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2018 SALARY SURVEY Are you getting paid enough?


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Welcome to Singapore Business Review’s annual Salary Survey. Our channel checks with experts in the hiring and recruitment scene revealed that Singapore has a gaping number of job vacancies estimated at around 48,800 in 2017.

AUDITED CIRCULATION: 22,265 ONLINE READERSHIP: 215,000 monthly uniques through Google Analytics The Singapore Business Review is the highest circulating and best read business magazine in Singapore. Our online readership has an average of 215,000 unique viewers, according to Google Analytics. We won the Business Trade Media of the Year Award at the 2017 MPAS Awards. Do reach out to us if you would like us to tell your story to our readers via print & online advertising or events. Publisher & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Tim Charlton production editor Genelie Sta.Ana-De Leon GRAPHIC ARTIST Elizabeth Indoy ADVERTISING CONTACT Rochelle Romero


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As a consequence, a growing number of industries, particularly in the hospitality sector, have been turning to technological advancements like AI and robotics to fill the severe manpower gap. Aside from talent shortage, we also provide you with the latest update on salaries and bonuses. Flip the pages to know how much you’re worth in talent-hungry Singapore. Our regular Financial Insight column also revealed that venture capital activity in Singapore will maintain its solid momentum for the rest of 2018 due to an influx in growth-stage funds, a stronger corporate expansion drive into Southeast Asia, and an expected boom in attractive exit deals. But funds will likely have to fight tooth-and-nail for talent and deals amidst strong competition and a growing interest in initial coin offerings as an alternative fundraising path. Meanwhile, Singapore’s brick and mortars are turning to experiential shopping to survive. We’ve rounded up the latest DIY trends that hit the market, and we’ve reached out to analysts who shared how brick and mortars can fight for life in Singapore’s cutthroat retail scene. Flip the pages and enjoy the issue!

Tim Charlton

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Cover Story A tale of two wages: Pay rise can go up to 15% whilst expats’ salaries fall 15%


Financial insight ICO boom threatens Singapore’s VC scene


sbr aWARDS Singapore Business Review honours 22 outstanding firms

Economy watch


08 Supermarket giants kill

24 Singapore’s economy could suffer

46 Cybersecurity risks pose threats

FIRST convenience stores

from the US-China row

09 IPOs hardest hit by trade war

48 Is IoT the ultimate driver


10 OCBC and UOB tap NETS

for e-payments

of digital transformation?

46 DIY or die: Singapore’s brick

12 GrabFood puts other food

and mortars turn to experiential

shopping to survive

delivery players on the backpedal

to transport industry

14 Brands turn to pop-ups amidst exits

Published Bi-monthly on the Second week of the Month by Charlton Media Group 101 Cecil St. #17-09 Tong Eng Building 2 SINGAPORE SingaporeBUSINESS 069533 REVIEW | JULY 2018

For the latest business news from Singapore visit the website

Co-published corporate profile

AIA Singapore pioneers personal medical case management service in partnership with Medix Medix’ team of 300 in-house doctors and a global network of over 3,000 leading specialists enable customers to receive the best possible treatment and support throughout their medical journey.


hen Mrs Emily New woke up with a severe back pain in April 2017, she immediately consulted a specialist. “It was a huge concern because I couldn’t even get out of bed,” she recalled. Having severe back pains for most of her life, a surgeon suggested that she undergoes surgery to correct the recurring problem. However, Emily was hesitant. “My husband decided to approach Medix and they did a review of my case.” Medix, in partnership with AIA, provided a comprehensive re-assessment of the case. Armed with a network of healthcare professionals across different medical fields, they were able to provide a solution that entails less surgical intervention for Emily. “They decided to recommend me a doctor that suggested a non surgical approach which was to inject steroid on my spine, Its been 15 months since the injection and since then I had been pain free.” Emily noted. Through its new partnership with Medix, AIA Singapore aims to eliminate patients’

