and mental health of residents.

Sustainability, biomedical startups draw investors, founder focus

As the deadline for achieving net zero approaches, investors and entrepreneurs in Singapore are intensifying their focus on innovations addressing environmental challenges, as evidenced by the increase in green tech investments in 2023 — a trend expected to persist into 2024. The sustainability sector likely saw the most number of startups being created in 2023.

Gen Z pop culture is key to financial literacy in Southeast Asia

Last January, the financial services company awarded Southeast Asian schools and educators that successfully made financial literacy ‘fun’ for kids. Using Maybank’s localised and Gen Z-fied animated series, the programme spells a bright financial future for Southeast Asia’s Gen Alpha. However, financial literacy is needed now, especially by the newly minted Gen Z who entered a workforce plagued by global recession.

In creating chips, designers have the propensity to prioritise manufacturing ease over performance. To eliminate any compromise, Silicon Box has come up with a chiplet integration technology that can expedite chiplet design cycles and reduce the cost of new devices, according to CEO and co-founder Dr. BJ Han.

How governments can seize the GenAI opportunity

GenAI is a powerful tool for organisations. It is not only a technological innovation but also a socioeconomic one that impacts organisations and citizens. But like any new technology, the adoption of GenAI comes with opportunities and risks. How can governments take the lead to embed GenAI into their workforce and transform the business ecosystem by leveraging this technology?

Silicon Box breaks bottleneck in chiplet packaging with sub-5-micron

more than 410 projects 95% MABR market share

across 5 contients

World’s Highest Altitude MABR + MBR system

Largest High Altitude MABR WWTP World First MABR wastewater treatment in Nuclear Power Plant




DocuSign helps organizations connect and automate how they prepare, sign, act on and manage agreements. As part of the DocuSign Agreement Cloud, DocuSign offers eSignature, the world’s #1 way to sign electronically on practically any device, from almost anywhere, at any time.

Today, over a million customers and more than a billion users in over 180 countries use the DocuSign Agreement Cloud to accelerate the process of doing business and simplify people’s lives.


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S P Jain School of Global Management (SP Jain) is an Australian business school with campuses in Mumbai, Dubai, Singapore and Sydney. The School offers a plethora of undergraduate, postgraduate, professional and doctoral programs with a motive of crafting leaders for the 21st century workplace. The learning experience provided by them is modern, relevant and truly global. Their full-time MBA programs have significant recognition as evinced through global rankings by Forbes, The Economist and The Financial Times to name a few.

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Aless experienced employee can now beat a seasoned worker for an open position, as long as they possess AI skills.

This is because seven out of ten companies are reluctant to hire individuals without AI skills, according to the "2024 Work Trends Index Annual Report" by Microsoft and LinkedIn.

Such a trend offers a significant opportunity for employees who are eager for a career change and willing to upskill in advanced AI technology.

Power users

Generative AI use at work nearly doubled in six months, with LinkedIn noting a surge in professionals adding AI skills to their profiles

Employers acknowledge the significance of AI in hiring and operational practices, with 83% believing their company must adopt AI to stay competitive. Correspondingly, 84% of employees use their own AI tools at work.

Frequent AI users at work, known as "power users," regularly seek feedback from colleagues on effective prompts and explore various AI applications and are 26% and 38% more likely to engage in these behaviours, respectively.

AI power users are also more inclined to receive training, with 12% obtaining general guidance, 33% focusing specifically on prompt creation, and 10% learning how to tailor AI use to their specific roles or functions.

"Employees are empowering themselves by adopting agile and innovative tools, oftentimes not pausing for the rollout of a coherent AI vision and roadmap from their organisations,” said Ahmed Mazhari, president of Microsoft Asia.

“Leaders must demonstrate more appetite for rapid experimentation to realise the benefits of both productivity and increased metabolism in the industries they operate in,” added Mazhari.

New rule curbs biases against flexi work

Employers who oppose remote work solely because it deviates from traditional office norms can no longer deny this option to employees and may face consequences for doing so.

Starting 1 December 2024, under the new Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement, such requests can only be denied for legitimate business reasons like cost, feasibility, practicality, or impact on productivity.

“If an employer does not properly consider the employee’s formal FWA request or rejects an FWA request based on personal bias against FWAs, the employee can raise his concerns through his organisation’s grievance handling process,” Edric Pan, joint deputy managing partner and cohead of employment and insurance practices at Dentons Rodyk, told Singapore Business Review. Alternatively, employees can seek assistance from their union. If necessary, employees can consult the NTUC Workplace Advisory and the Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices for further support with their employer.

“In cases where employers are recalcitrant or wilfully refuse to comply with the guidelines, the Ministry of Manpower may issue a warning and require them to attend corrective workshops,” Pan said.

Three types of FWA

To prepare for the guidelines’ implementation, Tricia Tan, HR director for Southeast Asia & Greater China at Robert Walters, advised companies to consider the “various roles in the business and bring line managers early in the conversation and equip them in the consideration of such guidelines.”

“Considerations include established work practices, workload, impact on costs where relevant, and also to align performance reviews to output and outcomes, rather than presentism,” Tan said. She also emphasised the importance of discussing with line managers the available types of flexible work arrangements, identifying roles that might be suitable, and providing examples of feasibility.

Under the guidelines, there are three types of FWA: Flexi Place, Flexi Time, and Flexi Load.


align performance reviews to output and outcomes, rather than presentism

Pan explained that Flexi Place enables employees to work from various locations besides the office, whilst Flexi Time allows workers to choose different working hours without altering their total work hours or workload.

Meanwhile, Flexi Load allows for employees “with different workloads and with commensurate remuneration.”

Though firms related to F&B and healthcare may find it challenging to implement a FWA, e-pharmacy Glovida-Rx (GRX) is a shining example of the ability to do so.

Winthrop Wong, pharmacist and co-founder of Glovida-Rx, said the company allows employees who are mothers to start working after dropping their kids off at childcare or school.

Glovida-Rx also allows their employees to work remotely and has also eliminated the requirement for employees to provide a medical certificate to qualify for sick leave.

Wong, however, emphasised that granting of flexible work arrangements is nuanced and specific to each employee’s situation, requiring careful consideration to devise a suitable arrangement.

Flexi Place allows employees to work from various locations beside the office
Edric Pan
Tricia Tan

Trials target better management of treatment-resistant depression

Managing treatmentresistant depression (TRD) can take months to years, but Singapore is accelerating the process by embarking on trials of personalised transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) specifically tailored for Asian brains.

The Institute of Mental Health (IMH), which together with the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS Medicine) is spearheading the trials, defines TMS as a “non-invasive therapeutic modality that utilises magnetic fields to modulate neural activity in specific brain regions.”

The trials, namely Asia Pacific Individual Connectomics –Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

(APIC-TMS) and Singapore’s Precision Approach for Relief from Depression (SPARK-D), are modelled after the Stanford Accelerated Intelligent Neuromodulation Therapy (SAINT) protocol.

What makes the Singapore trials different from the SAINT protocol is that the former uses a “unique targeting algorithm” developed by Dr. Ruby Kong and Associate Professor Thomas Yeo from NUS. Yeo is the coprincipal investigator of the two trials.

“[The] algorithm can make more accurate and reliable analyses of TMS targets using less functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data, and is more likely to be relevant to Asian brains than the SAINT algorithm which was developed and tested in

The success with SAINT enabled patients to participate more fully in their lives and that of their loved ones after treatment

a Caucasian population,” said A/ Prof Yeo, who is also deputy director of the Centre for Translational Magnetic Resonance Research at NUS Medicine. Similar to the SAINT protocol, the trials aim for an 80% remission rate but with an Asian population, according to Dr Tor Phern Chern, senior consultant at the Department of Mood & Anxiety and head of the Neurostimulation Service at IMH, who is also the principal investigator for both clinical trials.

Clinical trials

As of the first week of May, the trials have provided treatment to four participants. “They have all shown a remission of their depressive symptoms,” revealed Dr. Tor.

In total, the study team will recruit 20 participants for APIC-TMS and 70 for SPARK-D.

“The success with SAINT, which enabled patients to participate more fully in their lives and that of their loved ones after treatment, or return to work and find more fulfilment, gives us confidence that similar outcomes may be achieved in Singapore,” said Dr. Tor.

“Published evidence from SAINT has shown us that personalised TMS can potentially bring about a paradigm shift in the management of treatment-resistant depression, going from a months-to-years long treatment to a rapid procedural one that delivers significant outcomes in a much shorter period,” he added.


Singapore leads the net-zero charge, but experts see room for three more decarbonisation strategies to further solidify its sustainability leadership.

The “Southeast Asia’s Green Economy 2024 Report: Moving the needle” report by Bain & Company, GenZero, Standard Chartered and Temasek suggested that Singapore enable virtual power purchase agreement (vPPA) via bilateral grid interconnection.

“At present, Singapore imports almost all its energy needs and is exploring strategies to diversify its energy sources,” the experts said.

“In November 2023, Singapore approved a fourth cross-border electricity contract, import of low-carbon electricity by Sembcorp from Vietnam,” the experts added. The report also suggested that Singapore build

a system to increase energy efficiency in data centres, given that the nation has a directive to have all new buildings be 50% more energy efficient than 2005 levels.

Biofuel production

The experts also suggested that Singapore invest in waste streams for biofuel production and low-carbon transition fuels for maritime.

The report referenced Singapore Airlines' successful SAF pilot with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and GenZero, which generated SAF credits for sale, as a rationale for the idea.

“In COP 28, Pacific International Lines, a Singapore-based shipping company, and DP World, a Dubai-based port operator, agreed to develop green solutions for the maritime industry,” it added.

Dr Tor Phern Chern (right), A/Prof Thomas Yeo (third from left), and the TMS treatment team from IMH (Photo from NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine)
GHG emissions in Southeast Asia
Source: Southeast Asia's Green Economy 2024 Report
Thomas Yeo
Tor Phern Chern


Source: Singapore Green Supply Chain Survey 2024

Executives lack tools for effective GHG analysis

Nearly two-thirds of Singapore’s executives have not fully measured or analysed the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) emissions within their supply chains, amidst a lack of appropriate technology.

Less than half (44%) indicated that their companies have all the necessary tools, technologies, and infrastructure to measure and analyse carbon footprints effectively, Schneider Electric’s survey revealed.

It was also seen that significant gaps in the engagement of Singapore businesses with their supply chain partners to calculate total GHG.

Maturity levels

There are significant variations in preparedness across sectors, roles, and seniority levels. For example, board members (58%) and C-suite executives (56%) are much more likely to perceive their companies as having the required technology compared to senior managers.

The real estate sector appears to be the most prepared, with 81% achieving full implementation, whilst engineering and

education sectors lag behind (both at 13%).

Despite the measurement gap, Singapore businesses are taking steps to green their supply chains. Measures include switching transportation routes, placing increased requirements on suppliers, and switching suppliers.

SMEs face particular challenges in meeting these requirements, with 95% of respondents believing it's becoming harder for smaller companies to supply larger ones due to increasing environmental requirements.

Half of the respondents indicated this situation is already happening – a sentiment shared by 60% of small businesses compared with only 48% of large ones.

Sixty-two per cent (62%) of businesses, particularly small ones (78%), have lost business due to strict GHG compliance, compared to 52% of large companies affect.

Additionally, 47% of all business leaders and 57% of small business leaders believe business costs will rise due to emission reduction requirements. To aid suppliers, 81% offer financial incentives, 74% provide expertise access ,and 28% offer training.

Stark difference in views by seniority, role, and sector
Singapore Green Supply Chain Survey 2024

How will HDB's self-listing portal impact the need for real estate agents?

Selling properties has always been the domain of real estate agents, but with Housing and Development Board's (HDB's) new self-listing portal allowing owners to sell their flats independently, it raises the question of whether there will be a reduced need for agents.

For many experts, the service's existence will not significantly impact the industry, believing that a lot of sellers would still turn to

professionals for assistance.

"Additionally, property agents are also equipped with a wide range of digital tools to help clients assess sales and price trends, as well as to market properties more efficiently," real estate portal PropNex said.

Real estate enterprise OrangeTee shared a similar sentiment, saying the older generation unfamiliar with technology or consumers who lack knowledge in managing property sales

may still prefer having a sales agent or broker to advise them on selling.

"Buying and selling a property is not merely an administrative process, especially since it involves a significant amount of money," OrangeTee said.

"Along with using a reliable platform, buyers and sellers must understand other sales aspects to ensure a successful transaction, which includes sales negotiation, awareness of buying and selling regulations, avoiding sales pitfalls, and arranging viewings," OrangeTee added.

OrangeTee added that not all sellers want to deal with sales matters. "Some may also require assistance in the paperwork and documentation. Moreover, some individuals may prefer to maintain their anonymity and keep their contact information private, preferring to have agents to act as intermediaries in such cases."

Whilst the service has its drawbacks, the flat listing portal will boost transparency in the market, said Huttons.

OrangeTee said having sellers submit a valid intent to sell and buyers having an HFE letter ensures "that the platform filters out buyers and sellers who have no real intention to transact, providing a more efficient and trustworthy service for all parties involved."




Singapore's harbour may soon be cleaner and free of chugging vessels as the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has mandated that all new harbour crafts must be fully electric or powered by net-zero emission fuels by 2030. Pyxis is assisting operators in electrifying and decarbonising their fleets to meet this mandate.

Founded by Tommy Phun, Pyxis aims to help existing maritime companies seamlessly electrify and decarbonise their fleets, addressing the increasing demand for greener solutions and setting a new standard for environmental sustainability in Singapore's waters and beyond.

“The name 'Pyxis' is Latin, and it represents a mariner’s compass. That’s our vision, per se, to try to create a greener, cleaner maritime future for generations to come,” said CEO Phun, who is well-versed in the maritime industry, with a background rooted in a 30-year-old family shipping business.

“[In our family business,] we operate and own vessels, and we have our own shipyard. But about three years ago, we received a lot of pressure from our customers to provide a greener solution,” he said.

The absence of widely available green solutions in the market made it challenging for Phun's company to qualify for certain tenders. This prompted them to step up and pave the way for that “green solution” not just for the family business but also for the entire maritime industry of Singapore. “So, that's one of the reasons why Pyxis was founded,” said Phun.

“The pressure became quite real and we realised that if we don’t do anything about it, five years, 10 years down the road, we risk becoming irrelevant,” he recalled. “We also realised that the same problem that [our] family business is facing is the exact same issues that so many other companies in Singapore and Asia are facing."

Solution in 3 Es

Pyxis offers a one-stop solution for existing maritime companies through its three Es: Electric vessel, Energy, and Electra.

“We are building and developing electric vessels with a very high degree of product market fit,” Phun said.

Pyxis’ second unit is Pyxis Energy, which was created a year ago to provide electricity and energy to mitigate the costs of powering coastal vessels.

“Right now, one of the biggest operating costs for coastal vessels is fuel. But as we electrify the new [vessels], the biggest operating costs will then become electricity. So Pyxis Energy is setting up in order to power the infrastructure to charge these vessels,” Phun explained.

The last E is Electra, which is Pyxis’ IoT-enabled software designed to manage digitalised data from electric vessels. It holds Pyxis’ onboard vessel management system.

Smile API eases loan process


Financial institutions and lenders rely on creditworthiness to grant loans, but assessing it can be challenging with only employment and payroll information. Smile API addresses this challenge by transforming employment data into credit data.

“In many parts of Asia, excluding Singapore, you don’t have very good access to credit cards. So, many people would actually go to lending companies if they need cash,” Jerome Eger, CEO of Smile API, said in an exclusive interview.

“But the problem arises when you don’t have a credit score. Financial institutions need to know if they can trust you to repay the money. They need to confirm that you have a job to ensure repayment, and Smile helps to do that,” Eger explained.

For example, in the Philippines, loan applicants must traditionally provide a Certificate of Employment and payslips as proof of employment and income..

Convenient connections

One key element on Smile API’s platform is that the customers are in control of their data: the platform not only offers to secure the employment data, but also makes sure that there is


consent from the customers’ side to share their data with FIs.

“There is a consent checkmark. You have to consent to sharing your information with your bank and Smile helps you to facilitate this. So you just have to give consent to do that and then we go and work on that,” he said.

This condition helps provide convenience and transparency for both the FI and end user, he added.

“Our customers are financial services, and once they use Smile’s service, we have a visual code snippet that we can integrate into their app. So think about your banking app; as soon as your bank becomes our customer, you will have the possibility to connect your payroll account within your banking app without having to leave the app,” Eger explained.

Prefer turns food by-products into coffee

Bread is no longer just an accompaniment to coffee; it has become a primary ingredient in making one, specifically the bean-free brew developed by Prefer.

Prefer offers bean-free ground coffee compatible with standard espresso machines to B2B customers, including cafes, coffee chains, distributors, and flavour houses.

“We source food commodity byproducts which are ubiquitous, such as barley, bread, and soy.

This approach allows us to partner with and scale alongside food manufacturers, whilst ensuring that production costs remain economical,” Tan Ding Jie, CoFounder and CTO at Prefer said.

The bean-free coffee market is largely untapped worldwide, with only a handful of companies globally offering the product, according to Tan.

Prefer especially highlighted its product as a more sustainable coffee option.

Tan says that the product future-proofs coffee against climate change and helps safeguard farmland and supply.

Prefer also offers ready-to-drink bottled coffee for quickservice food businesses, events, and retail shelves, says Jake Berber, co-founder and CEO of Prefer.

Despite being new, Prefer has secured $2m seed funding from Forge Ventures, 500 Global, A*ccelerate, Better Bite, Sopoong, SEEDS Capital, Entrepreneur First, and Pickup Coffee. With this funding, Prefer aims to expand production and explore new applications for their beanfree coffee.

Jerome Eger, CEO of Smile API
CEO Tommy Phun (bottom right) and the Pyxis team

Securing wealth for generations through trust planning

Trusts offer a powerful tool to manage and protect your assets, ensuring they are distributed efficiently and privately to your loved ones for generations to come.


planning is a crucial part of ensuring the well-being of one’s self and their loved ones. A well-crafted estate plan ensures wishes are carried out, minimises confusion and potential conflict amongst inheritors, and safeguards legacy for future generations.

Whilst traditional methods like wills have been a cornerstone of estate planning, they can be limited in their ability to provide control and privacy. This is where trusts come in, offering a powerful and flexible tool to protect wealth. Explore further how individuals can safeguard their legacy and ensure their wishes are met with trust solutions from Metis SG, a subsidiary of the Metis Global Group.

The power of trusts

A trust is a legal arrangement wherein the individual setting up the trust, known as a settlor, transfers their assets to an appointed trustee, who will then manage and administer the assets for the benefit of your beneficiaries in accordance with the terms and governing law of the trust.

The settlor’s letter of wishes is one of the factors that the trustee will take into consideration when making distributions of the trust assets to the beneficiaries.

Though wills and trusts can be and should be used together in estate planning, the assets designated in each can differ. In a will, beneficiaries and the percentage of the share allocated to them will be publicly known to all beneficiaries. However, if that percentage nominated in the will is directed into a trust, the identities of the beneficiaries of that trust can remain private and confidential.

Unlike wills, which go through a lengthy and potentially public probate process, trusts protect assets from creditors and do not pass

through the probate process. This means a faster and more private distribution of assets to beneficiaries. This can take place in as short as seven working days, compared to months or years for wills. Moreover, trusts are often established to protect the interests of young or vulnerable beneficiaries who are unable to manage their own financial affairs. This will ensure that your beneficiaries will be protected in the years to come.

Trusts can be established for various financial situations and are great tools for anyone looking to safeguard their legacy. Whilst it is commonly believed that having a trust is only for the wealthy and requires millions of dollars in assets to be set up, the rise of Singapore’s mass affluent population has compelled Metis SG to reevaluate the accessibility of trusts to allow more people to enjoy the advantages they provide.

Setting up a trust

There are several key factors to consider before deciding to set up a trust. First is the cost involved in establishing and maintaining the trust – usually covering legal, administrative, and management costs. Individuals should also make sure that their trust is created in good faith.

Furthermore, assets which the settlor place inside a trust would no longer belong to the settlor as the trustee would now hold the legal title of the trust asset. Whilst this may not align with the settlor’s preference for full ownership, the settlor still has the freedom to give directions on how they want their assets to be managed and distributed to their beneficiaries. Trustees are meanwhile bound by their

duty to administer the trust in the interest of the beneficiaries specified by the settlor.

Building a trust journey with Metis SG Metis SG aims to make trusts simple, accessible and affordable for everyone by offering two different trust plans that cater to individuals from different backgrounds.

Its SapphirePRO plan is a regular contribution trust plan that allows settlors to commit to a contribution term ranging from 5 to 30 years, with a monthly contribution of as little as $500. Meanwhile, its CitrinePRO plan is a single-contribution trust plan with a minimum contribution amount of $30,000.

The contributions that clients make to their trust will be received into the trust as trust assets and then be used to purchase units in mutual funds of their choice. Both of Metis SG’s trust plans allow clients to choose from more than 200 individual funds that are managed by reputable fund managers. They can also invest in a fund that is not listed in the trustee’s asset listing, as long as Metis SG can support the client’s trade. Apart from choosing which funds to invest in, Metis SG’s clients can also freely switch between funds to maximise their potential returns. This flexibility helps combat inflation by ensuring the trust's assets have the chance to grow over time.

Trust planning is vital for securing wealth and ensuring seamless asset transfers. They offer privacy, and efficiency compared to traditional wills. Plan for the future. Visit Metis SG here or connect with them on LinkedIn and YouTube to learn more about their innovative trust solutions.

Trusts can be established for various financial situations and are great tools for anyone looking to safeguard their legacy

Trust planning is vital for securing wealth and ensuring seamless asset transfers
Alex Ng is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Metis SG

Surbana Jurong's new HQ integrates green spaces and smart technology

The headquarters features biophilic elements that enhance natural light and air circulation.

When Subana Jurong (SJ) was designing its new headquarters, it had the term “eco-friendly” in mind. The result is a 742,000-square-foot headquarters that aims for 60% energy savings and net zero emissions by 2030.

Designed by Safdie Architects, the architects behind the Jewel Changi airport, SJ’s “Campus in Nature” makes use of biophilic elements aimed at maximising natural light and air circulation to help enhance employee well-being and productivity, says Sean Chiao, group CEO of Surbana Jurong.

The campus, which is located in the Jurong Innovation District, expands beyond being a corporate office and also offers lifestyle amenities such as F&B outlets, a clinic, and a childcare centre.

This approach sets new standards for integrating natural environments into urban office spaces, reflecting Singapore's commitment to being a "City in Nature.”

The "Campus in Nature" stands out not only for its environmental sustainability but also for its focus on creating a supportive and healthy workplace for its 4,000 on-site employees. This project demonstrates how modern office design can harmonise with natural ecosystems whilst fostering collaboration and innovation.

With smart lighting controls, extensive green spaces, and a focus on employee health, SJ's headquarters exemplifies how workplaces can evolve to meet contemporary sustainability goals and improve quality of life, Chiao told Singapore Business Review.

6 With a built-up area of 1.2 million sq ft, the

is able to accommodate amenities designed for employee

Sean Chiao
1 The SJ Campus surrounded by greenery to promote a biophilic community.
4 With sufficient natural lighting, the Campus is able to save energy.
2 The design was crafted by the minds of SJ and Safdie architects.
5 A view of one of the Campus’ ten interconnected towers.
3 The new headquarters houses 4,000 of SJ’s talents.

The future of workplace well-being: A holistic approach through technology

Explore the crucial role of technology, leadership initiatives, and innovative Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) in promoting health and productivity.

In an era where the boundaries between work and personal life are increasingly blurred, fostering a workplace culture that prioritises the holistic well-being of employees has become a concern for organisations.

Addressing this challenge requires a thoughtful integration of technology, leadership initiatives, and innovative approaches to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).

In this article, we delve into key aspects of promoting health and productivity, cultivating a thriving workplace culture, and the evolving landscape of digital well-being solutions.

Health and Wellness for Today's Employees

Promoting positive physical and mental wellbeing begins with an understanding of the diverse needs of employees.

“Whilst a step challenge or yoga class are great ideas, they are pointless if there is no uptake or employees are overloaded with work and do not have time to engage with them,” stressed global health and wellbeing provider Telus Health.

The organisation noted that employers must start by monitoring employee workloads to ensure they are manageable and will not lead to burnout. Most importantly, employers have to seek the input of their employees on what will support their health and well-being to ensure they will partake in such initiatives.

Technology and digital tools play a pivotal role in supporting this endeavour. Specifically, modern EAPs leverage digital platforms to offer accessible, confidential, and personalised support. These platforms provide a range of resources ensuring that employees can access support in a way that suits their preferences and schedules.

TELUS Health's approach combines digital and in-person services, offering a comprehensive solution that adapts to individual circumstances. This seamless integration of technology enhances access to care, effectively supporting employees in their well-being journey.

Cultivating a Healthy, Productive Workforce:

The Leadership Imperative Leadership likewise plays a crucial role in creating an environment that promotes both health and productivity. By fostering a positive culture that values employee well-being,

leaders can mitigate burnout and absenteeism. Creating a safe and inclusive workplace, coupled with comprehensive training on appropriate support measures, significantly contributes to a healthy work environment.

TELUS Health emphasises the importance of leadership in shaping a positive workplace culture, recognising that leaders are instrumental in embedding a culture that prioritises the health and well-being of employees. “Whilst most managers will not be trained medical professionals, they should be trained on what the appropriate support measures are,” the company stated.

Creating a Thriving Workplace Culture: Strategic Planning & Technology Integration

TELUS pointed out that businesses often implement a random mix of programmes for employee well-being and engagement, leading to initiatives that are not well thought out and usually ineffective. Given this, organisations need a strategic plan with measurable metrics to promote employee well-being effectively. Technology can be very helpful in facilitating a thriving workplace culture, particularly in the current landscape of flexible and remote work. By offering a common digital platform that caters to individual well-being needs, companies can engage employees more effectively, ensuring that well-being programmes are adaptable and impactful.

TELUS Health advocates for this strategic approach, aligning well-being initiatives with business goals and effectively utilising technology to tailor programmes to each employee's unique circumstances.

Digital Workplace Wellness Platform: Meeting the Needs of Modern Employees

Access to services was once limited, but this changed with the rise of the digital-first approach. The concept of a 24/7/365 digital workplace wellness platform addresses the evolving needs and schedules of modern employees. These platforms empower employees to engage in their well-being journey on their terms.

The evolution of Employee Assistance Programs in the digital age signifies a shift toward a more accessible and varied support system. Supporting holistic needs, modern EAPs encompass resources for physical and mental health, financial and legal assistance, and nutritional counselling.

TELUS Health's digital workplace wellness platform recognises the shift in the modern workforce and ensures that employees can seek care at their convenience. Its network of counsellors and affiliates are also trained in various areas including social work, psychology, and human services.

Real-Time Employer Data and Analytics: Harnessing the Power of Insights

Gathering and analysing employee health and well-being data in real-time presents both challenges and opportunities.

A data-driven approach allows organisations to design targeted wellness programmes. Working with digital workplace wellness leaders like TELUS Health enables organisations to navigate the complexities of data usage, ensuring that metrics are privacy-compliant and focused on improving collective business outcomes.

The future of workplace well-being lies in the harmonious integration of technology, proactive leadership initiatives, and data-driven strategies. By embracing a holistic approach that adapts to the diverse needs of employees, organisations can cultivate a thriving workplace culture that enhances both employee well-being and productivity.

GuocoLand’s Lentor Mansion reduces heat and energy costs with green features

It oriented the building north-south to reduce west-side warming.

Balancing the need to combat rising temperatures whilst keeping carbon emissions low is challenging for most developers but not for GuocoLand, whose latest project, Lentor Mansion, addresses both concerns.

The 533-unit Lentor Mansion is equipped with rooftop solar panels across its six residential blocks, offsetting energy consumption in common areas by 60%, well above the minimum 30% replacement required by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to grant a Green Mark Platinum Super Low Energy (SLE) certification.

Beyond solar panels, Lentor Mansion utilises air conditioners with five-tick ratings from the National Environment Agency (NEA) to save energy and manage heat

in residential units and common areas.

GuocoLand also used specialised glass and highquality stone polymer composite vinyl flooring in the units of Lentor Mansion.

Dora Chng, residential director at GuocoLand, said the special glass can reduce heat gain within the units. Meanwhile, the stone polymer composite vinyl flooring, apart from being a greener product, is also water, scratch, and stain resistant.

Beyond the construction materials and fixtures, GuocoLand paid special attention to the building’s orientation to minimise heat and achieve maximum ventilation in the development.

1 Rooftop solar panels power 60% of Lentor Mansion’s energy consumption of common areas, including the clubhouse, "The Mansion."

2 GuocoLand enhances residents’ wellness at Lentor Mansion by incorporating multiple pools and water features.

3 Lentor Mansion features specialised glass to reduce heat gain in units and North-South-facing building towers to minimise sun exposure.

4 Lentor Mansion integrates greenery from Hillock Park, bringing nature into the residential spaces, with recreational facilities like Forest Camp.

5 The many amenities at Lentor Mansion, such as the Forest Trail, are spaces where residents can enjoy and soak in the natural environment without leaving the development.

6 Lentor Mansion was inspired by Singapore’s iconic black-and-white bungalows, traditionally surrounded by lush greenery in wooded environments.

Dora Chng


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Healthcare sector sees renewed interest from corporate buyers

The healthcare industry recorded a deal value of US$1.13b (SG$1.53b) between January and April.

Corporate buyers are increasingly returning to the healthcare sector to acquire bolt-on targets as valuations cool amidst a persistently challenging private equity (PE) exit environment.

Deals such as Fullerton Health’s sale to Far East Drug Co. and the acquisition of Eu Yan Sang by Japan’s Mitsui and ROHTO Pharmaceutical are a testament to this trend.

These two high-profile control deals helped propel healthcare to become the industry with the biggest mergers and acquisitions (M&A) by deal value in Singapore this year, according to Yiqing Wang, managing editor for Asia Pacific at Mergermarket, a service of ION Analytics.

Despite only having four deals, the healthcare industry recorded a deal value of US$1.13b (SG$1.53b), accounting for 25% of deal value recorded in Singapore from January to April.

The sector’s deal value in the first four months of 2024 is already above its 2023 record of US$464m.

“For the first time in the past 10 years, healthcare has overtaken technology to be the biggest M&A industry in Singapore,” Wang said.

Technology, which was in second place, recorded a deal value of US$1.03b (SG$1.39b), accounting for 23% total deal value for the January to April period.

Craig Loveless, partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, said the M&A activity within the technology sector remains strong, with AI seeing an increase in deals.

Apart from technology, Loveless points to the energy sector as a main driver for M&A activity in Singapore.

Elaine Tan, senior manager at LSEG Deals Intelligence, said Consumer Products & Services is also a key sector for M&A deals by deal value in Singapore.

Amongst the biggest deals that the Consumer Products & Services sector will see this year is Alibaba Group’s pending US$3.75b (SG$5.07b) acquisition of the remaining interest it did not already own in Cainiao Smart Logistics Network from Singapore’s GIC and Temasek, Shen Guojun, and Malaysia’s sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional. Industrials and Financials are also leading sectors in M&A activity by deal value in Singapore, said Tan.

In 2023, financials was also amongst top industries by deal value, bolstered by Japan-based Sumitomo Life’s acquisition of Singapore Life Holdings.

Rising Japan investments

Tan said Japanese investments and acquisitions in Singapore have been on the rise as companies in the East Asian country seek diversification and growth opportunities outside Japan.

“Japan's increased foothold in Singapore and Southeast Asia stems from a confluence of factors, including a growing consumer market, strategic location, and the access to technological advancements,” she said.

For the first time in the past 10 years, healthcare has overtaken technology to be the biggest M&A industry in Singapore

In 2023, Japan outbound acquisitions in Singapore increased by fourfold from 2022 to almost US$3.0b (SG$4.05b), marking the highest annual total since 2020. “Number of deals grew 13% YoY and saw the busiest year since 2019,” Tan told Singapore Business Review. Singapore also accounted for 45% of Japan’s outbound M&A activity in Southeast Asia.

Despite increased investments, Japan was only second to the United States in the list of most active acquirer nations targeting Singapore in 2023. Data from LSEG showed that Japan had a market share of 25.9%, whilst the United States posted a 27.4% market share.

DEAL #1:
Craig Loveless
Yiqing Wang

Creating Thriving Communities

As a Group, we create places for everyone by shaping cities, creating connected communities and deliver workplaces of the future, right around the world.

Over the years, Lendlease Global Commercial REIT has collaborated with various organisations and enterprises to benefit its community to be a kinder and more inclusive place. We have worked closely with our partners over the years to:

• Validate accessibility for people with disabilities at the Jem, a retail mall in Jurong Gateway.

• Educate students on implementing sustainability at our malls

• Support awareness for treating neurological conditions

• Collaborate with partners to provide meals for the disadvantaged

Transcending boundaries, creating possibilities

Collaborating and engineering solutions

The Halliburton Singapore Material Science Laboratory stands as our Global Center of Excellence, spanning an area of 18,000 ft2 (1,672 m2). The ISO17025 accredited laboratory is dedicated to to providing a comprehensive range of testing services for both polymeric and metallic materials, focusing on performance evaluation and quality assurance.

For more information scan the QR code.

Hosted a sustainability tour at Jem for Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
Partnered Dignity Kitchen to prepare muffins for AWWA children.
Over S$100,000 raised at NNI fundraising exercise.
Scan here to view LREIT’s factsheet
Partnered Dignity Kitchen to prepare and distribute bento meals to the residents in the community.
Collaborated with the Disabled People’s Association to develop an access guide for Jem.


Why Singaporeans are okay with locking away over $4b of their money

Customers can only access ‘locked’ money with a physical card or by visiting a branch.

Customers’ funds can be locked via banks’ mobile apps, but cannot be unlocked the same way

With the number of financial scams on the rise, banks have rolled out a feature enabling their customers to “lock” their money via the Money Lock Feature, barring the funds from being used, withdrawn, or transferred online. Some banks–notably OCBC–took the extra step to not allow funds to be unlocked via their apps.

This comes after a series of phishing scams rocked one of Singapore's largest banks by assets, leading for rules on clickable links and transfer notifications to be revised. Default fund transfer values were made even smaller at just S$200.

Locked money also cannot be withdrawn or transferred via the online banking portal or through ATMs. Unlocking can only be done via ATM with a physical card, or via visiting a physical branch.

Over $4b locked up

The extra friction may be the “harshest” yet in terms of accessibility, but if reception was any indication, Singaporeans are more than willing to take on the extra friction for protection.Just three months into its launch, the

feature has been activated by 38,000 accounts in Singapore, with a total value S$3.2b locked up, according to data gathered by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS).

“Whilst the money lock approach taken by various banks varies, they share a similar objective of protecting customers from scams by adding a layer of safeguard should their digital access to bank accounts be compromised,” Ong-Ang Ai Boon, director of ABS, told Singapore Business Review when asked about the rationale behind the feature.

Service roll-out

Banks have all taken different approaches on how or where to apply the feature. OCBC, for example, launched the service in their time deposit accounts apart from just their digital and internet banking apps. In February 2024, OCBC’s total value locked up had already surpassed that reported for the whole industry just a month earlier: at $4.7b in value across 42,000 OCBC accounts.

“Customers like the convenience of being able to use our OCBC digital banking platforms to easily

lock excess funds in their existing bank accounts without ‘losing out’ on attractive interest rates, such as the bonus interest earned on their account balances in the OCBC 360 Account,” Beaver Chua, head of anti-fraud, group financial crime compliance, OCBC, said when asked about why customers may have been keen to adopt the feature despite the extra friction.

Banks have also assured customers that “locked” money won’t lose out on interest. UOB, for example, offered an interest of up to 5% per annum for deposits up to S$125,000 that were locked under its UOB LockAway Account. The offer was available until 31 March, which may also have helped encourage customers to take up the service.

“They also recognise that the unique features of the account, such as the withdrawal of locked-up funds only at branches, are effective in keeping their hard-earned monies safe,” said Jacquelyn Tan, head, group personal financial services, UOB, speaking about the UOB LockAway Account.

Anti-scam features

Banks were mum on whether the money luck feature would become a mandatory requirement for all customers in the future. Instead, representatives said that they will continue to encourage their customers to adopt money lock and roll out other security features.

“We rolled out multiple anti-scam measures such as disrupting digital banking when unauthorised or risky apps are detected, instituting a cooling period of 12-hours for adding new payee, and SMS notifications when new payees are added,” Tan said.

OCBC, meanwhile, introduced a “kill switch” — an emergency feature that enables customers to immediately freeze all their accounts, their digital app access, and all their cards, according to Chua.

These features are much needed safeguards, both Tan and Chua said.

Ong-Ang Ai Boon
Beaver Chua
Jacquelyn Tan


Redevelopment a toss-up between city retail, CBD offices

CBD and Orchard Belt have seen numerous redevelopment projects propelled by URA incentives.

Singapore's incentive programme for redevelopment projects has put a spotlight on office and retail properties, particularly in the Central Business District and Orchard shopping belt. For those planning to leverage these incentives, Singapore Business Review compiled expert opinions to help evaluate which area and type of asset presents better investment opportunities.

Jeremy Lake, managing director of Investment Sales and Capital Markets at Savills, said retail shopping centres offer higher rental yields than office buildings.

“Property yield which an investor can enjoy [for office buildings] on day one is around three and a half per cent, whilst retail shopping centres is maybe near four-and-a-half per cent,” Lake told Singapore Business Review.

Whilst retail offers a higher rental yield, Lake underscored that there are not very many opportunities within the sector as assets are “quite tightly held.” In comparison, the office market has a “few deals around.”

Retail assets are also harder to manage as they require a “skill set in terms of curating the right tenant mix,” said Lake. “Office buildings are more straightforward.

Retail opportunities

Despite the need for more asset management , investors continue to find retail shopping centres appealing.

The Orchard shopping belt, for one, has seen quite a number of activities including the sale of Delfi Orchard to City Developments Land; Tanglin Shopping Centre to Pacific Eagle Real Estate; and Ming Arcade to Royal Group of Companies.

These properties are all ripe for redevelopment, which means that their buyers did not buy for “immediate rental returns.” The opposite is the case for suburban retail assets.

“The suburban mall retail opportunities that we have seen transacted over the last couple of

Property yield which an investor can enjoy [for office buildings] on day one is around three and a half per cent, whilst retail shopping centres is maybe near four-and-a-half per cent,

years are existing shopping malls. The owners or purchasers will retain them and operate them as they are for the foreseeable future. They’re buying for the income,” Lake said, adding that the income return for such properties could be in the four-anda-half percent range.