A team of 300 in-house doctors provide patients with the best care possible

wasted time looking up doctors, seeking second and third opinions, and even undergoing repetitive, unnecessary tests. Patients can rely on Medix’s team of 300 in-house doctors and its global network of over 3,000 leading independent specialists to give them the best care possible. Medix has changed the initial diagnosis in over 20% of the cases and improved treatment choices in over 43% of the cases. Personalised options, continuing care Medix will first summarise a customer’s medical history and current test results, collect multidisciplinary opinions from different specialists and hold multidisciplinary team discussions. Based on this, Medix will convey the most advanced, up to date, and appropriate tests to ensure that the right diagnosis has been made, and then recommend and coordinate the best possible treatment plan. This will include referral or recommendation of the most suitable doctor for the customer’s condition based on its own independent quality standards. Subsequently, Medix will continue to support customers, and work in collaboration with the customer’s treating doctor, to deal with on-going treatments, side-effects, complications if any to ensure best quality care is provided. “This service is the first of its kind in Singapore,” said Mr Patrick Teow, chief executive officer of AIA Singapore. “This will help our customers facing serious medical conditions by making sure they reach the right diagnosis as fast as possible, have access to optimal treatment, and are supported throughout their treatment journey till recovery.” Through this exclusive partnership, policyholders can avail of Personal Medical Case Management (PMCM) services along every step in the management of their serious medical conditions. These services include medical

assessment, re-evaluation, referral for testing, ongoing multi-disciplinary consultations and long-term medical guidance. The service is provided for a period of at least 3 months and available upon need throughout the customer’s medical journey. “Patients with serious medical conditions often have many questions about their care options and experience a great deal of stress and anxiety. They need ongoing support throughout their treatment journey to help them cope with complications. The case management service from Medix serves as a bridge between the patient and the complex world of medical care,” explained Ms Melita Teo, chief operations officer of AIA Singapore. “ AIA Singapore’s groundbreaking partnership with Medix complements its existing suite of comprehensive healthcare programs and services, such as AIA Quality Healthcare Partners (AQHP), AIA Medical Concierge Service, and AIA Vitality. Through AQHP, AIA Singapore has formed a direct partnership with over over 270 qualified medical specialists, providing customers with peace of mind and ensuring a comprehensive healthcare proposition for them. Policyholders can easily make an appointment through the AIA Healthcare mobile app, the AIA website, or the AIA Medical Concierge hotline. AIA Max Essential A and A Saver policyholders will then be able to avail of complimentary service from Medix to ensure the most accurate diagnosis and best possible treatment for serious medical conditions. Through AIA Vitality, members can enjoy benefits when they take active steps to leading healthier lifestyles, such as exercising or eating healthily and even going for their AIA Vitality Health Checks. AIA Vitality is the first-in-market wellness programme backed by behavioral science. “Our customers are important to us and we want to be there for them, as their partner for life,” said Patrick.

“In over 55% of the cases, unnecessary consultations, tests, treatments and procedures were avoided.” SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | JULY 2018


News from Daily news from Singapore most read




Singtel offers attractive dividends amidst unexciting growth

Embattled Hyflux speeds up asset sale Circles.Life’s $0 plan could slowly amidst liquidity crunch erase telcos’ wireless revenue

For 2018, Singtel declared a total dividend of 20.5 cents, which includes a final dividend of 10.7 cents, an interim dividend of 6.8 cents, and a special dividend of 3 cents. This represents an 81% payout ratio for ordinary dividends. Moreover, it said it intends to give away 17.5 cents for the next two years, and thereafter revert back to paying 60%-75% of net profit.

Water treatment firm Hyflux may just be able to stay afloat once it sells its performance-dragging stake in the Tuaspring and Tianjin Dagang plants but it needs more time to pull off the sale at a fair value price and avoid fire sales at all costs, analysts said. Hyflux is starting a courtsupervised liabilities reorganisation of liabilities and businesses as it tries to plug massive losses.

Almost half (46%) of Singapore’s home buyers anticipate prices to rise further this year, leading to dissatisfaction in the residential market, PropertyGuru’s 2H2017 Consumer Sentiment Survey revealed. This is the highest number in four years. Satisfaction levels in the Singapore residential market have gone up (37%), unsatisfaction levels are still higher (42%).

Singapore doubles-down on data literacy in Smart Nation drive BY MARCUS LOH Just as Singapore is benefiting from the invisible hand of technology, we have also ushered an era of data ubiquity where anyone can use that data for smarter decisionmaking. Every day, new data and emergent technologies are presenting opportunities for institutions, enterprises and governments to learn about policy failures and successes and act on new knowledge about what works to improve our lives.