“The suburban malls, people are buying for the existing building and the cash flow; whereas the deals we’ve seen along Orchard have been for redevelopment ," Lake shared.

Orchard sub-precincts

Many opportunities thrive within the sub-precincts of the Orchard shopping belt, encompassing Orchard, Somerset, Dhoby Ghaut, and Tanglin.

Charmaine Koh, senior analyst of Research and Consultancy at JLL Singapore, said redevelopment initiatives in Somerset, Dhoby Ghaut, and Tanglin, and the presence of luxury brands and flagship stores in Orchard, render these sub-precincts prime investment hotspots.

Apart from housing more luxury and flagship stores, the Somerset and Orchard sub-precinct also boasts activity-based attractions.

Trifecta, an action sports facility situated between Somerset Skate Park and Killiney Road, opened its doors in October, 2023. In the heart of Orchard Road, Lendlease Global Commercial REIT will launch a 3,000-person indoor multifunctional event space, hosting concerts, events, and innovative food concepts.

On the other hand, the Dhoby Ghaut sub-precinct is poised to attract families with its transformation, integrating green spaces into its revitalisation efforts. Dhoby Ghaut will see an integration of a 500-metre “pedestrianized” stretch between Buyong and Handy Roads along Orchard Road.

Meanwhile, the Tanglin subprecinct will also see a wave of redevelopments which will offer retail opportunities, including Ming Arcade, Tanglin Shopping Centre, Forum The Shopping Mall, Voco Orchard Singapore, and HPL House.

Michelle Tee, director of JLL Research & Consultancy based in Singapore, believes the Strategic Development Incentive (SDI) Scheme of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) propelled these sales.

Retail opportunities abound Orchard's four sub-precincts


Industry concerns rise as accountant numbers decline

Accounting firms and universities strive to boost the sector's appeal with new roles and education programmes.

The accounting industry's numbers are looking bleak, with a 10% drop in students over the past five years. But with major players developing programs to make accountancy an attractive career, the industry may soon be able to balance its books.

Deloitte, for example, has partnered with Singapore Management University (SMU) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to conduct Audit Analytics electives in the two educational institutions.

The consulting firm has also launched a first-of-its-kind Accelerated Career Programme which aims to develop future accountants.

“[The programme] is open to Accountancy and Accountancy & Finance undergraduates and diploma students in the local universities and polytechnics,” said Ong Siok Peng, talent leader at Deloitte Singapore.

“Through an extended internship period, the programme will equip students with the necessary skills and experience to perform at a higher level as a new graduate,” Ong said.

Data from PERSOLKELLY showed that over the past five years, there has

A continued shortage of fresh accounting graduates may lead to consolidation in Singapore’s accounting market

been a 10% decrease in accountancy degree students at universities in Singapore. On the other hand, demand for accounting jobs is expected to reach up to 7,000 by 2025.

“A continued shortage of fresh accounting graduates may lead to consolidation in Singapore’s accounting market,” PERSOLKELLY warned.

Awareness task force

To address manpower challenges faced by the accounting industry, the government has formed a task force to enhance the profession’s attractiveness.

The Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) spent $1m for its Global Talent Programme which aims to raise awareness of the accounting profession. The one-week immersion experience set for July drew 1,300 applications from 44 different nations.

The programme is open to undergraduates from any discipline. Candidates will undergo mentoring sessions and visit listed companies, start-ups, and government agencies.

The ISCA also offers such programmes as the Singapore Chartered Accountant Qualification

(SCAQ) to support aspiring chartered accountants (CA) and the Accelerated Pathway Programme (APP) To enhance the SCAQ infrastructure, the institute plans to invest $15 million for a dedicated center, scholarships, sponsor tuitions, and a "study first, pay later" scheme.

In April, the ISCA launched the APP, a programme for two years that helps accountancy degree students fast-track their route to becoming a CA in Singapore. This allows eligible students to take SCAQ module exams whilst studying in the university.


Having competitive salaries also play a factor in luring more professionals in the field, which is why Deloitte has also taken steps to ensure that remuneration and benefits packages for accountancy graduates are “competitive compared to other industries.”

In Singapore, the salary range for accountants and assistant accountants with one to three years of experience is $3,500 to $5,500 per month. Meanwhile, salaries of auditors with three to six years of experience range from $5,300-$7,500 per month. For Tax Associates with four to eight years of experience, salary could range from $5,000-$6,500 per month. Those working in treasury, like a treasury coordinator with one to three years of experience, can get a salary of $2,900 to $3,500 per month.

Apart from offering competitive compensation, Deloitte prioritises attracting top talent by conducting comprehensive on-the-job training, providing leadership development pathways, and opportunities for reskilling and upskilling.

The firm also adopts an apprenticeship model to ensure that employees master their crafts and deliver high-quality work.

“Mobility experiences are also important. With Deloitte Singapore being part of Deloitte Southeast Asia and a broader Asia Pacific and global network, it means that we can provide our people with mobility opportunities in the form of cross-border work, overseas secondment, and collaboration with colleagues from different cultures and backgrounds,” Ong said.

The ISCA plans to invest $15m for scholarships, a "study first, pay later" scheme, and tuition fee sponsorships.

Experience Exceptional Hospitality with Far East Hospitality

The company leverages Robotic Process Automation to enhance guest experiences and operational efficiency, streamlining services from reservation to stay.

Far East Hospitality (FEH) and Far East Organization (FEO) believe in innovation to enhance every guest’s stay. Every hotel and serviced apartment conceived and managed is executed and delivered with great passion.

Recently, FEO was recognised with an automation award at the SBR Technology Excellence Awards for FEH’s successful implementation of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology. Receiving this award reflects its ongoing efforts to improve guest experiences and operational efficiency. The introduction of RPA has helped automate repetitive and routine tasks, allowing staff to focus more on delivering what truly matters – creating exceptional guest experiences to ensure a memorable stay.

Streamlining for a Better Experience

Traditionally, reservation processing involved a high volume of manual data entry and verification, which was prone to errors. With RPA, the process is made smoother with software robots handling tasks like:

• Extracting guest information from booking forms

• Verifying guest details against databases

• Sending booking confirmations and invoices

• Updating hotel inventory systems

Benefits to Guests

By automating these tasks, the reservation process is more accurate and efficient, resulting in several key benefits for both guests and FEH:

• Higher Accuracy: Accurate bookings mean a smoother guest experience from start to finish.

• More Efficiency: Staff have more time to focus on guests, allowing the team to deliver outstanding guest experiences.

• Faster Processing: Quicker booking confirmation means less waiting time for guests.

• Better Scalability: FEH can handle

more bookings without compromising on service quality.

Committed to Continuous Improvement

“In today's competitive hospitality landscape, continuous improvement is essential to help exceed guest expectations. The investment in RPA technology is one-way FEH strives to enhance its operations through innovation. By leveraging automation, processes are streamlined and our staff are empowered to provide warm, genuine hospitality to ensure an enjoyable guest experience,” said Mr Ng Yee Pern, Chief Technology Officer, Group IT of Far East Organization. The successful implementation of RPA highlights its potential to transform operations. Added Yee Pern, “As RPA technology advances, more innovative applications will emerge. we are excited to bring even more innovative solutions to make guests’ stays even better.”

Experience Singapore-Inspired Hospitality

FEH understands that success in the digital age hinges on a commitment to both innovation and unwavering guest focus. Every guest, whether a business traveller seeking convenience and a productive workspace or a leisure guest looking for a relaxing getaway, FEH’s signature Singapore-inspired hospitality offers Far More at its wide portfolio of hotels and serviced residences with its short- and long-term accommodation options.

Visit today and explore our extensive curated collection of hotels and serviced residences. Discover how our commitment to guest service excellence can elevate your next hospitality experience.

Village Hotel Sentosa
Ng Yee Pern, Chief Technology Officer, Group IT of Far East Organization

Asian collectors embrace newer artists, contemporary art to diversify collections

Japan’s Teppei Takeda and China’s Sun Yitian are amongst the emerging names in Asia.

Basquiat's "Native Carrying Some Guns, Bibles, Amorites on Safari" copped the highest bid at the Phillips Evening Sale (Photo from Phillips)

Younger and fresher names are gaining prominence in the art scene as Asian collectors brush past their comfort zones, shifting their gaze from Western values to a wider spectrum of artists and themes.

Francis Belin, president of Christie’s Asia Pacific, said the desire to diversify collections with works by emerging contemporary artists is amongst the motivations for their Asian buyers when purchasing art.

Auction house Phillips also observed this trend as some of the top performing lots in its Spring sales were works by younger Asian artists such as Teppei Takeda of Japan and Cui Jie, Sun Yitian, and Xia Yu of China.

Takeda’s “Painting of Painting 026” fetched US$235,528 (SG$317,721) during Phillips’ Evening Sale on 31 May, more than six times its pre-sale high estimate.

The art piece “set the second highest price for the artist at auction,” said Meiling Lee, head of Modern and Contemporary Art in Asia at Phillips. In the same evening sale, Sun Yitian, often referred to as China’s “It” artist, achieved her second

Asian art also resonates with the “new, techsavvy, younger generation” of buyers

highest price with the sale of “A Tender Panther” at US$211,163 (SG$284,853).

This year, Phillips made sure to put a spotlight on younger artists. “In our Spring auctions in Hong Kong, we also offered a selection of Chinese contemporary works produced by artists born in the 1960s to 1990s, including Zhang Enli, Ding Yi, Huang Yuxing, Liu Wei, Chen Ke, Xia Yu, Cui Jie, Sun Yitian, Zhang Zipiao, and more,” Lee said.

With works of younger artists, particularly those of Asian descent, deservedly hugging the limelight, Phillips has increased their share in Hong Kong Sales.

In addition to showcasing emerging talent, Phillips has also spiced up the mix of Asian artists. There were Contemporary and Modern artists from China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia in its inaugural New Now auction launched in Hong Kong last November. In July, Phillips will be presenting a selling exhibition featuring works from two young female Chinese artists.

“This season, we presented a

selection of works by the Japanese Gutai group, the country’s first postwar radical art movement,” Lee added.

Emerging and established

Being “in with the new” doesn't mean “out with the old” for Asian buyers. According to Jasmine Prasetio, managing director, of Southeast Asia at Sotheby’s, collectors in Asia have been “extensively collecting art both old and new, established and emerging, from the East and the West.”

Amongst the established names in Asia, Yayoi Kusama and Yoshitomo Nara are standouts.

According to Prasetio, these two Japanese artists “have always had a firm representation and patronage internationally.”

“With the growing collector base and demand, more and more collectors look for iconic works by these artists,” said the Sotheby’s expert.

In Sotheby’s Spring Sales, Nara’s “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight” fetched US$12.3m (SG$16.5m).

Meanwhile, Kusama's INFINITY NETS (ZGHEB) from 2007 realised US$3.3m (SG$4.4m) in Phillips’ Modern & Contemporary Art auction held in May.

“Iconic paintings by Nara and Kusama featured in the Day Sale all sold above their pre-sale estimates,” added Lee.

Work by Yayoi Kusama took up approximately 26% of the market share in Phillips’ Modern & Contemporary Art auctions in Hong Kong this Spring.

Christie’s likewise felt the demand for Nara and Kusama’s artworks, saying their Asian Contemporary pieces “all had solid performances.”

Contemporary, Modern, and Impressionist

There has been consistent interest in Asia on Contemporary, Modern, and Impressionist works of art, according to Prasetio.

Phillips saw this interest in its Spring Modern & Contemporary

Art Hong Kong Sales which fetched US$38m (SG$51m) total, a 22% increase from its Fall 2023 sale.

Top lots in the season included "Native Carrying Some Guns, Bibles, Amorites on Safari" by Basquiat sold for US$12.6m (SG$17m); Banksy’s "The Leopard and Lamb", which sold for US$4.7m (SG$6m) or double the pre-sale estimate; and Zao Wou-Ki’s 25.11.81 which sold for 1.7 times its pre-sale estimate at US$1.5m (SG$2m).

“All these top lots were fresh-tothe-market,” Lee noted.

At Sotheby’s, Asian interest in Impressionist and Modern works of art increased, accounting for 18% of bidders in the first half of 2023, up from 13.8% in 2022.

For Christie’s, works by Marc Chagall and the Impressionist line-up in the Evening Sale at its Hong Kong Spring Auctions 2024 were also 100% sold, whilst Chinese Modern works by Zao Wou-Ki, Sanyu, and Chen Yifei had a solid performance.

Asian art

Asian art, including Chinese ceramics works of art and paintings, has also been popular, especially amongst Southeast Asian buyers. Christie’s reported that the number of buyers from Southeast Asia in the Asian Art cluster rose by more than 40% this Spring versus 2023.

As a fine example of Asian art’s popularity, Christie’s sold Qing Imperial Ceramics from The Wang Xing Lou Collection for US$15.8m (SG$21m).

Christie’s also sold its multiple entire single-owner Chinese Paintings collections which included

Property from the Collection of Dr. Wong Chun Bong, and the Family Collections of Chong Fung Kuen, K’ung Hsiang-Hsi, Loh Cheng Chuan, and the Kwok Family.

Asian art also resonates with the “new, tech-savvy, younger generation” of buyers, said Belin.

According to Christie’s, almost a quarter of all its Asian art buyers were millennials, whilst 21% were new.

In Singapore, there has been significant interest in art pieces with Peranakan heritage, according to Matthew Elton, founder and manager of Hotlotz, one of the country’s leading auctioneers.

“Peranakan porcelain, beadwork, and silver have been really popular [in our sales]. I think there’s a real interest in the culture and heritage of Singapore and Peranakan culture is very Singaporean,” said Elton.

Young buyers

Across all art categories, auction houses have observed a strong interest in art from young collectors.

Matthew Elton, noted that he has encountered buyers from a wide age range.

“There is often a misconception about auctions, that all collectors are in their more ‘advanced years’, but actually we are seeing a very broad age range amongst our bidders,” Elton told the magazine.

To appeal to this demographic Hotlotz conducts a monthly “entry-level” “Interiors” sale where they auction off quality furniture, decorative items and collectibles every first Sunday of the month.

“We’re definitely finding that younger people are also coming at

auctions with a more sustainability hat on as well, whereas 20 or 30 years ago, they thought everything had to be brand new in their homes, but now they’re really interested in looking for that cool vintage piece or that secondary market picture,” Elton said.

In Christie’s Hong Kong 2024 Spring Auctions, almost a quarter of their buyers were new; and amongst them, 43% are millennials.

In 2023, Christie’s also saw a growth in new and younger buyer spend, led by Asia-Pacific.

According to Christie’s, Asia-Pacific buyers accounted for 66% of its global millennial buyer spend and 54% of its global new buyer spend. Meanwhile, millennials drove 35% of APAC’s new buyer spend.

Within APAC, Mainland China was the biggest contributor to Christie’s global new buyer spend (30%) and millennial buyer spend (36%).

At Sotheby’s Hong Kong Spring Sales in April this year, millennials or those aged 40 and below accounted for over half (55%) of all bidders across its sales.

Prasetio said Sotheby’s saw stronger participation from Gen Z and millennial bidders in sales of wine (36%), Chinese works of art (29%), and jewellery (28%).

Christie’s also observed this trend, with millennials constituting 52% of their new buyers in the luxury art segment which includes wine and jewellery, as well as watches and handbags.

At their Hong Kong Spring Auctions 2024, Christie’s sold a “Cartier ‘India’ Tutti-Frutti” necklace for US$8.72 (SG$11.75m), and a superb ruby and diamond ring for US$6.43 (SG$8.67m).

Meanwhile, “The Epic Cellar,” a single-owner collection of wine, was 96% sold by lot and fetched US$8.6m (SG$11.60m).

20 or 30 years ago, they thought everything had to be brand new in their homes, but now they’re really interested in looking for that cool vintage piece

For younger buyers who are only setting foot on the art scene and do not have a lot of budget, Lee said prints and multiples can be a good place to start collecting fine art.

Phillips offers prints and multiples which they call “Editions,” which are more affordable than unique paints and sculptures “but usually require highly complicated techniques with a master printer to create an edition,” said Lee.

Meiling Lee
Jasmine Prasetio
Teppei Takeda's "Painting of a Painting 026" and Sun Yi Tian's "A Tender Panther" (Photos from Phillips)
Francis Belin
Matthew Elton

Going digital

To further engage the new, younger, and tech-savvy generation of collectors, Belin underscored the need for digital evolution.

Amongst the auction house’s digital investments include “Christie’s Live,” and “Christie’s WeChat miniprogramme” which are specifically for biddings.

“We were the first international auction house to launch a WeChat mini-programme with online bidding and livestreaming functions – which are essential for connecting with young, tech-savvy Chinese collectors,” Belin said.

“We continue to innovate on the platform and recently introduced AI translation, to make content such as sales information and condition reports available in Chinese,” he added.

Christie’s also utilises platforms such as Instagram, RED, a Chinese social media platform, and Douyin, a platform for short-form videos like TikTok, to present and showcase their auctions.

Hotlotz is also a leader in digitalisation amongst auction houses in Singapore, conducting all their bidding online even before the pandemic.

“We made a decision six months before the onset of the COVID virus was discovered to go online only because we felt that it’s actually a safer and more practical environment for bidding to take

place,” Elton said.

“I personally think that auctions are all about building trust, if people trust us, they happily bid on all types of items,” Elton added.

The Hotlotz founder also highlighted that online bidding systems are great from a marketing perspective as this allows the auction house to use technology to reach a global audience

“We recently sold a collection of Chinese & Southeast Asian Trade Porcelain for Aman Resorts Founder, Adrian Zecha, and the majority of the pieces ‘went home’ as they were snapped up by online bidders from China and Vietnam,” Elton said.


Besides enhancing their digital footprint, the world’s leading auction houses are also broadening their physical reach.

Sotheby’s, for one, has a new 24,000-square-foot space in Central, Hong Kong, called “Hong Kong Maison” Through the Hong Kong Maison, Sotheby’s aims to host exhibitions and auctions all year round.

“The accessibility and visibility of this space will provide an unparalleled platform for our showcase and curation,” Prasetio said.

In September, Christie’s will move its Asia-Pacific headquarters to The Henderson in Hong Kong in order to “to support our growth for art and luxury” in the region, Belin said. “The

We have also seen ambitious new homegrown fairs launched in Asia as well, although these efforts will pay off remain to be seen but it’s good to see the whole ecosystem in the region is heading to the next level

decision to relocate comes in response to Asia’s global market demand.”

Christie’s will occupy 50,000 square feet spanning the 6th to 9th floors of The Henderson.

The auction house will host its inaugural sales at The Henderson on 26-27 September for 20th and 21st Century Art, followed by a series of Luxury sales in October and Asian Art sales in November, kick-starting a new year-round calendar.

In March 2023, Phillips opened its new Asia headquarters in West Kowloon.

Given that the three major auction houses will have permanent spaces in Hong Kong, Lee expects the art market in the region will become “more mature.”

“We have also seen ambitious new homegrown fairs launched in Asia as well, although these efforts will pay off remain to be seen but it’s good to see the whole ecosystem in the region is heading to the next level,” Lee said.

Elton, for his part, said the success of the secondary market will also result in the success of the primary markets or galleries.