Creating a digital workforce for a smart nation with Robotic Process Automation BY JIGAR BHANSALI In today’s landscape of rapid changes and innovative technologies, modern organisations need to take on a new approach that will help them meet the demands of the digital world. More than ever, organisations today are under immense pressure to digitise and automate all aspects of their operations, including vital business processes that often require long hours of manual data entry.

MOST READ COMMENTARY Changes must be made if Singapore is to stay ahead of the curve in cryptocurrencies BY CHRIS KESHIAN Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore recently claimed: “I do hope when the fever has gone away, when the crash has happened, it will not undermine the much deeper, and more meaningful technology associated with digital currencies and blockchain.” Singapore’s relationship with cryptocurrencies has been a torrid one.







EASB The second edition of Automechanika Ho Chi Minh City will open its doors once again from 25 – 27 April 2018, with an even more ambitious show planned following a successful first year. The three day fair has now become Vietnam’s leading regional trade fair for the automotive service industry, which is complimenting the country’s position as a frontier for growth within the sector. Automechanika Ho Chi Minh City 2018 is expected to house 360 exhibitors and welcome 8,500 visitors at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

East Asia Institute of Management (EASB) is a four-year EduTrust certified private education institution. We offer Diploma, Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, and MBA programmes. Major disciplines include Hospitality and Tourism Management, Business Management, Accounting, Banking & Finance, Medical Bioscience, and many more. For more information, visit



kaplan singapore Ranked by JobsCentral as the number one Preferred Private Education Institution consecutively in 2012 and 2013, and by AsiaOne People’s Choice Awards in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, and 2015, Kaplan Higher Education provides full-time and part-time diplomas, bachelor’s and master’s degrees to individuals looking to pursue careers in various fields. For more information, visit

The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) organises a series of clinics on the Tripartite Standards (TS) to assist organisations understand what the TS initiative is about, so as to help them adopt and implement the various standards that have been launched to date. For more information about the Tripartite Standards Clinics, visit or email





Seamless Seamless is the key meeting place for this brave new world of commerce. It is a new event built on 20 years of experience – a seamless continuity from Asia’s largest and longest running conference focussed on cards and payments, to a dynamic summit and large-scale exhibition bringing together the converging worlds of ecommerce, retail, and payments.​


SCCE Over 3,600 compliance professionals around the world have already come to an SCCE Basic Compliance and Ethics Academy to master the fundamentals of managing a compliance and ethics program. The Academy provides three and a half days of classroom-style training, and class size is limited to facilitate interaction amongst the attendees and with the faculty. Learn from experienced practitioners and prepare for the Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional-International (CCEP-I)® exam, which is optional and is offered at the conclusion of the Academy. Join us on 10-13 July for this once-ayear event in Singapore.




For Singaporeans who find the prospect of working at the comfort of their own homes highly appealling, more job opportunities may arise this year as 9 in 10 companies are planning an organisation redesign in the next two years in order to adapt to the flex work boom, Mercer revealed in its 2018 Global Talent Trends Study. Currently, only a dismal 3% of HR leaders say that flex work is visibly present in their organisation, even if 82% of executives say that it is core to their Employee Value Proposition (EVP “More organisations will become more responsive to employees, such as women with young families, by providing permanent flexibility in workplaces, so that they do not stand to lose a valuable talent pool,” the report said. Vidisha Mehta, career solutions leader - South & East Asia, IMETA at Mercer noted. Call for diversity “Given the ageing population in Singapore, ensuring a diverse talent pool in the workforce for all life stages is both a business and a societal imperative. Introducing permanent flexibility in workplaces is challenging for organisations in traditional industries such as manufacturing, as it involves offering flexible working hours and contract workforces to project-based freelance staff. Options also include borrowing talent from related sectors, clients and vendors, as well as crowdsourcing options,” Mehta said. As 43% of executives predict at least one in five roles in their organisation will cease to exist in the next five years, being prepared for job displacement and reskilling is critical for organisational survival, Mercer added. Yet, only 38% of companies are increasing access to online learning courses and the same number (38%) are actively rotating talent within the business. “To find purpose, employees crave movement, learning, and experimentation,” Mercer said. 8