“People can only ever hang so many pictures on their walls. If they can’t find a good, fair, and honest way to sell things, they perhaps don’t want any more — they can never buy any more pictures from galleries. There’s a kind of circle of life going on here. It’s important for the primary markets to do well, but it’s super important for the secondary market like us to equally do well because we support each other,” Elton concluded.

A selection of porcelain at the Hotlotz saleroom
Sotheby's Maison to open at Landmark Chater in July 2024 (Photo from Sotheby's)


SG banks turn to upskilling as hiring sentiment turn ‘cautious’

Roles related to wealth advisory and anti-ML and fraud are most in demand.

The number of bankers and staff employed by Singapore banks mostly remained at the same level as in 2022, although most lenders chose to incrementally hire a few more people in their headcounts.

Data gathered by Singapore Business Review found that the number of employees working across 14 banks in the Lion City fell marginally by 0.19% to 54,872 as of end-2023. Including Standard Chartered’s workforce, there are a total of 63,872 employees across 15 banks in Singapore.

Of the “Big 3” banks, UOB recorded the highest proportion of new hires, with its headcount expanding 9.69%. UOB now employs about 11,057 people as of endDecember 2023.

OCBC, including its subsidiary Bank of Singapore, trimmed its headcount to a total of 10,939 people.

DBS shared data that it now employs over 36,000 people globally as of 2023, from just 34,000 as of December 2022. A big driver to this jump is the integration of Citi Taiwan’s

3,000 employees into DBS. As for Singapore-only numbers, DBS had around 12,000 employees in the Lion City in 2022. It did not disclose its Singapore headcount for 2023.

All other banks expanded their headcounts. RHB had 656 employees in the city, whilst HSBC had 3,942 people under its employ in 2023. The State Bank of India is larger by nine people by the end of the year, with 126 employees in Singapore. ICICI Bank, meanwhile, ended the year with 20 more employees compared to 2022.

Apart from OCBC, the only other bank to see its headcount fall is BNP Paribas. The bank employs over 2,000 employees in 2023, technically lower than the approximate of 2,200 people it reportedly employed as of end-2022.

Credit Agricole and Citigroup recorded virtually little to no changes in their employee numbers.

In-demand talent

When asked, most hiring heads of Singapore’s banks said that they are looking to hire roles related to wealth management and tech-related roles.

“In 2024, we will continue our strategic hiring for growth areas such as technology, wealth management and sustainability,” Ernest Phang, managing director, group human resources, OCBC, told Singapore Business Review.

UOB, meanwhile, continues to hire for sales and service roles.

“We’re also expanding roles relating to Anti Money Laundering/ Fraud Detection/Financial crimes and blockchain technology and AI/data analytics, as we continue growing in areas such as our anti-scam capabilities,” a UOB representative told the magazine.

Maybank Singapore’s head of human capital, Wong Keng Fye, said that the bank is looking to strengthen both its consumer and corporate business engines.

“We see a demand in frontline roles for our Consumer and Corporate businesses, as well as skills in the data family as we strive to be a data-driven organisation where our decision-making and activities are centred on our areas of focus, guided by our principles of ethical banking (inclusiveness, integrity and sustainability),” Wong said.

HSBC Singapore’s head of HR, Mukul Anand, told Singapore Business Review that expanding its wealth business is also the bank’s priority in 2024.

“HSBC Singapore’s focus for 2024 continues to be on clientfacing, relationship management, and customer service positions to support the demands of our growing wealth business. We also anticipate new priorities in innovation, digital products and sustainable finance across all our business lines,” Anand said, and shared that the bank recently attained an Enabling Mark accreditation from SG Enable, which recognises organisations for their best practices in disability-inclusive employment.

Slowdown in hiring

All hiring managers noted a slowdown in hiring activity in the banking industry.

A UOB representative said that they were “more cautious with hiring,” citing uncertainties in the economy as well as the economic slowdown.

Both UOB and Maybank said that they pace their hiring activity

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BANKING | by Frances Gagua
Wong Keng Fye
Ernest Phang

to match growth expectations.

Representatives from HSBC and OCBC did not comment on queries on slowdowns in hiring activity.

Maybank’s Wong noted that the slowdown in hiring activity was unsurprising given that most banks and fintechs had significantly ramped up hiring during the pandemic.

“It is not surprising that there is a slowdown in hiring activity following the significant and accelerated hiring in the preceding period that was fuelled in part by post-COVID catch up and the proliferation of various digital [and] fintech activities, that saw organisations across many industries building up their teams,” Wong noted.

“Hence, when business [and] revenue eventually did not meet expectations, such organisations had to slow down their hiring activity, with many even having to rationalise their built up resources,” he added, noting that Maybank “takes great care to hire right and ensure that our hiring activity matches the pace of our growth expectations.”

Turning to upskilling

More than hiring, banks in Singapore have increasingly turned to upskilling their current workforce as a growth strategy.

UOB and Maybank touted upskilling programmes for current employees.

UOB’s development initiative

Better U reskilling initiative offers specialised learning tracks on project management, data analytics, and even artificial intelligence.

“Originally focusing on 5 core competencies identified to be

essential for our employees — growth mindset, problem-solving, digital awareness, human-centred design and data storytelling, this has now extended to, amongst others, effective communication, building executive presence, owning their careers, sustainability and others,” the representative said.

Maybank also has its own upskilling initiative, the FutureReady programme, aimed at helping prepare its employees for an increasingly digitised professional sphere.

Wong noted how the global pandemic’s impact has also presented an unprecedented set of circumstances, accelerating the bank’s adoption of digital tools and platforms.

“Whilst the digital transition has been greatly accelerated out of necessity, Maybank’s FutureReady push will continue to be a key focus across Maybank Group as reflected by its inclusion in the group-wide KPI and country scorecard,” Wong said.

Student support

Some banks have looked into solving the talent gap by investing in students even before they join the workforce and even in mid-career switchers looking to explore a career in finance.

HSBC’s Anand shared that the bank has programmes such as the Accelerating Wealth Programme and Polytechnic Apprenticeship Programme.

“HSBC has also signed the Employers’ Pledge for Skills Based Hiring, supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), reinforcing our

commitment to building a more competitive and inclusive workforce in Singapore,” Anand said.

Benjamin Teo, vice president, regional sales, global payments solutions at HSBC, was one who took part in a similar programme. Teo was a summer analyst at HSBC when he first joined the Institute of Banking & Finance’s (IBF) Finance Associate Management Scheme.

The scheme is dubbed as a “talent development initiative” by IBF and is aimed at increasing opportunities for Singaporeans and preparing them for specialist and leadership roles in the financial industry.

Under this programme, Teo joined a rotational programme spanning six departments in over two years, which then culminated in a full-time role at HSBC.

When business [and] revenue eventually did not meet expectations, such organisations had to slow down their hiring activity

UOB, meanwhile, is the first bank in Singapore to offer a gig employment model for retired employees under the Gig+U Retiree programme, and later, the Mums@ Work programme. The latter offered 200 jobs in Singapore for women who require a more flexible work schedule due to family responsibilities.

Employees hired under Gig+U receive equal pay and enjoy the same benefits as their peers with similar roles in the Bank, subject to their employment status, according to UOB.

Mukul Anand
Benjamin Teo
OCBC plans to hire for growth areas like tech, wealth management, and sustainability
UOB recorded the highest proportion of new hires



ION Orchard dives into gamification amidst experiential retail demand

The mall’s in-app augmented reality game offers more than 30 rewards.

With consumers increasingly seeking experiential retail, ION Orchard has expanded its customer loyalty strategy to include gamification.

The luxury shopping mall recently introduced its in-app augmented reality game World of Rewards alongside its renewed mobile app, where customers have the chance to win over 30 rewards whilst roaming the mall and stopping by participating retailers, including Marimekko Cafe, Nespresso, Jo Malone London, and TWG Tea.

“The gameplay experience was designed to be simple and easy for shoppers to earn rewards, which encourages recurring behaviour and long-term engagement,” Orchard Turn Developments Chief Executive Officer Yeo Mui Hong told Singapore Business Review.

Yeo noted that the game gives customers more avenues to get rewards apart from just shopping.

Gamification strategies

In addition to World of Rewards, ION Orchard has introduced in-app game boards, allowing shoppers to earn rewards by completing actions and missions within the ION Orchard mobile app.

“Shopping is a multi-sensory experience, and it is important for ION Orchard to seek new ways to maintain shoppers’ interest at all touch points from offline to online. One such way is gamification,” Yeo said.

“Gamification increases the enjoyment of shopping due to the entertainment that it provides, all from the convenience of one’s fingertips. The future of retail is consistently being redefined and we are seeing more brands move towards gamification to increase engagement and create a seamless experience for customers with the aim of boosting retention,” she added.

Yeo believes that embracing gamification as a strategy ultimately builds brand loyalty.

“Customer loyalty and brand engagement are intricately linked, forming a symbiotic relationship that is fundamental for business success,” she said. “We are consistently looking at our engagement strategy to retain top-of-mind recall amongst our shoppers so that we continue to attract them back to our mall.”

Yeo emphasised that for brands looking to integrate gamification into their strategies, it is crucial to keep the games fresh and updated. She added that the game mechanics should also align with the interests of the target audience or shoppers.

Gamification, however, is only one facet of ION Orchard’s loyalty ecosystem. Within its app, the mall also integrated digital payments, rewards, and deals.

“For example, our Easy Earn programme eliminated the hassle of scanning receipts, enabling shoppers to instantly earn and redeem points with every purchase. With the rollout of the new app, we were able to streamline our ION+ Rewards implementation on both the earning and redemption front,” Yeo explained.

Gamification increases the enjoyment of shopping due to the entertainment that it provides, all from the convenience of one’s fingertips

Interactive offerings

To help achieve its goal of redefining the future of loyalty and engagement in the current digital age, ION Orchard will also introduce more interactive offerings, revealed Yeo.

One of the interactive offerings which the mall introduced is a new Instagram filter on ION Orchard’s Instagram channel, @ion_orchard, celebrating the mall’s 15th anniversary. Recently, the mall also housed Australian artist Amanda Parer’s “Lost in Enchantment” installation as part of its Spring-Summer campaign.

“The immersive experience is an interplay of garden and inflatable elements that create an enchanting mix of light and colour, conveying themes stemming from the interconnectedness of human relationships and the natural world into larger-than-life art pieces,” Yeo mused.

She said ION Orchard will continue to roll out a series of hyperreality and augmented reality video experiences “that blurs the line between the real and virtual worlds.”

Another approach ION Orchard is using to attract consumers is creating experiential spaces that foster community building and deepen connections with shoppers.

“We have achieved considerable success in enhancing the shopping experience at ION Orchard by hosting art events and exhibitions at ION Art gallery. The ION Sky on level 56 also offers visitors panoramic views of Singapore’s skyline as this observation deck is the tallest point at Orchard Road,” Yeo said.

Yeo Mui Hong, CEO of Orchard Turn Developments

New law extends record-keeping scope for pawnbrokers and precious metals dealers

Failure to comply may result in a fine of up to $100,000 (US$74,000).

Pawnbrokers, moneylenders, and dealers in precious products must now retain records of their transactions for five years even after ceasing operations, following Singapore’s move to strengthen its measures against proliferation financing.

For precious stones and metals dealers (PSMDs), failure to comply with the record-keeping requirement may result in a fine of up to $100,000 (US$74,000).

Record-keeping, however, is only one of the new requirements imposed under the Prevention of Proliferation Financing and Other Matters Bill (PPFOM), which the Parliament passed in February.

Pawnbrokers and moneylenders, for example, will face stricter scrutiny in their applications to the Registrar for licences and employment of assistants under the bill, as the prevention of money laundering, financing of terrorism, and proliferation financing are now additional grounds for refusal, according to Gary Low, co-head for Criminal Law Practice at Drew & Napier LLC.

The measure also requires pawnbrokers to enhance customer due diligence, implement programmes and measures, document risk assessments, implement internal policies, and have an independent audit function related to terrorism financing and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Low said pawnbrokers who fail to comply with these requirements may face conviction under the law and be fined up to $100,000.

Several measures grant the Minister the authority to establish rules to prevent money laundering, terrorism financing, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Violating these rules can result in fines of up to $20,000 (US$14,800), imprisonment for up to 12 months, or both for pawnbrokers, and penalties not exceeding $100,000 for moneylenders.

Compliance costs

The requirements mandated by the bill, according to Low, may result in increased compliance costs, disproportionately affecting small businesses.

Low, however, underscored that these additional costs are not expected to be significant as requirements mandated by the bill are similar to the “measures that the affected industries already have in place to counter money laundering and terrorism financing.”

Pathik Shah, founder of AML Singapore, shared a similar sentiment, saying the measure will not put up “any significant additional compliance cost.”

“These measures do not add to the compliance or risk mitigation responsibilities of moneylenders, pawnbrokers, or legal professionals, as these businesses have already adopted them under the existing anti-money laundering and combating terrorism financing laws,” Shah explained in an interview with Singapore Business Review.

“Considering the amended provisions, the regulated entities will have to be cautious of identifying the proliferation financial risks, along with ML/FT and continue applying adequate risk mitigation measures to combat the proliferation financing risks, similar to what is presently applied for managing the ML and FT risks,” he added.

Even with increased compliance costs, both experts believe that the measure will have a positive effect on the regulated entities.

“The amendments brought about by the PPFOM Bill provide moneylenders, pawnbrokers, and legal firms with greater clarity as to the exact scope of their roles and responsibilities in respect of preventing proliferation financing, including the concrete steps that need to be taken to ensure compliance,” Low said.

“Businesses will also benefit by being able to differentiate themselves in the market by demonstrating a strong commitment to preventing money laundering and the financing of terrorism, thereby enhancing their reputation through building trust with its customers, partners, and regulators” he added.

Low believes this is an opportunity for businesses to engage in more robust international collaboration. “[This] may lead to better global practices and potentially open new markets and partnerships that value such stringent compliance standards,” he said.

Shah’s insights are no different, saying the bill empowers the affected entities to safeguard the economy against proliferation financing. “The measures to identify and manage the PF risk would prevent the criminals involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction from raising, moving and using funds for illegitimate purposes,” he said.

Low added that the measure also aligns Singapore with the requirements introduced by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in October 2020, as the bill clarifies the definition of “precious products: to include any item priced above a specified threshold of $20,000.”

The new law requires stricter scrutiny of licences and employment of assistants.
Gary Low
Pathik Shah

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New law weaves in work protections and retirement benefits into gig workers’ safety net

Platform workers will be able to make CPF contributions into their ordinary and special accounts.

With Singapore’s gig economy booming, authorities have floated a new law aimed at providing gig workers more financial protection, ensuring their improved safety conditions, and offering them secure retirement options.

Gig workers, also known as platform workers, include delivery workers, private-hire car drivers, and taxi drivers that use online matching platforms. Usage of these services have become increasingly vital in Singapore. For example, the ride-hailing industry alone is expected to log a market volume of US$1.07b by 2028, growing at a rate of 4.42% over the next four years, according to data from Statista.

Despite providing convenience to others, platform workers lack benefits and face risks in their everyday lives on the road.

“As platform workers are a ‘precarious’ segment of SelfEmployed Persons (SEPs), this legislation comes in to provide certain basic protections for them,” Lim Jia Ying, partner for Employment Practice at WongPartnership, told Singapore Business Review. “In particular, unlike typical SEPs, platform workers have less control over their income and working conditions. When operating costs increase, they are unable to increase prices and may need to deplete their own savings.”

A vulnerable workforce

Lim pointed out the financial challenges faced by platform workers: relatively modest incomes, limited prospects for wage progression, the risk and cost of getting injured on the job, and the absence of income if unable to work.

Lacking security, benefits, and safety assurances, gig workers are considered “vulnerable.” Even if platform workers switch platforms, they cannot escape management control as all platforms have their own set of rules workers need to adhere to.

“The new legislation addresses the gaps in the existing framework which was not designed with the unique nature of platform work in mind. Employees generally have less flexibility, autonomy, and control over business strategy decisions but enjoy certain basic protections, while SEPs generally have greater autonomy and can take responsibility over their own well-being, which also means less of a need to strengthen basic protections. While platform workers are considered SEPs, in reality, many of them lack the autonomy and flexibility of typical SEPs due to control exerted by platform companies,” Lim said.

Amongst the major concerns voiced out by gig workers are the lack of work accident coverage, of expeditious access to payouts, and the absence of a dispute resolution mechanism, as well as their statutory right to make CPF contributions in the absence of co-contributions from platform companies.

Still, the rising demand for convenient services in a gig economy ushers in many workers despite these concerns.

Jod, a multi-industry on-demand gig work platform, knows this trend all too well. “At Jod, we’ve seen the rapid growth of the gig economy over the last few years, amidst the pandemic with many full-time employees transitioning to gig

work, seeking better work-life balance and flexibility. We have seen more and more business partners coming onboard our platform to seek gig workers for shift work whilst the worker pool has also gradually increased,” Sebastian San, Singapore country manager at Jod, told Singapore Business Review.

“However, they often find themselves without access to traditional employment benefits. This shift has left many gig workers benefits-starved, contradicting the initial allure of ‘being their own boss,’” San added.

Proposed benefits

The implementation of the new law will address the longstanding concerns of gig workers, providing them with equality and improving their life circumstances.

“As CPF contribution rates of platform companies and eligible platform workers will be aligned with that of employers and employees, respectively, platform workers will be able to make CPF contributions into their Ordinary Accounts and Special Accounts to support their housing and retirement needs while platform companies making CPF co-contributions for platform workers will also increase the amount of CPF contributions platform workers receive,” Lim explained.

In addition, gig workers will have more confidence and security doing their jobs on the road. “The new legislation will entitle platform workers to the same scope and level of work injury compensation as employees are entitled to under [the] Work Injury Compensation Act 2019 of Singapore (WICA), ensuring adequate financial protection for platform workers who are injured at work," Lim said.

More importantly, the new law will increase visibility for this working segment by introducing a new representation framework. This framework will enable platform workers, who are currently unable to form unions, to be represented by platform worker representative bodies (PWRBs) capable of negotiating for their collective interests.

Lim Jia Ying
Many gig workers lack autonomy and flexibility of self-employment due to control exerted by platforms

InterContinental unveils rain refund package for guests

Guests receive a refund for a 1-night room rate if it rains for more than 2 hours during their stay.

Singapore’s hospitality industry is no stranger to innovation, but the recent release of a rain coverage package by a leading hotel chain marks a unique venture into the realm of insurance. According to Assistant Professor Ben Charoenwong from the National University of Singapore (NUS), this offering challenges traditional insurance models, particularly in the hospitality sector, by intertwining risk management with customer satisfaction.

“It’s really a marketing component. If you’re in the hospitality sector, your sales are pretty cyclical. More people visit during peak season, whereas during non-peak, season there are fewer people. The hope here is with some marketing, if it rains, you would come to visit the place more often,” Charoenwong told Singapore Business Review

“But it seems to be this exercise to financial life. Once a product is created, there will be initial variations — serving the business purpose as a marketing component. At first, it seems to be offered free to the customers, right? But nothing is really free. It’s baked into the price [...] But with this type of insurance, maybe consumers can take the chance and stay at the hotel thinking the worst-case scenario would rain,” he shared with the publication.

Take InterContinental Singapore, for example, a 5-star hotel located in Singapore's historic centre, which has teamed up with insurtech discovermarket to introduce the Rain Resist Bliss Package, a first-of-its-kind rain protection offering.