Goodbye, 7-Eleven

Supermarket giants kill convenience stores


t is an inconvenient time for convenience store operators in Singapore, as they struggle for a share in the market largely dominated by supermarket giants. In April, Dairy Farm announced it was selling more than a dozen 7Eleven stores located in prime locations throughout Singapore, highlighting the growing challenges that convenience stores are facing against larger retailers. Meanwhile, players such SSG and FairPrice are steadily cementing their dominance in Singapore’s retail scene, biting into the market shares of smaller supermarket players as well as convenience stores. Supermarkets’ share of the market has risen to 52.7% in 2017, from 51.9% in 2016 and 50.4% in 2012, noted John Cheong, analyst at Maybank Kim Eng, citing Euromonitor data. In contrast, traditional grocery retailers’ share of the market has fallen to 28.4% in 2017, from 29% in 2016 and 31.4% in 2012. Convenience stores’ share of the market has also dipped to 6% in 2017, from 6.4% in 2016 and 7.4%

Supermarkets’ share of the market has risen to 52.7% in 2017, from 51.9% in 2016 and 50.4% in 2012.

in 2012. Cheong expects supermarkets in Singapore, which hold an advantage in scale and product variety, to continue to take market share from traditional grocery retailers and convenience stores in the coming years. “Traditional grocers have been downsizing or exiting due to rising rentals, a lack of successors, and price competition from the big boys,” said Cheong. “The chaotic setting of wet markets also contrasts unfavourably with supermarkets’ airconditioned comfort and wide selection of products.” Convenience stores have a limited range of products and are priced at a premium, but customers could count on them being open at any time, any day for their basic needs. The problem is that supermarkets have also begun to operate 24 hours for the past few years, which has significantly diminished the need to visit convenience stores, said Juliana Cai, research analyst at RHB. Fight or flight In order to survive, convenience stores and traditional grocery retailers in Singapore need to focus on differentiating themselves from supermarkets and become “ultraconvenient”, said Nick Miles, head of Asia-Pacific research at IGD. “This is often achieved through stronger fresh food, attractive food-to-go solutions and unique products that satisfy time pressured shoppers.” Convenience stores should also reconsider their premium pricing, which is the singular reason it is faltering against supermarkets, said Alan Cheong, senior director at Savills Singapore.

Traditional grocery retailers’ share of the market has fallen to 28.4% in 2017

FIRST Increased volatility during the first quarter of 2018 has been driven by a fear of a potential U.S.China trade war.

Bangladeshi firm Summit Power shelved its $260m IPO

IPOs hardest hit by trade war


side from weighing on Singapore’s economy, trade tensions between the U.S. and China have pushed back IPO deals in the country. Bangladeshi electricity generator Summit Power International Ltd shelved its IPO targeting $260m in April due to “recent market volatility”, nearly two weeks after a news report that Malaysian clinic operator Qualitas Medical Ltd delayed the pricing of its S$100m IPO. Increased volatility during the first quarter of 2018 has been driven by a

fear of a potential U.S.-China trade war, as well as investor concern that inflation and interest rates would rise in tandem with the U.S. wage growth, said Tham Tuck Seng, capital markets leader at PwC Singapore. The volatility spike naturally deters companies from pushing through with IPOs because of potentially lower pricing. “There is a correlation between volatility and IPO pricing. This may adversely impact the decision to list,” said Tham. “The capital market activity in Singapore is not

spared with volatility as it has a very international exchange and there are significant foreign funds under management here.” Companies often delay IPOs when they do not believe they will clinch their target valuation upon listing, said Reshmi Khurana, managing director at Kroll. Still, notwithstanding the trade tensions, analysts insist Singapore’s market remains robust and generally conducive for IPOs. Tham views Singapore’s investment climate, including its IPO pipeline, as remaining optimistic given the positive economic outlook and probusiness environment, whilst Kurana believed the Singapore market tends to be more stable and less volatile. Fuller IPO pipeline The pipeline for IPO in Singapore, looks fuller in 2018 compared to 2017, noted Max Loh, ASEAN and Singapore managing partner at EY. “On the basis that economic fundamentals hold up, there is stability in equity markets and there are no adverse geopolitical and trade outcomes, the optimistic outlook for 2018 Singapore IPOs remains.” Four IPOs raised$344.4m year-todate through to middle of the March, nearly six times than that raised by three IPOs in 2017. This included the $300.7m IPO by the real estate investment trust Sasseur Reit on the first quarter of tthis year.