Guests booking this package are eligible for a refund equivalent to their single-night room rate if it rains during their stay. If rainfall exceeds a cumulative two-hour duration during daylight hours, triggering a recorded rain event, hotel guests who have availed of the service will automatically receive a rebate voucher within seven working days.

The package offered is exclusively available for suite room bookings starting at SG$850 a night. Guests opting for this package can avail themselves of additional benefits such as 24/7 butler service and access to the hotel’s club lounge.

Rain or shine

The primary allure of this rain coverage package lies in its marketing potential. With hospitality sales often fluctuating due to seasonal variations, the aim is to attract visitors during less appealing weather conditions by offering compensation for the rainy off season.

In January alone, Singapore saw a surge in travellers, totalling over 1.44 million, marking a 54.2% increase compared with the same period in the previous year. Despite this growth, visitors opted for shorter stays, as revealed by data from the Singapore Tourism Analytics Network collected until 31 January 2024.

Of the total influx, approximately 1.07 million were overnight visitors, showing a substantial rise of 43.6%

from the previous year. However, the average length of stay experienced a notable decline of 20.1%, dwindling to just 3.45 days in January 2024 compared to the 4.32 days recorded for January the previous year.

Initially offered as a complimentary service, the cost of rain coverage is inevitably factored into the overall package, subtly shifting the risk burden from the customer to the hotel. This shift raises questions about actuarial considerations, especially concerning weather forecasting and data analysis, said Charoenwong. Whilst forecasting accuracy for short-term weather predictions is relatively high, long-term forecasting remains challenging, particularly when booking vacations months in advance.

Singapore experienced notable weather patterns in 2023, with above-average rainfall contributing to the island’s seventh wettest year since 1980. The annual total rainfall averaged across islandwide stations was 2,866.1 mm, marking a 13.1% increase compared with the long-term average of 2,534.3 mm.

The Changi climate station recorded 2,411.2 mm of rain, exceeding its long-term average by 14.1%.

Is it worth it?

With this type of insurance, maybe consumers can take the chance and stay at the hotel thinking the worst-case scenario would rain

Focusing on the financial aspect, Charoenwong drew parallels with extended warranties. “In some sense from a financial perspective, it’s like an extended warranty [...] Research on this suggests that, on average, extended warranty is not worth it,” he said.

“Beyond the actuarial risks, what is the risk of rain in Singapore? But beyond that, there's a concern that the only people who will care about these products, you know, are if they're going to be adversely selected. In some sense, these are the people who were already likely to have travelled during the rainy season,” he added.

National University of Singapore (NUS) Assistant Professor Ben Charoenwong
INSURANCE | by Olivia Tirona

Singapore's tech powerhouses triumph at SBR Technology Excellence Awards 2024

In today's digital age, technological innovation is not just a competitive advantage; it is a key driver of progress. Companies that embrace digital disruption and leverage the power of technology are unlocking a world of opportunity, transforming industries, and shaping a more connected future.

The SBR Technology Excellence Awards by Singapore Business Review celebrates these very pioneers – the companies that are leading the charge in this exciting digital revolution. This year’s winners in the awards programme were feted at an Awards Dinner on 18 April 2024 at Marina Bay Sands.

The SBR Technology Excellence Awards recognises exceptional companies that are riding the wave of digital disruption and leading the technological revolution within their respective industries. This year's ceremony saw a wide range of companies across various sectors take home accolades. From established players to exciting new startups, the winners represent the best of Singapore's technological innovation.


AIA Singapore

Digital - Life Insurance


Fintech - Banking

APX Technologies

ESG Tech - Safety & Security

Asta Innosys Private Limited

IoT - Banking

Avanade Asia Pte Ltd

Digital - Healthcare AZENTIO SOFTWARE Enterprise Software - Manufacturing

BeMyGuest Connectivity - Travel Retail

BIGO Technology

AI - Media & Entertainment

Cadence Design Systems, Inc.

AI - Semiconductor

Caton Technology Asia Pte Ltd

Connectivity - Media & Entertainment

CDNetworks Singapore Pte Ltd

Infrastructure Technology - Media & Entertainment

Cloud Kinetics

Automation - Energy

The awards jury, composed of industry leaders and experts, evaluated nominees based on their technological advancements, business impact, and overall contribution to Singapore's digital transformation journey. The judges were Cheong Chew Wai, Consulting Partner, Deloitte Southeast Asia; Cecil Su, Director, Head of Cybersecurity, BDO; Charles Loh, Singapore Consulting Leader, PwC Singapore; Lee Ser Yen, Partner, Cyber, Advisory, KPMG; Andrew Tan, Partner, EY Consulting, Digital Hub Leader, Ernst & Young Advisory Pte. Ltd.; Marita Vavoulioti, Partner, APAC Industry 4.0 Lead, Bain & Company; and Eileen Tan, Partner and Head of Technology Services, RSM & Stone Forest Group.

Congratulations to the winners for demonstrating the power of innovation and highlighting the crucial role that technology plays in shaping Singapore's future.

See below for the full list of SBR Technology Excellence Awards 2024 winners:

Cognotiv Pte. Ltd.

AI - Education

CrimsonLogic Pte Ltd

Analytics - Logistics

Criteo Singapore Pte Ltd

AI - Advertising

Digital Realty

Data Centre - Data Centre

DiMuto Pte Ltd

Digital - Agriculture

Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd.

AI - Financial Services

FairPrice Group

Enterprise Software - Food & Beverage

Far East Organization

Automation - Hospitality & Leisure

Fullerton Health

Automation - Healthcare

GN Audio Singapore Pte Ltd

AudioTech - Electronic Manufacturing

Gulf Marine Pte. Ltd.

Enterprise Software - Marine Services


Emerging Technology - Energy


Information Management - Business Services

Hatcher Plus Pte Ltd

AI - Financial Technology

Infineum Singapore LLP

Big Data - Chemicals

Insightz Technology Pte Ltd

Cybersecurity - IT Services

IPC Systems

Connectivity - Financial Technology

Keppel Ltd.

AI - Real Estate

LexisNexis Southeast Asia

Legal Tech - Legal

Long Bridge Securities Pte. Ltd.

Fintech - Brokerage

Manhattan Associates Software Pte Ltd

Cloud - Retail

Moomoo Financial Singapore

Fintech - Investment and Wealth Management

MUFG Bank Ltd, Singapore Branch

FinOps - Banking


Infrastructure Technology - Education

NEC Asia Pacific, Digital Business Unit

Facial Recognition - Healthcare

NTUC LearningHub Pte Ltd

Digital - Training and Development


AI - Banking

PALO IT & SGInnovate

Startup - Non-Profit or Government Organizations

Peak3 (formerly ZA Tech)

Fintech - IT Services


IoT - Energy

PropNex Realty

PropTech - Real Estate

Prosemi Pte Ltd

Digital - Semiconductor


Fintech - Business Services

Refract Technologies & Alibaba Cloud

Cloud - Sports

SBS Transit Ltd

Emerging Technology - Transportation


Software - Transportation

SC Ventures

Blockchain - Financial Technology

Senoko Energy

ESG Tech - Energy

Sentosa Development Corporation

Connectivity - Hospitality & Leisure

ShopBack Financial Services Singapore Pte Ltd

Fintech - Payments

SIA Engineering Company

Digital - Aviation


Analytics - Computer Software


Software - Real Estate

SquareX Pte Ltd

Cybersecurity - Internet/New Media

StarHub Ltd

Connectivity - Telecommunications

Stary PTE. LTD.

Online Services - Media & Entertainment

Stratus Technologies, Inc.

Computing - Oil & Gas


Fintech - B2B Payments


Software - Financial Services

TES - Sustainable Technology Lifecycle Solutions

Battery Technology - IT Services

Thakral One

Automation - Banking

The Ascott Limited

AI - Hospitality & Leisure


Fintech - Brokerage


Digital - Food & Beverage

Trust Bank Singapore

Digital - Banking

VIAVI Solutions

Network and Broadband - Telecommunications

AIA Singapore
APX Technologies
Avanade Asia Pte Ltd
BIGO Technology
Cadence Design Systems, Inc. Caton Technology Asia Pte Ltd
Criteo Singapore Pte Ltd
Digital Realty
DiMuto Pte Ltd
Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd.
FairPrice Group
Far East Organization
Fullerton Health
GN Audio Singapore Pte Ltd
Gulf Marine Pte. Ltd.
Hatcher Plus Pte Ltd
Infineum Singapore LLP
Insightz Technology Pte Ltd
IPC Systems
Keppel Ltd.


LexisNexis Southeast Asia
Manhattan Associates Software Pte Ltd
Moomoo Financial Singapore MUFG Bank Ltd, Singapore Branch
NEC Asia Pacific, Digital Business Unit
NTUC LearningHub Pte Ltd
PropNex Realty
Prosemi Pte Ltd
Refract Technologies & Alibaba Cloud
SBS Transit Ltd
Senoko Energy
Sentosa Development Corporation
SIA Engineering Company
SquareX Pte Ltd
StarHub Ltd.
Stratus Technologies, Inc.
Thakral One
The Ascott Limited
Trust Bank Singapore
VIAVI Solutions
Peak3 (formerly ZA Tech)

AIA Singapore earns double honours for holistic wellness solutions and digital innovation

Recognised for its AIA Health360 proposition, AIA Centurion PA and iPOS+ platform, the insurer secured not one, but two awards.

AIA Singapore has proven to be a frontrunner in the dynamic insurance industry once again, clinching prestigious recognitions at the SBR International Business Awards and SBR Technology Excellence Awards.

The company led exceptional initiatives that drove it to victory, with its holistic wellness solutions and digital iPOS+ platform snagging accolades in the Life Insurance and DigitalLife Insurance categories of the said awards programmes, respectively.

Championing holistic wellness

AIA Singapore is leading the way in championing holistic wellness through its AIA Health360 proposition and AIA Centurion PA plan. The SBR International Business Awards lauded AIA Singapore for addressing Singaporeans’ well-being challenges with these initiatives, as part of its multifaceted approach to empowering individuals to live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives.

To empower consumers to plan for their holistic well-being, AIA launched AIA Health360, a comprehensive suite of solutions built around four key pillars – Plan Well, Protect Well, Be Well, and Live Well. The offering features AIA’s comprehensive financial planning and digital tools such as AIA+ app and AIA Plan360, as well as its compelling insurance solutions covering health, life, savings, investment, accident protection, wealth, legacy protection, travel, and lifestyle needs.

Meanwhile, to address increasing concerns

about neurological diseases, AIA Centurion PA offers support for individuals and families with payouts for Alzheimer’s, Severe Dementia, as well as Idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease. Through strategic partnerships and campaigns, AIA Singapore successfully raised awareness and consideration for neurological disease coverage, resulting in increased protection amongst vulnerable age groups. The insurer partnered with Our Grandfather Story and undertook street interviews that unearthed heartfelt stories from Singaporeans on the topic of dementia; national icon Phua Chu Kang was also featured in a short, nostalgic film. Since the launch of AIA Centurion PA, there has been a significant spike in the number of customers in the 66 to 80 age group being protected against personal accidents. By consolidating AIA’s solutions and fostering awareness through its partnerships and campaigns, AIA Singapore has increased engagement across media platforms and uptake of holistic wellness solutions.

Digital innovation redefining life insurance

AIA Singapore was also recognised at the SBR Technology Excellence Awards for digital innovation in the life insurance sector. The award is a recognition of its efforts to enhance its point-of-sale platform, iPOS+.

Designed as a secure, simple and mobile digital platform, iPOS+ empowers insurance representatives to deliver exceptional service whilst providing customers

with a seamless, informed purchasing journey. iPOS+ offers insurance representatives a holistic view of customers’ financial needs and gaps whilst ensuring secure application submissions. It ensures rapid information updates and enhanced security, setting new standards in efficiency and professionalism.

The iPOS+ platform is equipped with modules ranging from Financial Health Review and quotation generation to application, review, sign-off, and payment processes. Its "Non-FaceTo-Face” Portal enables a dynamic two-way interaction between insurance representatives and customers, fostering closer collaboration and trust. Its application system also checks for alignment with the customer's financial profile, thereby enhancing accuracy and relevance. Through intuitive design and seamless integration with AIA’s digital ecosystem, iPOS+ fosters meaningful and personalised recommendations, setting a new benchmark for customer-centricity in the industry.

The impact of iPOS+ is remarkable, with significant improvements in key metrics. Applications are filled 25% faster, streamlining the sales process. Applicants also fill 30% fewer fields, reducing friction and enhancing the user experience.

The accolades garnered by AIA Singapore underscore its commitment to innovation, customer-centricity, and holistic wellness. Its triumph is a testament to its innovative spirit, pursuit of excellence, and dedication to empowering individuals and communities to live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives.

AIA Singapore is leading the way in championing holistic wellness through its AIA Health360 proposition and AIA Centurion PA plan

AIA Singapore took home the Life Insurance trophy at the SBR International Business Awards
AIA Singapore received the Digital - Life Insurance award the SBR Technology Excellence Awards

End-to-end Capabilities. One Platform.

Cadence wins with Verisium Platform at SBR Technology Excellence Awards 2024

It revolutionises SoC design and verification with AI and big data.

Cadence Design Systems has been celebrated for its innovative contributions to the semiconductor industry, securing the coveted AISemiconductor category award at the SBR Technology Excellence Awards 2024.

The company's groundbreaking Verisium AI-Driven Verification Platform represents a significant leap forward in electronic design automation (EDA), leveraging big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to transform the system-on-chip (SoC) design and verification process. As SoC complexity escalates, verification emerges as a pivotal, resourceintensive phase in chip development, highlighting the absolutely critical role of the Verisium platform in significantly streamlining and enhancing this process.

Revolutionising Chip Verification

The Verisium platform marks a departure from traditional single-run, single-engine approaches, introducing a paradigm where multiple runs of various engines are optimised across an entire design and verification campaign.

This AI-powered platform accelerates the identification of design issues, allowing chipmakers to address potential problems more efficiently than ever before.

The benefits of deploying the Verisium platform are many, including increased verification productivity, enhanced verification coverage, and accelerated root cause analysis. These advantages enable designers to dedicate more time to creative and strategic endeavours, ensure higherquality designs by uncovering otherwise

overlooked bugs, and swiftly pinpoint and rectify design flaws.

AI-Powered Verification Excellence

Verisium is built atop the Cadence Joint Enterprise Data and AI (JedAI) Platform, which analyses vast amounts of chip design process data to identify improvement opportunities and retain valuable insights for future projects. The JedAI platform unifies Cadence's computational software innovations across data and AI, extending from Verisium verification to the Cadence Cerebrus Intelligent Chip Explorer's implementation and the Optimality Intelligent System Explorer's system analysis.

The suite of Verisium apps, including Versium AutoTriage, Verisium CodeMiner, Verisium WaveMiner, Verisium PinDown, Verisium Debug, and Verisium Manager,

integrate seamlessly with the Cadence JedAI Platform. This integration enables AI-driven root cause analysis of bugs, offering users a comprehensive debugging solution that spans from IP to SoC and from single-run to multi-run scenarios. The platform facilitates both interactive and post-process debug flows, incorporating waveform, schematic, driver tracing, and SmartLog technologies.

Cadence's achievement at the SBR Technology Excellence Awards 2024 underscores its pivotal role in advancing the semiconductor industry through AI-driven innovation. The Verisium platform not only optimises the verification process but also embodies Cadence's commitment to pushing the boundaries of technological advancement, setting new standards for efficiency, and enhancing the quality of chip design across the globe.

The Verisium platform marks a departure from traditional single-run, single-engine approaches, introducing a paradigm where multiple runs of various engines are optimised across an entire design and verification campaign

The team at the SBR Technology Excellence Awards 2024 awards dinner
Cadence Design Systems, Inc. wins AI - Semiconductor award

Gulf Marine wins Enterprise Software - Marine Services at SBR Technology Excellence Awards

Gulf Marine Pte. Ltd. (Gulf Marine) has emerged as the recipient of the Enterprise Software - Marine Services category at the prestigious SBR Technology Excellence Awards 2024. This accolade recognises Gulf Marine's innovative Project Orchestrate, which represents a significant leap forward in operational efficiency, customer service enhancement, and employee experience improvement within the marine services industry.

Powered by Workato, an advanced integration platform as a service (iPaaS), Project Orchestrate embodies a strategic approach to automate and integrate complex workflows across multiple corporate systems. This initiative stands out by not only automating tasks but also orchestrating end-to-end workflows that simplify the intricacies of marine services operations. Gulf Marine's collaboration with Workato has facilitated a synergy between IT and business teams, fostering an operational model that

champions efficiency without compromising user-friendliness.

"As the business grew, our manual processes not only resulted in inefficiencies but also created pressure and tension amongst the global teams," said David Price, Gulf Marine’s Chief Executive Officer.

The vision behind Project Orchestrate was to enable Gulf Marine’s global teams to effectively manage the company's rapid growth, maintain personalised customer interactions, and offer a rewarding employee experience. By eliminating IT bottlenecks, automating labour-intensive processes, and cultivating a collaborative work environment, Gulf Marine can future-proof its technology infrastructure, ensuring scalability and customer-centricity.

Enhancing User Satisfaction

As Price emphasised, digital transformation is of the utmost importance in the company’s growth strategy. “We prioritise digital transformation to empower our team in handling increasing demands without overwhelming workloads, whilst maintaining a personal touch with our customers and elevating our employee experience to foster global team collaborations,” he stated.

The transformative impact of Project Orchestrate is evident in several key achievements. A notable quick win was the creation of a Microsoft Teams Workbot within just two days, empowering business users to independently resolve ERP session issues, thereby enhancing efficiency and user satisfaction. This innovation allowed Gulf Marine's ERP users worldwide to streamline their operations without delays caused by time zone differences or IT dependency.

Another significant triumph of the project was the automation of Gulf Marine's Pricing Tool. By integrating diverse platforms such as OutSystems, the ERP system, and through Workato, the pricing quotation process became 30% more efficient. This automation has saved over 530

hours monthly for 20 sales representatives, translating into cost savings exceeding US$200,000 annually. Plans to further automate product price updates promise additional annual savings of around US$540,000.

Customer-centric IT Solutions

Gulf Marine's pioneering efforts have not only streamlined immediate operational challenges but also set the stage for ongoing advancements across IT, customer service, and HR functions.

The successful implementation of Workato's integration-led automation positions Gulf Marine for continued innovation and growth, demonstrating a commitment to leading the marine services industry with a future-ready and efficient technology stack.

Joey Chua, Director of Digital and IT Transformation at Gulf Marine, echoes Price’s sentiments as he highlights the company's commitment to innovation and customer-centric IT solutions.

“We are committed to innovating userfriendly IT solutions that maximise value and deliver outstanding services throughout the customer journey. This commitment drives advancements across all departments, demonstrating our dedication to leading the marine services industry with efficient technology stacks that foster continuous innovation and growth,” said Chua.

The recognition of Gulf Marine for the Enterprise Software - Marine Services Award category at the SBR Technology Excellence Awards 2024 underscores the company's strategic foresight and innovative use of technology to redefine industry standards.

Project Orchestrate serves as a benchmark for how marine service providers can leverage automation and integration to enhance operational efficiency, customer engagement, and employee satisfaction, paving the way for sustained success in a competitive global market.

The SBR Technology Excellence Awards highlights outstanding companies in Singapore navigating the digital disruption wave, spearheading the technological revolution, and guiding their industries on digital journeys.

We are committed to innovating user-friendly IT solutions that maximise value and deliver outstanding services throughout the customer journey
'Project Orchestrate', powered by Workato, propels Gulf Marine to the forefront of innovation in marine services.
David Price, CEO of Gulf Marine Pte. Ltd.

Prosemi and Hi-Lo Systems Establish Strategic Partnership to Transform IC Programming

The partnership aims to revolutionise the industry and enhance their client capabilities through innovative solutions.

Prosemi Pte Ltd, the most trusted electronic component test house in Asia, has entered a strategic partnership with Hi-Lo Systems, a globally recognised provider of customised IC programming solutions. This collaboration is expected to significantly enhance the range of services offered to Prosemi's global customers, who depend on Prosemi for their IC programming and testing needs. By merging technology and business innovation, this partnership aims to propel the entire industry towards a more resilient, efficient future.

Enhanced Solutions for Customers

This partnership merges Prosemi's market reach and service with Hi-Lo system's expertise in custom IC programming. Hi-Lo system's advanced technology tackles design and production needs, from software to automated machines. Together, they support IC design houses and manufacturers throughout the process, from R&D to mass production. This customer-focused approach ensures solutions that are both innovative and market-driven.

Paul Huang, Vice President for Hi-Lo Systems shared, “Our collaboration with Prosemi represents a shared commitment

to excellence and customer satisfaction. Together we can create advanced, customised solutions that help our clients win in the competitive programming market.”

Accelerating Product Launches and Quick Market Response

A significant advantage for customers through this partnership is the ability to accelerate product development cycles. By involving Prosemi and Hi-Lo Systems in the creation of product roadmaps and leveraging existing solutions, customers ensure that new products can reach the market more quickly and efficiently.

This approach enables customers to quickly respond to emerging market opportunities and maintain a competitive edge in the dynamic programming industry. Hi-Lo System’s Trusted Platform Module (TPM) security solution will also accelerate time-to-market for a wide array of products from various manufacturers.

The partnership also enhances the exchange of market intelligence, enabling Prosemi's customers to stay ahead of market trends, consumer preferences, and competitive dynamics. This improved insight allows Prosemi's customers to refine their technology roadmaps and tailor products to align more closely with consumer demands.

Localised Marketing and Support

Prosemi’s global presence, with sales points spanning multiple continents, and Hi-Lo’s cutting-edge technology form a powerful combination that delivers significant benefits to customers worldwide.

The partnership’s focus on localised marketing ensures that customer support activities are specially tailored to meet regional needs, enhancing the effectiveness of these campaigns and ensuring they resonate well with a diverse audience.

Collaborative R&D for Innovations

A key element of this partnership is the joint focus on research and development. Prosemi and Hi-Lo Systems are dedicated to engaging in the early stages of chip designers' and customers' R&D processes to guarantee that the solutions created are precisely suited to both real-world applications and the manufacturing environment. This collaborative strategy not only speeds up the innovation process but also boosts manufacturing efficiency, aligning with the needs of customers.

SC Lee, Director at Prosemi, emphasised the importance of the partnership with Hi-Lo, stating, “Hi-Lo Systems' advanced programming equipment and reputation for cost-effective automation made them the perfect fit. Their solutions met all our requirements."

Prosemi's strategic partnership with Hi-Lo Systems illustrates a significant step forward in solidifying its position as the premier IC programming service provider in Southeast Asia. This collaboration offers a compelling and robust proposition for clients seeking dependable, efficient, and high-quality IC programming solutions.

With Prosemi's expertise and Hi-Lo's market reach, the future of IC programming in the region appears brighter than ever.

With Prosemi's expertise and Hi-Lo's market reach, the future of IC programming in the region appears brighter than ever

Automated Programming System Machine at Prosemi

Refract Technologies Brings Leading Local Technology to the World Stage

They challenge industry giants with AXIS, a pioneering full-body tracking system, offering unmatched accessibility and innovation in the XR space.

Interest in extended reality (XR) has surged, with tech giants like Meta, Apple, Samsung, LG, and Sony heavily investing in the space. Whilst these global trends dominate the industry, Singapore's Refract Technologies aims to disrupt with its homegrown innovations in gaming and entertainment. The primary form of interactivity in virtual reality currently relies on VR headsets, such as Meta's Quest 3 and Apple's Vision, both released earlier this year. These headsets provide a glimpse into the potential for deep VR immersion, edging closer to achieving fullbody integration in virtual worlds.

Refract Technologies is fulfilling this desire through the development and launch of AXIS, a leading wearable and game-oriented fullbody motion capture solution, allowing users to use their whole body as a game controller.

Revolutionising Full-Body VR Tracking

AXIS is the world’s first wireless, plug-andplay full-body tracking (FBT) system that combines professional motion capture technology with patent-pending inside-out positional tracking. Unlike most current FBT systems, which require external base stations and numerous trackers with a complex setup process, AXIS is affordable, fully untethered, and wireless. Users need only four tracker nodes to register their body movements in a virtual environment when using a VR headset. In addition to enhancing VR gaming experiences, AXIS motion trackers cater to various use cases. They support content creation, such as the popular Vtubing market, where influencers animate virtual avatars using live motion capture technology. Professional animation in filmmaking also benefits from this technology. Enterprise applications include immersive training for high-risk occupations and health and wellness use like remote rehabilitation and home fitness.

Leveraging AXIS in VTKD

This enterprise usage is best exemplified by Virtual Taekwondo (VTKD), a joint venture between Refract Technologies and World Taekwondo, in partnership with Alibaba Cloud. VTKD aims to remove barriers in traditional sports whilst creating complementary experiences to enrich the sporting ecosystem. This was showcased during the Olympic

Esports Week in Singapore, where players wore AXIS tracker nodes on their arms, legs, and head, allowing them to compete across weight classes, genders, and age groups, overcoming physical barriers.

The success of this locally-made FBT system has put Refract Technologies on the map, led by its Co-CEOs, Michael Chng, 38, and Ikhwan Zainal, 36. These CEOs have decades of experience working across diverse industries, including the esports and gaming industries. “AXIS’ accessibility brings professional-grade motion tracking to a much wider audience. This empowers users to bring these capabilities to both personal and professional pursuits, ranging from physically enhanced gaming and content creation to enterprise usage such as facilitating advanced training,” said Michael Chng, Co-CEO, Refract Technologies

AXIS Innovation Spurs Growth

The FBT system took Refract Technologies five years to ideate, design and engineer the hardware and software. This was unprecedented technology and a daunting task for Refract Technologies’ small team, even with the combined expertise and leadership of the Co-CEOs.

“We were aiming to address an issue that even tech industry titans are still grappling with,” said Ikhwan Zainal, Co-CEO, Refract Technologies. Whilst available for order, AXIS is now poised for wider market adoption in both the enterprise and consumer spaces

following heavy development and featurerich updates in the year.

“We’re very fortunate to have an inquisitive and passionate userbase who has been supportive throughout all our stages. In addition, we could depend on Alibaba Cloud's robust infrastructure and cloud-native technologies to deliver a latency-sensitive yet enriched experience for our global users. At the end of the day, we develop our technologies to better the lives of all our users. Their enthusiasm and continuous feedback have been invaluable in providing us with direction for improvement,” adds Chng.

Refract Expands XR Innovations

Whilst software and hardware updates for AXIS remain the company’s core focus, Refract Technologies is also developing a range of solutions and experiences in the XR space, including facial and finger tracking, as well as virtual enhancements for sports like rowing and boxing. Ultimately, Refract Technologies aims to “extend human experience beyond reality” through gamingled innovations, successfully bringing these advancements to the world stage.

“We hope to harness the massive potential of these technologies to enhance lives; from creating immersive entertainment experiences for consumers and prosumers to empowering enterprise applications,” concludes Zainal.

AXIS’ accessibility brings professional-grade motion tracking to a much wider audience

Michael Chng and Ikhwan Zainal, Co-CEOs, Refract Technologies


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SquareX enables Enterprises to Threat Hunt with Industry-first Attack Vision and Attack Graphs

The company provides unparalleled real-time protection and insights into web-based attacks through its industry-first attack vision and attack graphs.

Since its launch last year, SquareX has been trailblazing the browser security space for consumers. The browser extension - available both on Chrome and Edge stores - has been lauded by over 200,000 users worldwide to be their go-to service to stay safe online.

Users have enjoyed the convenience of opening links and files in secure disposable cloud environments without putting their devices at risk. Many cybersecurity and IT professionals also started using SquareX for their job-related tasks, and have been requesting an enterprise edition.

The much anticipated SquareX Enterprise Solution was unveiled at the RSA Conference 2024 where more than 30,000 security professionals had a chance to watch live demonstrations of the product. SquareX helps organisations detect, mitigate and threat-hunt web attacks happening against their users in real time. With our innovative browsernative security product, SquareX safeguards enterprise users from a spectrum of webbased threats, encompassing malicious files, websites, scripts, and compromised networks.

Web Attacks on your employees, a Blind Spot?

The web browser is the most used application within the enterprise but also the least protected. Bad actors are now increasingly targeting the weakest link: employees and consultants. Unfortunately, most of these attacks happen online when the employee or consultant is going about his daily work. Existing security solutions like Secure Web Gateways as part of SASE/SSE solutions are unable to protect users against modern web threats that happen on the client side, and endpoint security solutions have no visibility into what happens in the browser during an attack. This makes it currently impossible for enterprise security teams to detect, mitigate and threat-hunt these attacks.

“Billions of dollars are getting lost in cybersecurity attacks every single year — both end-users and enterprises. Attacks like phishing and ransomware are taking down both large and small organisations. SquareX has created the world’s first disruptive browser security product capable of detecting and mitigating all these threats.” shared Vivek Ramachandran, Founder and CEO of SquareX.

SquareX’s Technology Advantage

SquareX combines rules-based methods, heuristic analysis, and machine learning algorithms that run in the browser to continuously monitor page DOM changes, user interactions, and web traffic patterns to identify and block potential threats in real time.

Deploying SquareX is straightforward and transparent, with no downtime or lag. We offer a zero-footprint solution that doesn’t burden the IT environment but instead enhances its capability to preemptively tackle web-based threats. The benefits of adopting SquareX include:

Zero-Lag Detection and Mitigation: SquareX detects and responds to threats in real-time, ensuring that attacks are blocked or isolated instantaneously.

Upstream Detection and Mitigation: By catching threats before they reach the device, SquareX prevents potential damage and data loss to critical enterprise assets.

Universal Compatibility: SquareX provides comprehensive protection regardless of the enterprise’s browser preference.

Enhanced Threat Hunting: SquareX enables security teams to threat hunt sophisticated attacks across the organisation, providing insights that were previously inaccessible.

Industry-first Attack Vision and Complete Attack Graphs

What sets SquareX apart from other browser security vendors is its attack vision and attack graphs. When an attack happens, a graph of where the attack originated, who the attacker was, and every user interaction that led to the attack is generated and

sent to the SquareX Enterprise Portal. The attack vision feature provides short recordings of user interactions for a reconstruction of the attack. This is made possible through SquareX’s browser extension that constantly monitors the user’s interaction with websites.

Through our automated threat hunting feature, the admin can see all related attacks across the organisation. Our AI Copilot presents a full timeline analysis of the attack and proposes remedial measures.

Recognised by SBR Tech Excellence

Awards for Cybersecurity

SquareX presents a powerful solution for enterprises looking to enhance their cybersecurity infrastructure against modern web threats. SquareX is wellpositioned to help businesses protect their endpoints and employees in an increasingly complex and threat-laden online environment.

In recognition of its fast adoption in the past year and massive growth as a startup, SquareX was awarded the SBR Technology Excellence Awards in the CybersecurityInternet and New Media category this year.

Interested in a pilot for your enterprise? Email us at Visit our website:

Attacks like phishing and ransomware are taking down both large and small organisations. SquareX has created the world’s first disruptive browser security product capable of detecting and mitigating all these threats

Team SquareX at SBR Tech Excellence Awards 2024

Tech-forward Hospitality: Ascott Breaks New Ground with AI and Innovative Solutions

Ascott clinched the AI – Hospitality & Leisure award at the SBR Technology Awards 2024 for its GenAIpowered web chatbot.

The rapid advancement of technology in recent years has emerged as a game-changer in hospitality, reshaping every aspect of the guest experience – from accommodation booking and checking in to delivering personalised service.

At the forefront of this tech revolution is The Ascott Limited (Ascott), a global hospitality company that has established itself as a forward-looking innovator in the hospitality industry. By boldly experimenting with and implementing groundbreaking solutions, the lodging business unit wholly owned by CapitaLand Investment (CLI) has continually raised the bar on guest experience, operational efficiency, and sustainability progress. One such innovation is Cubby, Ascott’s web chatbot that leverages the transformative potential of generative artificial intelligence (AI). Keeping pace with the evolving expectations of modern travellers, Ascott unveiled Cubby last year, to elevate the guest experience with 24/7 ondemand travel planning.

Cubby, which resides on Ascott’s global website, is designed to play the role of ‘travel buddy’ to guests around the world. Built on Microsoft OpenAI, the chatbot utilises real-time data, as well as Ascott’s internal data, to assist guests with various facets of travel – including itinerary planning, accommodation recommendations and even seamless room bookings via deep links. It is also equipped to provide travel

insights including destination highlights and must-visit attractions. Ms Tan Bee Leng, Chief Commercial Officer, Ascott and Managing Director, Digital Ventures, CLI, said: “An exciting quest of learning and discovery began as Ascott took its first step into the future of personalised travel exploration with the pilot launch of Cubby, where innovation meets warm and cuddly hospitality. Cubby, with its AI prowess, taps into a vast treasure trove of data, enabling fast analysis of travel preferences, trends, and recommendations; from suggesting hidden gems to tailoring itineraries that match specific areas of interest. As we journey alongside our valued guests in this shared adventure of innovative experimentation, every interaction with Cubby is set to unlock a realm of limitless possibilities in AI-driven travel planning.

As a productivity tool, Cubby also supports Ascott’s live chat agents, so that they can focus on responding to more complex inquiries which require deeper and more thorough engagement with guests. Within the first three months of launch, the Cubby chatbot responded to over 60,000 queries, ranging from itinerary planning to accommodation recommendations. Cubby consolidates these convenient services into a single, user-friendly platform and will become multichannel in its next phase, empowering today’s tech-savvy travellers with access to instant information and travel planning at their fingertips.

Turbocharging Efficiency and Sustainability Progress

Ascott’s tech-forward approach extends beyond chatbots. The company has been on an accelerated digital ecosystem transformation since 2019, to support its fast-expanding global lodging portfolio which now spans over 950 properties across more than 40

countries. Whether it is an AI concierge to alleviate tasks for frontline operations or applications that enable predictive modelling to propel commercial decisions, Ascott continues to push boundaries on innovation to elevate its future readiness.

Streamlining operations through automation

A key area of focus is driving automation, to elevate service efficiency for guests and empower associates with greater productivity. With routine tasks automated, associates are able to focus on what truly matters: providing personalised and exceptional service to guests. Self-checkin kiosks, for instance, are test-piloted in Singapore and planned for global roll-out; these kiosks harness computer vision AI and are able to streamline the check-in process.

Technology Crowdsourcing for Sustainability Progress

With an unwavering commitment to sustainability, Ascott harnesses innovation to elevate sustainability performance across its global portfolio. Through initiatives such as the CapitaLand Sustainability X Challenge, Ascott identifies groundbreaking sustainability solutions that effectively make buildings more climate-resilient and resourceefficient. Selected solutions, such as an AI-powered cooling optimisation system, undergo rigorous test-piloting at Ascott’s properties, and those successfully piloted may be implemented globally.

These are just some of the tech-forward initiatives that firmly position Ascott as a trailblazing champion of innovation in the hospitality industry. Now more than ever, Ascott is ready to embark on a transformative journey, to break new ground and shape the future of hospitality through continued innovation. Marking 40 years of service, the global hospitality company is poised to go unlimited in offering the world’s travellers unlimited flexibility and positively impact the future of travel. Find out more at

Ascott took its first step into the future of personalised travel exploration with the pilot launch of Cubby, where innovation meets warm and cuddly hospitality

MUFG Wins FinOps Banking Award at SBR Technology Excellence Awards 2024


up a new branch office takes time, but with agility, teamwork, and communication, MUFG’s business and IT teams across India, Singapore and Japan defied geographical hurdles to open its newest GIFT City branch in Gujarat within a record eight months.

“GIFT Day 1.0” was a shining testament to the professionalism, strength and flexibility of our teams to ensure we build a robust infrastructure capable of meeting the diverse needs of MUFG’s clientele in this region. Despite the ambitious timeline and extensive requirements of establishing a new branch, our IT teams from the Asian System Office (ASO) adopted an agile methodology to overcome potential hurdles with efficiency.

MUFG Team at the SBR Technology Excellence Awards dinner

Thakral One is a technology consulting and services company headquartered in Singapore, with a pan-Asian presence. We are heavily inclined towards building capabilities collaboratively with clients to collectively deliver grounded and practical outcomes.

How We Help Clients

Technology Consulting

Helping organisations to navigate complex challenges surrounding their core systems, enterprise architecture, and IT modernisation, fostering an environment primed for adaptability and innovation.

Data & Analytics

Crafting bespoke data strategies rooted in business objectives, unlocking data potential with use cases, establishing analytics capabilities / skills via training, and leveraging advanced analytics to gain competitive advantage through insightful decision-making.


Providing expert guidance to organisations as they define their technology needs, evaluate options, and implement solutions that seamlessly align with their digital journey, ensuring success at every stage of the process.

People & Talent

Enhancing project agility by integrating adept technology experts into delivery teams, streamlining workflows, tackling evolving requirements, addressing technical competencies, and expediting time-to-completion.

Enhancing Infrastructure Health with fiber sensing technology

Ensuring the safety and integrity of infrastructures is of paramount importance and fiber sensing technology has been emerging as a game-changer in this domain. Several infrastructure monitoring applications are available with VIAVI fiber sensing interrogators:

Trusted Manufacturer, Distributor, Solution Provider and Integrator of IoT Monitoring Solutions

We are a trusted manufacturer, distributor, solution provider and integrator of IoT monitoring solutions for thermal, partial discharge, vibration and arc detection applications We specialise in end-to-end predictive non-contact thermal monitoring solutions and bring industrial IoT, Big Data and A I to organisations in any industry that needs real-time business insights



Per formance you can rely on.

Singapore's business elite honoured at SBR International and National Business Awards

From technological advancements that open new growth avenues to a competitive landscape that demands constant innovation, staying ahead requires resilience and strategic thinking. Businesses in Singapore, in particular, are no strangers to this dynamic environment.

The SBR International Business Awards and SBR National Business Awards aim to laud companies that have navigated these challenges and emerged as leaders in their respective fields.

The Singapore Business Review held a glittering Awards Dinner on 23 April 2024 at Marina Bay Sands to celebrate the winners of the prestigious awards programmes. The event shone a spotlight on outstanding companies and projects that significantly contributed to Singapore's dynamic business landscape.

The SBR International Business Awards, launched in 2014, celebrates the achievements of foreign companies operating in Singapore. This year's edition recognised outstanding projects that have helped these international organisations establish a strong foothold in the Lion City.