The Chartist: SINGAPORE hits record high pay and lowest unemployment rate The city’s average wages reached an all-time high of S$5,596 per month in almost 28 years, up from its record low of S$1,302 per month in the second quarter of 1989. Recorded in the last quarter of 2017, the highest average monthly wage is expected to be on an upward trend until July 2018. Analysts at Trading Economics reported that a typical Singaporean’s paycheck averaged at S$3,272.93 per month from 1989 to 2017. Meanwhile, the city’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate went down to 2% from the previous period’s 2.1%, becoming the lowest jobless rate since March 2016. Analysts said that unemployment rate averaged 2.44% from 1986 to 2018, with an all time high of 6% in the first quarter of 1986 and a record low of 1.4% in the second quarter of 1990.

Singapore average monthly wages

Sources: Trading / Statistics Singapore

Singapore unemployment rate

Sources: Trading / Ministry of Manpower Singapore



FIRST Ambassador briefing NETHERLANDS

OCBC and UOB tap NETS for e-payments

Usage of non-cash payments


Dutch Ambassador Margriet Vonno’s posting in Singapore began in August 2017. With ports serving as both gateways to their respective regions, Vonno noted that robust trade relationship exists between both nations as the Netherlands is the 13th biggest importer of Singaporean products and services, reaching $7.8b in 2017. Singapore’s biggest import from the Dutch, meanwhile, has been refined petroleum comprising 32% of total imports. Vonno also lauded the ease of doing business in Singapore, citing the government’s pro-business stance, transparency, and top-class legal system. She also noted that Singapore can benefit from the Dutch’s expertise in engineering as a sector of interest and importance in the city. Trade opportunities With the Dutch economy growing faster than Europe at 3.2% and 2.5% respectively,, Ambassador Vonno noted that many trade opportunities are opening up for Singapore. She noted that the Netherlands’ strong economy “creates strong demand and offers opportunities for products and services in all sectors, especially machinery, construction, distribution, warehousing and transportation, and information technology.” “There are particular opportunities for companies in offshore construction, other renewable energy sources, datacenters, cyber security, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, process optimisation software, recycling technologies and products and services catering to the elderly,” says Vonno. “Singaporean companies will benefit from the favorable market conditions and opportunities, and the Netherlands is an ideal location from which to supply to the European market. The Port of Rotterdam is one of the largest shipping container ports in the world, and has good relations with the Port Authority in Singapore.” 10


CBC Bank and UOB customers can now digitally store their NETS ATM bankcards on the NETSPay mobile app. With OCBC and UOB on board, more than 11 million cardholders in Singapore can now use NETSPay at more than 105,000 acceptance points island-wide. Consumers need only scan the NETS QR code or tap their NFC-enabled phone on the NETS terminal to make payments. Purchases are then debited directly to the user’s bank account. NETSPay users can store up to ten ATM bank cards on the app, allowing them to choose between bank accounts for different purchases and track their transactions by bank account. Initially, NETSPay was only available to DBS/ POSB customers. Gaining steam According to NETS group CEO Jeffrey Goh, NETSPay transaction surged 70 times since its launch on October 2017 due to the convenience of mobile payments at point-of-sale. “We’re confident that this number will continue to grow exponentially with the addition of OCBC and UOB customers.” “Mobile payments are gaining steam in Singapore, with

Sources: Visa

increasing levels of awareness and the government’s push for a cashless society,” OCBC Bank head of digital payments Milind Sanghavi commented. OCBC started its first cashless payment solution back in 2014 and started the consolidated payments app with NETS in 2017. “The NETSPay app will complement our initiatives and give our customers different options that enable them to make mobile contactless payments directly from their bank accounts,” UOB head of digital and mobile Aaron Chiew said. He added that there has been an average increase of 198% every month About 11 since UOB enabled NETS QR code million NETS and NETS mobile contactless payments cardholders in their mobile banking app since can now use 2017. NETS static QR will later be their phones incorporated under the SG QR code to pay at more specifications when the SG QR code is than 105,000 released later in 2018. According to a acceptance report, there are about 60,000 NETS QR points in acceptance points available for mobile Singapore. payments.