SBR International Business Awards 2024 Winners

AIA Singapore Life Insurance

Charles Monat Associates Pte Ltd

Insurance Broker



Endress+Hauser (S.E.A.) Pte Ltd

Manufacturing Technology

Etiqa Insurance Pte Ltd

Financial Services

Exyte Singapore Pte Ltd

Industrial Construction

FedEx Logistics

Fluence Corporation


Iron Mountain Data Centers

Data Center

ISS Facility Services Pte Ltd

Building Services & Facilities

Meanwhile, the SBR National Business Awards, established in 2016, honours local and homegrown companies. This year's ceremony saw awards presented to companies whose projects have demonstrably fueled Singapore's economic growth.

The esteemed judging panel is comprised of some of the region's most respected leaders, namely Siah Weng Yew, Risk Advisory Leader at Deloitte Singapore; Greg Unsworth, Digital Business and Risk Services Leader at PwC Singapore; Sumit Nurpuri, Partner, Consulting and Singapore Markets Transformation Lead at Ernst & Young Advisory Pte. Ltd.; Irving Low, Partner, Head of Priority Client Coverage at KPMG Singapore; Qiu Wenqi, Partner at RSM; Roger Loo, Executive Director and Head of Management Consulting Services at BDO Consultants Pte Ltd; and Henry Tan, Group CEO & Chief Innovation Officer at CLA Global TS Holdings Pte. Ltd.

A hearty congratulations to all the winners on their well-deserved recognition. See the full list of winners below:

London School of Business and Finance, Singapore Campus Education

RHB Singapore Banking

Silverlake Axis Technology

Vita Life Sciences Ltd.

Health Products & Services

SBR National Business Awards 2024 Winners

Adventus Singapore Pte Ltd IT Services

Cladtek Holdings Pte Ltd Manufacturing

Cloud Mile Pte Ltd

Cloud Services

Coliwoo Property Services


Real Estate

FairPrice Group Supply Chain

Supply Chain

Great Eastern Life Assurance Co. Ltd

Life Insurance

GXS Bank Pte Ltd

Financial Technology

Jet Quay Pte. Ltd.

Travel Services

Leap Digicommerce Pte Ltd

Internet/New Media

Social Media Marketing

OUE REIT Management Pte. Ltd.

Commercial Real Estate Trust

Phaos Technology Pte. Ltd.

Manufacturing Technology

PSB Academy Education

Rezeca Renewables Pte Ltd.


SBS Transit Ltd


Sentosa Development Corporation


Singapore Aero Engine Services Pte Ltd


Stamcorp International Pte Ltd

Metals & Mining

Tookitaki Holding Pte Ltd


Trusted Hub Ltd

Business Services

Union Marine Management Services Pte Ltd


United Overseas Bank Ltd


WEnergy Global Pte Ltd

Renewable Energy

Wiseasy Technology Pte Ltd Payments

Y3 Technologies Pte Ltd


Adventus Singapore Pte Ltd
AIA Singapore
Charles Monat Associates Pte Ltd
Cladtek Holdings Pte Ltd
Cloud Mile Pte Ltd


Endress+Hauser (S.E.A.) Pte Ltd
Etiqa Insurance Pte Ltd
FairPrice Group Supply Chain
Exyte Singapore Pte Ltd FedEx
Fluence Corporation
Iron Mountain Data Centers
Great Eastern Life Assurance Co. Ltd
GXS Bank Pte Ltd
ISS Facility Services Pte Ltd
Jet Quay Pte. Ltd.
Phaos Technology Pte. Ltd.
Leap Digicommerce Pte Ltd
OUE REIT Management Pte. Ltd. PSB Academy
London School of Business and Finance, Singapore Campus
Rezeca Renewables Pte Ltd.
RHB Singapore
Sentosa Development Corporation
Silverlake Axis
Singapore Aero Engine Services Pte Ltd
Stamcorp International Pte Ltd
Trusted Hub Ltd
Union Marine Management Services Pte Ltd
Vita Life Sciences Ltd.
WEnergy Global Pte Ltd
Wiseasy Technology Pte Ltd
Y3 Technologies Pte Ltd

Y3 Technologies wins in the Logistics category at the SBR National Business Awards 2024

The company was recognised for its new standard of transformative supply chain and logistics technologies.

Y3 Technologies' innovative supply chain and logistics solution clinched top honours in the Logistics category at the SBR National Business Awards 2024. This recognition highlights Y3's commitment to excellence, especially in the luxury market, propelled by a strategic partnership between YCH Group and Tapestry Inc, a house of iconic accessories and lifestyle brands consisting of Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman. Together, they introduced a groundbreaking logistics solution across Asia Pacific, setting new standards for efficiency and redefining the logistics industry.

"Innovation isn't just about change; it's about transformation in the way we think and how we look to the future. Our solutions aren't just game changers; they're the catalysts for positive and impactful transformations in the supply chain and logistics industry," said Navin Bhatnagar, CEO of Y3.

Elevating Luxury Logistics Through Advanced Robotics and Integrated Systems

To achieve operational excellence, Y3 has strategically integrated Warehouse Management, Transport Management, and Order Management Systems into YCH's logistical infrastructure, leveraging advanced robotics automation and state-of-the-art systems. Robotics automation optimises warehouse operations by automating tasks such as picking, packing, and sorting, leading to increased throughput and reduced labour costs. Sophisticated systems provide realtime visibility into inventory levels, shipment status, and order processing, enabling proactive decision-making and enhancing overall efficiency.

By seamlessly integrating these systems, YCH's logistics infrastructure achieves enhanced coordination and synchronisation across the supply chain, resulting in reduced lead times, improved accuracy, and heightened responsiveness to customer demands which streamline operations and unlock cost savings.

Revolutionising Logistics with Cutting-edge Systems

The robust pillars of Y3’s innovation are the Automated Carton Retrieval System (ACRS), Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS), and the Dimension and Weighing System (DWS). These state-of-

the-art systems automate key warehouse processes, including carton retrieval, storage, and retrieval. The ACRS, a first in Singapore, minimises manual labour and reduces retrieval times, leading to increased productivity and throughput. It helps businesses to optimise warehouse utilisation, track inventory in real-time, and avoid minimal stockouts or overstocks.

The ASRS optimises storage space utilization and enhances inventory management by automatically storing and retrieving items, minimising stockouts or overstock situations and streamlining warehouse operations. Seamlessly integrated with traditional infrastructures, these systems have transformed YCH's logistics into a model of efficiency and innovation.

The DWS revolutionises freight processing and packaging optimisation by capturing dimensions, weight, and volume, streamlining the freight process into a costefficient operation. It provides strategic insights into shipping patterns, paving the way for significant savings. YCH's adoption of this advanced technology ensures that logistics processes are optimised for precision and efficiency.

One of the most notable achievements of the collaboration is the optimisation of the Certificate of Origin process. By leveraging Y3’s ingenious picking rules, significant savings have been experienced by certain countries with tax-free exemptions on

imported goods, resulting in quicker delivery times and further cost reductions.

Leveraging the latest and most advanced technologies

With a keen focus on deep technology, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), Radio-Frequency Identification, and Copilot, Y3 is pioneering innovative solutions that redefine efficiency and effectiveness in logistics management. These technologies enable us to collect and analyse vast amounts of data in real time, empowering businesses to make informed decisions and optimise their supply chain processes.

Our commitment to Native Cloud development and DevOps practices ensures that our solutions are cutting-edge, scalable, secure, and seamlessly integrated with existing systems. By embracing these technologies, we streamline logistics operations and revolutionise supply chain management. We deliver solutions that are agile, adaptive, and ahead of the curve in a rapidly evolving industry.

Integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance Principles into Logistics

In an era where environmental concerns are paramount, Y3 is committed to sustainability, seamlessly integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance principles into its supply chain and logistics operations. Y3 places a strong emphasis on reducing its carbon footprint, promoting eco-friendly practices, and adopting green energy solutions.

The path ahead for Y3

Forging ahead, Y3 strives to provide a comprehensive 4PL platform to assist clients in better managing end-to-end logistics operations. By embedding advanced IoT devices into our products, Y3 will deliver real-time monitoring of cargo truck and driver movements ensuring greater visibility and efficiency. Y3 will incorporate Copilot into the software life cycle to fast-track the delivery of highquality products. In addition, Y3 will work closely with our partners to incorporate deed technologies such as digital twin and predictive analysis into projects.

Innovation isn't just about change; it's about transformation in the way we think and how we look to the future
Navin Bhatnagar, CEO of Y3

Charles Monat Associates Triumph In Fighting Pneumonia As Part Of Their Philanthropic Cause

The firm provided healthcare interventions and educational programmes to prevent pneumonia in Indonesia's rural areas.

Did you know that pneumonia is the leading cause of death for children in Indonesia? This is largely due to limited access to healthcare and a lack of awareness about the severity of the illness, which is often dismissed as a common cough.

Four years ago, during the peak of COVID-19, Charles Monat Associates—a global life insurance brokerage firm catering to high-net-worth individuals—set out to save as many lives as possible by providing accessible healthcare vaccinations and interventions to children in Indonesia’s remote areas.

The firm's determination to fight pneumonia began not by chance but from a personal story close to the heart of Yves

Guélat, the Group's Chief Executive Officer. His father suffered from a lung-related illness for many years before his death, which motivated Guélat to contribute meaningfully to prevent others from suffering similarly, especially since pneumonia is a preventable disease. To date, Charles Monat Associates, in partnership with Save The Children, local Indonesian healthcare communities, and government officials, has impacted over 541,000 lives in just three years.

Immediate and Long-Term Goals

In the short term, the firm's goal was clear: to implement pneumonia-preventive measures through widespread vaccinations and healthcare interventions for infants and

At Charles Monat, we help our clients create and build a legacy for themselves and their loved ones. We wanted to work on a project that was an extension of us in creating a legacy to help the world

children who need them.

In the mid to long term, under the guidance of Save The Children, they believe that training healthcare experts within the local community will create the most sustainable solution for the rural areas of Indonesia. This involves educating caregivers and families of young children, increasing symptomatic knowledge amongst voluntary healthcare workers, and educating the community at large with the support of local authorities.

To date, a total of 29 in-hospital medical facilities across Central Lombok have been established, and 310 pop-up medical huts were created. A total of 283 respected members of the local health community and 1,100 front-line healthcare workers have been trained and certified in treating childhood pneumonia, impacting over 541,000 young lives.

The triumph of the mission has been focused on creating long-term sustainability by equipping locals with critical knowledge transfers to caregivers and healthcare systems. Improvements in behavioural habits amongst caregivers and families, such as reducing the number of smokers at home, have vastly improved the living conditions of infants and young children. Public educational programmes were also conducted regularly via radio talk shows, public events, and engaging pamphlets.

Extending Legacy Through Philanthropy

“At Charles Monat, we help our clients create and build a legacy for themselves and their loved ones. We wanted to work on a project that was an extension of us in creating a legacy to help the world. Embarking on a philanthropy project with Save The Children is our way of extending that legacy to our communities,” said Yves Guélat, Group Chief Executive Officer at Charles Monat Associates.

It is clear that the work Charles Monat Associates has done with Save The Children has laid the foundations for crucial knowledge transfers within the communities for years to come. They are confident that their efforts will pave the way for reducing deaths resulting from pneumonia and continue to urge more individuals to support the cause.

Local community projects in Central Lombok
The project impacted over 541,000 young lives


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Cladtek redefined operational excellence with its iN-Shield programme

The company was recognised at this year's SBR National Business Awards 2024 for its innovative approach to its Global Transformation.

As a global leader in Corrosion Resistant Alloys (CRA) weld overlay cladding and CRA Mechanically Lined Pipe (MLP), Cladtek's focus is on providing reliable service and developing processes and technologies that are value-added for their customers and low carbon intensity for the energy sector.

With more than two decades of industry experience, the company is known for its commitment to innovation and new technology development across Onshore, Offshore, Subsea, Sub Surface, Geothermal, Carbon Capture (CCUS) and Hydrogen Storage.

Offering a comprehensive solution for CRAclad piping systems, including pipes, fittings, flanges, pressure vessels, valves, induction bends, fabrication services and connected reusable flowline and riser systems.

Over the past 20 years, Cladtek has consistently delivered high-quality products and innovative solutions with zero failures in service. The company continues to push the boundaries for the largest diameter and complexity of MLP, leading significant improvements in the manufacturing process, establishing new benchmarks, and raising the industry standards.

Setting the industry standard

The iN-Shield programme integrates nine competencies and industry best practices to streamline operational processes across all of Cladtek’s facilities, ensuring standardisation, simplification, and continuous improvement

on a global scale.

The programme leverages lean tools such as 5S, Kaizen, and visual management to drive efficiency and reduce costs. Last financial year, Cladtek achieved $4m in savings and is on track to reach another $5m this year, demonstrating the commitment to achieving its operational excellence targets.

Meanwhile, the iN-Safe initiative prioritises measures that eliminate the risk of accidents, improve the performance of safety, health and the environment, encourage its employees to live a safe behaviour and focus on the preservation of human life.

Similarly, the Built iN-Quality (BIQ) initiative enhances product excellence through integrated quality assurance measures and processes to prevent defects and ensure high-quality products that increase customer satisfaction. The innovation initiative aims to leverage automation, technical standardisation and research development together which allows Cladtek to remain competitive, meet the evolving needs of its customers and adapt to new market conditions through the energy transition.

Supporting sustainable growth of the energy sector

As the energy industry undergoes a

significant shift towards sustainability and energy transition, companies like Cladtek are actively leading the change to ensure cleaner processes, reduced carbon emissions, and the exploration of alternative feedstocks that align with global environmental objectives.Cladtek demonstrates a strong commitment to sustainability through a variety of ESG initiatives. These efforts include a targeted 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and the establishment of the Cladtek Academy, which offers education and vocational training. Additionally, the company participates in eco-friendly activities like beach clean-ups and vegetable gardens, as well as community development projects that support orphanages in Batam, Indonesia, where one of their facilities is located.

Looking ahead, Cladtek is focused on expanding its market presence regionally and internationally, prioritising innovation, product development, and operational efficiency through initiatives like the iN-Shield programme. This dedication reflects their longstanding commitment to sustainability and meeting the evolving needs of the energy sector.

Leading positive change globally

Driving global positive change from its Singapore headquarters, the company serves clients across Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas. Operational excellence is standardised across the three facilities in Indonesia, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia, ensuring collaboration, alignment amongst employees, and delivering high-quality results to customers worldwide efficiently.

With plans to open a fourth production site in Qatar by 2025, the company aims to maintain flexibility, respond to market trends, invest in R&D, and strategically expand its global presence further. Initiatives like the iN-Shield programme reflect the company's commitment to safety, quality, innovation, and sustainability, optimising operational efficiency and customer satisfaction globally.

Driving global positive change from its Singapore headquarters, the company serves clients across Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas

Cladtek Holdings Pte Ltd at the SBR National Business Awards 2024 awards night

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Innovative SCope Solution Propels FairPrice Group to Victory at SBR National Business Awards 2024

FairPrice Group (FPG) was recognised at the SBR Business Review 2024 for its Supply Chain Operation Centre (SCope).

FPGSC's Award-Winning Resilience

A trusted household name, FairPrice Group (FPG) has been an integral part of Singaporean lives, steadfast in keeping daily essentials within reach for all in Singapore since 1973. Behind this commitment lies the FairPrice Group Supply Chain (FPGSC)—the silent orchestrator ensuring that shelves remain stocked, even amidst global turbulence. To continue its mission of ensuring a reliable supply of essentials for its customers, FPGSC established the cutting-edge Supply Chain Operation Centre (SCope) in 2021. With this innovative solution, providing comprehensive, nearreal-time visibility across the entire supply chain, threats and disruptions are assessed, allowing for proactive planning. This was evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, as FPG continued to ensure a steady supply for its customers. These efforts in ensuring supply resilience earned FPGSC the Supply Chain Award at the 2024 SBR National Business Review Awards.

SCope: Enhancing Supply Chain Visibility, Resilience, and Efficiency

SCope serves as the central nervous system, ensuring supply chain visibility, resilience, and efficiency. Recognising the increased need for real-time data to better plan and ensure resilience, SCope helps FPGSC achieve nearreal-time, end-to-end visibility across the

supply chain. By aggregating and processing 60 million data points daily, including news, weather, shipments, and distribution networks, SCope keeps FPGSC agile and responsive to market dynamics.

FairPrice Group's Supply Chain Triumph

Since the inception of SCope, FPGSC has made significant strides in enhancing SCope’s capabilities, especially in the crucial domain of farm-level tracking. This included tackling the industry-wide challenge of effectively monitoring suppliers, such as commercial farms supplying live poultry and rice cultivators, which are often the most vulnerable to external shocks. The integration of Everstream into SCope has enabled FPGSC to track the health and safety of commercial farms supplying livestock to its primary suppliers in the country of origin.

Everstream’s integration into SCope provides FPGSC with real-time updates on potential issues affecting farms within a specified radius. For instance, when SCope detects an incident related to avian flu outbreak in commercial farms in North America, FPGSC was able to act swiftly and decisively. This ensured continuous supply for customers by switching Frozen supplies from Supplier A to Supplier B during the Avian flu outbreak. SCope's timely detection of potential disruptions in the poultry supply chain supported this decision. Not only did

Looking ahead, FPG remains steadfast in strengthening supply chain resilience through SCope, aligned with its commitment to supporting the nation’s food resilience goals

it ensure continuity in the poultry supply chain, but it also resulted in cost efficiency and reinforced its commitment to help all in Singapore keep daily essentials within reach.

SCope also utilises cutting-edge technologies to monitor shipments, road traffic, and potential jams along the causeway. This proactive approach gives FPGSC the information needed to redirect supplies through alternative causeways or during periods of reduced traffic, preventing potential delays and disruptions.

This preventive measure safeguards against incidents like an unfortunate event in 2021, where over 3000 chickens from Malaysia perished due to hot weather and checkpoint congestion.

Future of SCope

Looking ahead, FPG remains steadfast in strengthening supply chain resilience through SCope, aligned with its commitment to supporting the nation’s food resilience goals. SCope plays a crucial role in contributing to Singapore's food security, collaborating to bring new food sources to benefit other distributors. For instance, SCope identified new procurement channels, not only benefiting FPG but also expanding reliable supplier options, enhancing food resilience, and diversifying sources for Singapore as a whole. For example, adding Indonesia and Thailand to the nation’s sources for fresh poultry is one of the many decisions guided by SCope's insights into emerging market trends and potential risks. SCope is poised for continuous evolution and advancement, with recent expansions into corp, and farm-level research, exemplifying its commitment to ongoing development.

Sustainable Supply Chain Innovation

Beyond supply chain resilience, FPG actively seeks to enhance SCope's capabilities to minimise its carbon footprint. FPG’s adoption of a fleet of electric vehicles is complemented by a robust system that monitors their performance and tracks the resulting reduction in carbon emissions. FPG’s future vision includes exploring platforms to gain visibility into the carbon footprint of its shipments, contributing to the establishment of a sustainable and efficient supply chain. In essence, SCope remains at the forefront of innovation, not only ensuring the reliability of the supply chain but also embodying FPG's dedication to environmental sustainability and social responsibility.

FairPrice Group (FPG) team

Singapore’s $1b AI Investment: Is your data ready to catch up?

CloudMile leverages this initiative, empowering businesses to optimise their data strategies and accelerate their digital transformation journeys.

In a resounding declaration of commitment to technological advancement, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong announced in the 2024 Budget speech that Singapore will invest more than 1 billion Singapore dollars over the next five years to boost the country's AI capabilities. This significant investment underscores the pivotal role that Gen AI plays in shaping Singapore's future. CloudMile, a leading cloud and AI company with a presence across Asia Pacific, has been empowering businesses with data strategies and applying AI technology to fuel their growth.

Empowering Digital Transformation

CloudMile stands as a trusted partner, empowering enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation through cutting-edge cloud technology and machine learning. With a mission to accelerate digital transformation for every enterprise, CloudMile revolutionises the way businesses harness the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) through various data analytics and AI jumpstart programmes.

"Recognising the boundless opportunities presented by leveraging AI for heightened efficiency, productivity, and innovation, Singaporean businesses find themselves at a crucial juncture," states Jeremy Heng, Managing Director of CloudMile SEA. "CloudMile's extensive suite of data, cloud, and AI services, complemented by our

unwavering support, empowers enterprises to embark on a transformative digital journey, fostering sustainable growth and unlocking new realms of success."

A robust data strategy is widely recognised as the foundation for a successful AI journey, and CloudMile understands the significance of building an effective AI strategy upon a solid data foundation. By integrating enterprise data with meticulous cloud architecture design, CloudMile's professional services optimse cloud efficiency and unlock new business possibilities for its clients.

Driving AI Innovation Forward

CloudMile actively drives innovation as part of AI Trailblazers—an initiative by the Ministry of Communications and Information, DISG, SNDGO, and Google Cloud. This collaborative effort aims to identify 100 Gen AI use cases within 100 days, involving over 85 organisations across the government and industry. Through this initiative, CloudMile contributes to the exploration of AI's potential across diverse sectors.

To deliver a comprehensive AI experience, CloudMile has established the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Malaysia. This industryfirst initiative serves customers across Southeast Asia and equips businesses of all sizes with upskilling programmes for AI and cloud-first practices. Through the CoE, CloudMile ensures its customers are wellprepared to embrace the transformative

potential of AI and maintain a competitive edge in the digital landscape.

CloudMile goes beyond technical support and consultation by forging strong partnerships with a diverse range of Independent Software Vendors (ISV). This collaboration enables CloudMile to offer comprehensive solutions tailored to each client's unique requirements, empowering enterprises to unlock unprecedented growth opportunities by harnessing the full potential of cloud technology and AI.

Driving Excellence in AI

CloudMile's dedication to excellence is exemplified through numerous recognitions and certifications. With over 150 accreditations and 60+ Cloud professional certifications. The company's expertise extends to Machine Learning, Data Analytics, Cloud Migration, Infrastructure, Security, Training, and Work Transformation, making CloudMile the go-to partner for successful digital transformation.

In 2024, CloudMile was awarded the prestigious title of Google Cloud Sales & Services: Singapore Partner of the Year, further highlighting its commitment to delivering exceptional results and providing unmatched consultation and professional services to its clients.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, CloudMile remains steadfast in its commitment to drive digital transformation and enable enterprises to embrace the power of AI. Through its data analytics and AI jumpstart programmes, professional services, and cutting-edge CoE, CloudMile revolutionises the way businesses approach digital transformation. Join CloudMile on this transformative journey and unlock the full potential of AI for your enterprise.

CloudMile's extensive suite of data, cloud, and AI services, complemented by our unwavering support, empowers enterprises to embark on a transformative digital journey, fostering sustainable growth and unlocking new realms of success

Jeremy Heng, Managing Director of CloudMile SEA
CloudMile team at the SBR National Business Awards 2024

How Trusted Hub Limited boosts business through smart B2B platforms

Explore how Trusted Hub’s 'Exchange' revolutionises inter-company collaborations, enabling businesses to gain a competitive edge in dynamic markets.

Inter-company collaboration vacuum

To boost productivity in a fiercely competitive market, companies often focus on optimising internal processes, which they can control entirely. Whilst this leads to internal efficiency, it does not address any lack of agility in external collaborations.

As such, there's significant potential for improving inter-company processes, offering a competitive edge, as businesses frequently engage in transactions beyond their immediate environment.

For instance, banks collaborate with external valuers and conveyancing lawyers for housing loans, airlines coordinate with global central kitchens for inflight meals, and insurance companies work with medical panels for client assessments.

Exchange to the rescue

Over the past 20 years, we have worked with over 100 companies from various sectors, including SMEs and MNCs, on both missioncritical and non-mission-critical projects. This extensive experience has allowed us to witness the intricacies of inter-company collaborations firsthand. From these observations and multiple solution iterations, we've identified the key components of successful collaboration and used them to create a generic, highly efficient B2B platform called the Exchange.

An Exchange is a smart partnership platform that intelligently matches companies with potential partners based on specified criteria. It automatically initiates and

manages the necessary workflows with all relevant stakeholders. Upon completion of the workflow, the platform also triggers the payment settlement process.

What are the benefits of Exchange?

1. Companies seeking services do not have to manually pre-source and pre-qualify potential partners on a regular basis.

2. Partnerships are formed dynamically, i.e. only when services are required. Therefore, companies can choose from the latest offerings and eliminate questionable practices that may arise from old & stale partnerships.

3. Less end-to-end time is needed, from the initiation of a service request to its full completion, than with conventional partnership collaboration models. Sometimes the reduction in time taken can be as much as 10x.

4. The payment settlement is done automatically without the need for manual reconciliation, which can be a high-cost activity for collaborations that have a high number of transactions per month.

Examples of Exchanges

An Exchange is crafted to serve a specific purpose and requires at least two community groups: one group seeking services to achieve this purpose, and another providing the required services. For example:

1. Companies with assets to dispose of and companies needing to acquire such assets.

2. Companies seeking funds for projects and investment companies seeking to invest in potential business opportunities.

3. Insurance providers sourcing medical examination clinics for their potential clients and clinics that provide medical examination services. For more complex purposes, additional community groups may be involved.




How is it transforming the collaboration between insurance & medical examination clinics in Singapore? Potential insurance clients often need medical examinations for underwriting purposes. Medex automates transactions between insurers, clients, and approved medical clinics, enhancing efficiency. When a client applies for insurance, Medex quickly notifies the client to schedule a medical examination at a convenient location and time from a network of vetted clinics. At the clinic, Medex systematically oversees the comprehensive medical examination process, enabling doctors and nurses to operate efficiently. Insurance companies receive electronic medical reports on the same day, allowing underwriters to process applications quickly—often within days instead of weeks. Medex also enables clinics to accurately and promptly bill insurance companies for various medical examinations, ensuring resources at both insurance companies and clinics are utilised effectively.

An Exchange is a smart partnership platform that intelligently sources potential partners based on the criteria of the service-seeking company

ISS Singapore Shaping the Future of Workplace Sustainability

Connecting people and places enabling a brighter tomorrow for our planet, through green facility management initiatives.

With people and places at the core of its business, ISS Singapore champions sustainable business models that prioritise environmental responsibility and community well-being. Their recent attainment of the Green Mark Platinum certification is a testament to their goal of reducing carbon emissions and reshaping facility management practices. Addressing the pressing issue of carbon

emissions, which constitute a significant 70% of total emissions in buildings, ISS embeds sustainability across all parts of its facility service deliveries—striving to minimise their own environmental footprint through green solutions while empowering clients to do the same. Their primary objective is to achieve net-zero status for Carbon Footprint scopes 1 and 2 in 2030, and across all 3 scopes by 2040.

ISS Sets New Sustainability Benchmarks ISS is committed to influencing sustainable behaviour, reducing wastage and optimising usage of water, food, materials and energy. One key sustainability success is PureSpace cleaning, which encompasses state-of-the-art technology and ecofriendly cleaning solutions and methods, to ensure thorough cleanliness while minimising environmental impacts.

In addition, ISS uses AI technology to guide how food production can be optimised to reduce wastage where it has yielded waste reductions up to 55%. In technical services, efficient management, maintenance, upgrades and replacements of assets have generated compelling cases with energy savings exceeding 50%. Finally, by involving all workplace users, ISS supports the enhancement of behaviours aimed at enhancing sustainability outcomes.

As ISS celebrates this milestone, it reaffirms its commitment to spearheading positive change, setting new benchmarks for sustainable practices. The Green Mark Platinum certification stands as a testament to ISS's unwavering dedication, heralding a new era of sustainability— characterised by innovation, collaboration, and environmental stewardship, leading the way for a brighter, greener future.

ISS is committed to influencing sustainable behaviour, reducing wastage and optimising usage of water, food, materials and energy
ISS Singapore Office: Café Community Area


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Exyte wins prestigious SBR International Business Awards for semiconductor fab project in Singapore

The project is vital in strengthening the global semiconductor supply chain.

Exyte, a global leader in Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) of high-tech facilities, took home the Industrial Construction category win at the recently held SBR International Business Awards 2024 for the company’s successful execution of a major semiconductor fab project for Siltronic in Singapore. This notably marks the second consecutive year for Exyte to win the respected accolade. The award honours foreign companies in Singapore and recognises the outstanding projects that successfully earned them a foothold in the Lion City. The semiconductor fab project, accounting for a total floor area of roughly 20 soccer fields, is a new greenfield manufacturing campus consisting of a wafer fab and a crystal pulling fab, and their related buildings like a Central Utility Building (CUB), administration offices, and other site support infrastructures.

Project execution excellence leading to swift RFE milestones

Exyte’s stand-out project delivery, coupled with a strong collaboration with Siltronic, successfully resulted in the project efficiently achieving Ready-For-Equipment (RFE) milestones for both the wafer fab and crystal pulling fab after only 18 months and 22 months from the first pile, respectively, in April and August 2023. This marks a truly remarkable project execution speed, especially given the facilities’ high advancement and complexity.

“Exyte not only excelled at engineering and delivering facilities with a high level of advancement and complexity in a short timeframe, we also proved our readiness to overcome major challenges like the global pandemic and subsequent supply chain constraints during the project implementation,” said Jerry O’Sullivan, Exyte Senior Vice President Operations Southeast Asia.

Boosting the resilience of semiconductor supply chain globally

Siltronic states that the increased capacity will boost the global semiconductor supply chain, as silicon wafers are crucial for chip production used in various consumer electronics like high-performance computing, wireless communications, and automobiles.

"Since the groundbreaking in October 2021, the commitment and effort from our client and Exyte to develop this cutting-edge campus has been remarkable. I am proud of the project team's exceptional work and they truly deserve this win," he added.

The project received its final Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) in February 2024 and is expected to achieve its Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC) by May end. Congratulations to Exyte and Siltronic's project team on the award.

Congratulations to the project team from Exyte as well as Siltronic for winning this award.

Since the groundbreaking ceremony of the site back in October 2021, the dedication and efforts displayed by members from both our client and Exyte to realise this leading-edge campus has been nothing short of exceptional

Exyte and Siltronic team awarded with the prestigious SBR International Business Award.
Siltronic’s semiconductor fab project designed and built by Exyte Singapore comprises of approximately 20 soccer fields of total floor area.


In a digital economy, the race is on for tech talent

Singapore’s strong reputation has allowed it to be a prime destination for tech companies to invest in. The city-state placed third globally in the World Digital Competitiveness report and second globally in the arena of intellectual property protection. Its business-friendly environment and highly educated workforce have drawn leading firms to establish their global or regional headquarters here.

However, a challenge looms large for Singapore: there is a shortage of skilled tech talent. In fields like AI, data analytics and cybersecurity, the demand for specialised expertise outpaces the available talent pool. But it is not just the tech firms that are hungry for talent.

Four in 10 global organisations across a range of industries expect Generative AI (Gen AI) to increase their headcount, more than those who said it would reduce their headcount (22%). This could be due to the increased need for expertise in Gen AI and data – a staggering 75% of organisations expect Gen AI to affect their talent strategies within the next two years.

Government support

To mitigate this challenge, the Singapore government has made active efforts to grow its tech talent pool. Its National AI Strategy 2.0 outlines ambitious plans to triple the AI workforce to 15,000 professionals within three to five years from 2023, through initiatives such as a redesigned AI apprenticeship programme. It has also designed job transformation maps to identify the relevant skillsets needed for a variety of sectors, and it is reviewing how the workforce should be upskilled and reskilled to perform new and augmented roles with Gen AI.

Businesses can do their part in addressing talent shortage by investing in opportunities for continuous learning and experimenting with new tools, and yet, for most organisations, this may not be the case. Nearly half of organisations said they allowed Gen AI access to only 20% or less of their workforce. This move to impose tight restrictions on such emerging technology may be a stopgap measure.

Employees may still make use of such tools under the radar, or they may not be able to develop a realistic understanding of their capabilities and limitations. Rather, widespread but controlled access, as well as structured training, will help people get more comfortable with technology and understand what it can and cannot do — whilst opening the door to new possibilities for value creation.

Employees themselves must also embrace an ethos of lifelong learning and continuous improvement. By actively seeking out opportunities for upskilling and reskilling, they can enhance their employability and contribute to Singapore's tech ecosystem. For the local workforce, initiatives like the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) help individuals embark on infocomm and technology careers with skills training and job placements.

In addition, local institutions are expanding their research and course



Global Employer Services, Deloitte Singapore

offerings to help grow a pipeline of future talent. For instance, the National University of Singapore (NUS) has established the NUS AI Institute and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will open enrolment for its College of Computing and Data Science from August this year.

Even as Singapore is making advances in talent development, there is another piece to the puzzle. Like many other developed economies, Singapore faces an ageing population and dwindling birth rate. Developing tech expertise locally takes time, and the demand for such talent has necessitated an open approach to attracting talented individuals from around the world to augment the local workforce.

Employment pass

For example, the government has made it easier for foreign talent on its Shortage Occupation List to earn additional points in its COMPASS assessment framework for Employment Pass applications. This move aims to help ease the shortage of talents in occupations which require highly specialised skills. Unsurprisingly, the sector with the most occupations on the list is Infocomm Technology, which has 13 occupations eligible for an Employment Pass. In comparison, the sector with the second-most occupations on the list is healthcare, accounting for five eligible occupations.

Other initiatives like the Tech.Pass and the Overseas Networks and Expertise Pass (ONE Pass) offer incentives and flexibility to attract skilled professionals to Singapore, which includes the ability for pass holders to work for more than one company at the same time. The typical Employment Pass and other employer-sponsored passes only allow the pass holder to work for the sponsoring employer.

Future opportunities

Whilst Singapore’s open approach to talent will help it stay competitive, the long-term solution is still continuous skills development. Employers could do more to provide flexible learning options such as online courses or self-paced modules to accommodate employees’ busy schedules, or offer time off-in-lieu to compensate for time spent on job-relevant courses. They could also improve communication on the benefits of upskilling, involve employees in decisions concerning their skills development, and give clear goals and support for their growth. Apprenticeship or internship schemes could also provide practical experience for individuals transitioning into emerging fields or industries.

In summary, talent is key to securing Singapore's status in the global digital economy and for the country to become a leading AI hub in the global arena. A collaborative effort between employees, employers and the government would certainly help to address the shortage of tech skills here.


Singapore companies eye Vietnam to navigate manufacturing shifts, green transition, and the AI revolution

Singapore’s role as the leading investor in Vietnam has become increasingly pronounced over the last five years. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Vietnam rose by an extraordinary 59% — from $51.0 billion in 2012-2016 to $81.0 billion in 2017-2022. And Singapore has been at the forefront of this investment surge. Between 2021 and 2023, it made investments worth $24 billion, representing 25% of the total FDI inflow into Vietnam — the highest among all countries.

Singapore’s investment trajectory has not only sustained but also diversified over the years, with an initial focus on high-end residential projects through major developers like Keppel Land and CapitaLand and subsequent entry into sectors such as education, energy, food services, food manufacturing, infrastructure, and manufacturing through Enterprise Singapore.

What makes Vietnam the ideal investment destination for Singapore? Vietnam’s burgeoning economy holds great investment potential for the island country. Once a nation heavily reliant on agriculture, Vietnam has now emerged as a key player in labor-intensive industries such as textiles and garments as well as high-value sectors such as electronics manufacturing. This shift has been fueled by a combination of robust foreign investment, forward-thinking government policies, and the country’s natural and social resources.

Geographically positioned in the heart of Southeast Asia, Vietnam serves as a critical gateway to major Asian markets, including China and the ASEAN countries, that play a key role in global supply chains. The country's demographic profile features a young workforce and a burgeoning middle class that together supports labor-intensive industries and fuel domestic demand for diverse services and products. Additionally, Vietnam's stable political climate and targeted economic policies further improve the overall business environment.

Vietnamese leadership has also taken steps to enhance infrastructure, including in transport, logistics, and energy, and streamline administrative processes to ease business operations. For instance, as directed by Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính, the nation has accelerated the disbursement of investment capital for essential projects to stimulate economic development.

Three key global trends are bolstering investments into Vietnam Vietnam’s growth trajectory is set to continue, bolstered by three global meta trends that offer substantial economic opportunities, each presenting a 20-year transition period for the country to fully capitalize. The first is the shift in manufacturing away from China, a transition in which Vietnam is currently in its middle stages, approximately 10 to 15 years in. The second, the nascent green energy transition, is in its early 5-year phase, marking a critical pivot towards sustainable development. Finally, the advent of economic restructuring driven by artificial

intelligence presents a new and exciting frontier, one where Vietnam is just beginning its journey.

The manufacturing landscape is shifting significantly from China to Vietnam, as escalating labor costs in China and the ongoing USChina trade tensions have compelled companies to explore more cost-effective alternatives. Major brands such as Nike and Adidas have already established substantial production bases in Vietnam. Nike, for instance, produces 50% of its footwear and 29% of its apparel in Vietnam, surpassing production in China. The trend extends to hightech manufacturing as well. Several Chinese suppliers as well as global electronics giants such as Samsung and Apple have set up operations in Vietnam. This shift is underscored by recent visits from highprofile executives such as Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, who highlighted the company’s increasing investment in Vietnamese suppliers, which surged to $15.84 billion. The influx also includes major players like Foxconn, GoerTek, Luxshare, Intel, Samsung Electronics, and Compal.

Future opportunities

In its green transition, Vietnam is capitalizing on its natural advantages in the renewable energy sector: a long coastline,strong winds, and abundant sunshine. This aligns with its national strategy to transition to diverse energy sources and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. According to UNCTAD, between 2015 and 2022, Vietnam attracted $106.8 billion in FDI in renewable energy, ranking it second among developing economies. To fully transition its energy sector, Vietnam needs an estimated $86 billion by 2030 and $370 billion by 2050. The nation has demonstrated a strong commitment to green energy transition. At the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính unveiled a Resource Mobilization Plan under the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) with the International Partnership Group. Beyond energy, Vietnam is exploring other green investment avenues. For instance, Ho Chi Minh City is seeking investments for 28 projects worth over $6.7 billion that focus on green growth.

Insufficient expertise and regulations

While still in its early stages of AI development, Vietnam is encountering challenges due to a lack of specialized expertise and inadequate regulatory frameworks. Despite these hurdles, the country is making significant strides under its National Digital Transformation Program scheduled from 2025 to 2030. Plans are in place to establish national centers for big data, supercomputing, and AI innovation centers aimed at attracting startups and investments. This strategic initiative has already yielded results, with Oxford Insights reporting that Vietnam climbed to the 39th rank in AI readiness in 2023, up from 55th in 2022. Furthermore, FDI interest in Vietnam's AI sector is intensifying. Notable examples include Meta and Atmo, an American firm specializing in AI-based multinational weather forecasting.

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