Mobile App Watch

Order and pay for your food in a few clicks with Waitrr Waitrr is a mobile app that offers an automated dining experience where customers can browse a restaurant’s menu, place an order, and pay for their meals with just a tap on their phones. Friends who eat together also no longer need to worry about splitting the bill, because Waitrr already computes how much every user must pay for. Waitrr founder Tim Weekezer says their app helps their users save around 20 minutes each day Tim Weekezer, Waitrr founder on the average. “Our goal at Waitrr is to improve the experience for all restaurant guests, whether they’re dining in, or picking up their food at a preselected time,” says Weekezer. “Waitrr solves problems for both restaurants and their guests. With Waitrr, guests spend less time waiting – everyone wants more free time – whilst restaurants can deliver a premium level of service, without the need to recruit more staff members,” he adds.

Transforming ANDMARKS Beyond acumen and foresight, it takes vision to boldly transform a familiar landmark into a hub of vibrant possibilities. At OUE, the corporate philosophy is driven by Transformational Thinking— an approach that views every development as an opportunity to unlock its value and transform its potential. 2017 sees OUE celebrating key milestones, one of which is the opening of OUE Downtown, a newly transformed mixed-use development that will be the unrivalled destination to live, work, shop, dine, and play in Singapore’s Central Business District.

One Raffles Place

OUE Downtown

OUE Limited is a diversified real estate owner, developer, and operator with a real estate portfolio in prime locations in Asia and the United States. OUE consistently grows its business by leveraging its brands and proven expertise in developing and managing assets across the commercial, hospitality, retail, and residential sectors. With its core strategy of investing in and enhancing a stable of distinctive properties, OUE is committed to developing a portfolio that has a strong recurrent income base, balanced with development profits, to enhance longterm shareholder value.

OUE is the sponsor of OUE Hospitality Trust and OUE Commercial Real Estate Investment Trust. In March 2017, OUE acquired International Healthway Corporation, a listed integrated healthcare services and facilities provider. For more information, visit


GrabFood puts other food delivery players on the backpedal


hen ride-sharing platform Grab acquired the Southeast Asian operations of rival Uber, the deal also entailed the takeover of Uber Eats and its integration into the relatively newer GrabFood platform—and industry observers and analysts foresee a bleaker horizon for competitors like Foodpanda, Honestbee, and Deliveroo. The combination of the two delivery platforms poses a more palpable threat to rivals because it helps cement GrabFood’s leadership position and shuts the doors on merger and acquisition deals critical for staying competitive, said Terence Lee, chief editor of Tech in Asia. “Grab’s chances of success of becoming Southeast Asia’s de-facto mobile platform has improved significantly with the Uber deal, which means investors may be spooked about backing a lesser competitor,” said Lee. “Second, even if an acquirer is interested, the stock of these competitors may have dropped since then, which means they won’t be able to get favourable terms.” Even without the merger, Grab’s competitors would have struggled to raise funding due to Grab’s sizeable lead in the allimportant area of logistics, noted Justin Hall, principal at Golden Gate Ventures.

“Food delivery is not about food; it’s about logistics, and the technology required to economically and quickly deliver goods from point A to point B,” said Hall. “Grab has a stranglehold on consumer logistics, especially high-volume, consumer-facing logistics.” Just as most investors should be wary of any startup whose business model is trying to compete with Facebook, they would also be cautious of those trying to go toe-to-toe with Grab, said Hugh Mason, CEO of JFDI Asia. But Lee highlighted the potential of other food delivery companies to invest directly into making their own products as a differentiation and profit-boosting strategy. “Instead of just delivering food from restaurants, they can set up their own kitchens and capture more of the revenue for themselves,” he said. Despite the emergence of a strengthened GrabFood platform, Luc Andreani, managing director of Foodpanda, insisted that the delivery company holds an edge in Singapore by being the only one that has established a nationwide presence and a dine-in satellite kitchen based in Woodlands. “As such, our edge lies in our strong infrastructure and efficiency in managing

Grab Food launched in Singapore in May

huge volumes of orders, superior customer service, and, by far, the largest restaurant offering in Singapore,” he said. “We are the only platform catering to all tastes, from shiok hawker centre dishes to famous chains and more premium restaurants.” Deliveroo, meanwhile, is undaunted by the merger and still plans to invest and expand in Singapore over the next few years. “The demand from customers to have great food delivered straight to their door continues to grow. Deliveroo in Singapore is going from strength to strength as our rivals sell up and move out,” said Sid Shanker, general manager of Deliveroo. Honestbee, for its part, is drawing strength from their pioneering efforts in providing on-demand hawker food delivery service in Singapore. “Singaporeans can have their favourite local delights delivered right to [sic] their doorstep… Our customers can order from multiple stalls within a hawker centre, and check-out with just one basket,” said Chris Urban, managing director at honestbee Singapore.


Inside Grab’s newest R&D space in Marina One When Grab announced that it is snapping up and taking over all of Uber’s Southeast Asian operations, one obvious thing that the dominant ride-hailing app in the subregion would have to do is ramp up its research and development focus to accommodate its rapidly growing operations and reach. Grab’s newest research and development space, at 100,000 square metres, currently occupies the two highest floors at the posh and trendy Marina One. “One of our biggest obstacles was to find the perfect office space that can accommodate Grab’s rapid growth, whilst reflecting our uniquely Southeast Asian roots,” said Ong Chin Yin, head of people at Grab. “We also wanted to make the space ‘a home away from home,’ and instill price and a sense of belonging in Grabbers with how their work impacts the region.” The new R&D space is the largest tech centre out of the six that Grab has in the world including Bangalore, India; Beijing, China; Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Seattle. 12


Grab Reception area

Grab Pantry with Peranakan style flooring

Grab Foosball Table in the Grab office

Grab Gym in the Grab office

We’ve helped over 10 0 leading global food and beverage brands build market share. In the food distribution business, Auric is a leading player in Singapore and Malaysia. With our extensive warehousing and distribution penetration, Auric has a direct network of over 8,500 customers and over 100 principals/suppliers. More than just a goods distributor, Auric is involved in a diverse range of businesses, which include food manufacturing, marketing and retailing, as well as food court management. Auric has its own arsenal of iconic consumer brands. This includes SCS, Singapore and Malaysia’s No. 1 selling butter brand; Sunshine, the first commercially baked bread in the region, with a history spanning over 85 years; Buttercup, Singapore and Malaysia’s No. 1 selling blended spread; Food Junction; one of the earliest branded food courts in Singapore; and Delifrance, known in Southeast Asia to be the first to introduce cafe-style dining.


Diversity & Inclusion Survey Gender and social diversity

The travelling Fendi Kiosk arrived in Singapore in February

Brands turn to pop-ups amidst exits

A 1 in 4 Inclusion of people with disabilities

58 3 58.3




Source: Workday DI&I Survey



merican apparel brands are struggling in Singapore as seen in the back to back exits reported earlier this year. Amongst the big names that closed up shop on the first half of the year are Gap which shut all of its stores at Suntec City and VivoCity, and Banana Republic which shut down outlets at Paragon and MBS in February. In the same month, American Eagle Outfitters also left the market after it closed its Suntec City outlet and VivoCity flagship store. In March, Cortina Holdings vacated all of its Orchard Road-facing watch boutiques on the first and second level of Wisma Atria, leaving 4,700 sqft of space unoccupied. The retail chain retained only its Raymond Weil Boutique on the third level of Wisma Atria. Savills Singapore research director Alan Cheong noted that in the Central area, less resilient retail brands have been battered by competition with e-commerce and fast fashion labels such as Zara and H&M persisted. This along with increasing rents pushed major brands out of the city. But here’s a silver lining for struggling retailers: pop up stores. Amidst the sea of change disrupting the retail landscape, luxury brands have gone the pop up route to survive. Following the launch of Chanel’s

pop-up store at MBS last year, Miu Miu opened a 1,205-sqft discothemed shop space at Paragon whilst Fendi brought in its Fendi Kiosk to ION Orchard in February. In June, French luxury fashion house Chloe has also opened its firstever pop-up concept in Singapore. At Ion Orchard’s atrium, the store curates 20 exclusive Chloe products ranging from the classic Drew Bijou and Roy bags to dainty small leather goods and even sunglasses. “The model has since grown beyond online retailers to encompass established fashion labels as well as Following luxury brands,” Cheong noted. As the the launch of lease terms are often shorter, pop-up Chanel’s popstores are a more cost-effective option up store at MBS to create physical presence in premier last year, Miu shopping belts like Orchard Road Miu opened and Marina Bay Sands (MBS) where a 1,205-sqft rents are on the high side. “The disco-themed unique concept draws in crowds to shop space at malls, pop-ups also help to build Paragon. buzz for brands,” he added.

Chloe’s first ever pop-up store

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WhereisWhere connects shoppers to nearby deals and discounts


hereisWhere seeks to disrupt how brick-andmortar businesses market their products and target customers by easily making promotions, deals, and discounts appear on nearby consumers’ mobile devices by connecting consumers to such information — all based on their proximity to each other. “Our system allows merchants to launch and plan promotions on a daily, weekly, and hourly basis – all for a fixed monthly fee. Merchants that are not running promotions can also list their companies for free on WhereIsWhere,”

said founder and CEO Terence Mak. The platform’s simple and intuitive interface enables users to instantly get what they need based on when they are in a particular place. Shoppers no longer have to wander to find a product they want to buy. “As the information is updated by merchants on a daily or weekly basis, consumers can be assured of getting only the latest information on deals and finds nearby,” said Mak, adding that they are turning advertising, a formerly expensive activity, into an affordable fixed pricing model that better targets consumers. After securing $1m in its initial funding round, WhereisWhere is eyeing a regional launch in the second quarter of the year as market response has been positive so far with merchants and retailers of all sizes onboarding the platform. “We are looking into harnessing the full potential of location-based marketing to transform the entire retail industry,” said Mak. “We anticipate more partnerships underway as we have been receiving a number of enquiries from potential partners.”

Zilingo secures $54m in Series C funding

Fashion e-commerce platform Zilingo scored a whopping $54m Series C funding in a bid to expand operations internationally. The latest grant raises the company’s total funding to about $82m. The funding will be used to expand Zilingo’s operations in Indonesia and explore the possibility of later launching in the Philippines. The funding round was lead by leading investors Sofina, Burda Principal Investments, Sequoia Capital India, and new kid on the block Amadeus Capital. “We think the market is showing us the right signs in terms of adoption and retention, so it’s good to double down,” says Zilingo co-founder Ankiti Bose. “We are grateful to all the investors 16


for continuously showing great faith in our team and our vision for fashion commerce in this region.” The investment grant couldn’t come at a better time, with the $54m Series C funding coming just five months after Zilingo nabbed a $17m Series B funding. The company currently hosts 10,000 independent merchants who are selling in Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore. Zilingo also ships internationally to four more countries and has supply bases in its home countries as well as China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Founders Bose and Dhruv Kapoor wanted to create a way to make it easier for products to reach fashion lovers across Asia, giving birth to Zilingo in October 2015. “Nowhere in the world has a horizontal e-commerce company also cracked fashion. It’s a unique, high margin category, which is highly dependent on fast-moving cycles and has its own nuances,” says Bose. Three years later, Zilingo grew 10 times in operations and in revenue.

CardUp nabs $1.7m in seed funding to boost e-payments

Card payments platform for cash management CardUp secured US$1.7m in seed funding led by Sequoia India and early-stage venture capital fund Seedplus in March. The idea behind CardUp is simple: users can pay for nearly everything, including staff payroll, rent, taxes, and insurance premiums through their credit cards, all whilst retaining the corresponding card benefits and rewards over to the cardholders. At the core of the business is empowering individuals and businesses by improving their cash flow and liquidity, whilst also widening their access to finance. CardUp provides and polishes the infrastructure for card companies and payment networks to process payments in segments where cards are not accepted and entertained. The startup’s inaugural seed funding, for instance, were aimed to grow its payments and cash flow management offering to the small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) segment. “CardUp makes the payment of big recurring expenses such as rent, taxes, supplier payments, or even payroll, a more rewarding experience. Individuals and businesses can improve their cash flow by tapping into pre-approved credit lines on their card, whilst banks and payment networks are able to increase overall credit card spend by capturing a new market segment,” said Nicki Ramsay, CardUp founder and chief executive officer in a statement. Banking on flexibility and accessibility This flexibility and wider accessibility allows consumers to maximise card benefits included extended credit terms as well as the earning of reward points, whilst businesses can improve their capital management by shifting expenses to their corporate credit cards via CardUp for interest-free credit up to 55 days. Apart from improving cash flow, the startup’s offering also eases SMEs and other businesses’ transition towards a digitalisation of operations. According to the startup’s statement, over S$55m in payments has been created on the platform in the last 12 months, which represents more than 1% of overall credit card spend growth in Singapore from 2016 to 2017. The company has established partnerships with major banks and credit card providers including UOB, Citibank, Bank of China, and Mastercard, which promote CardUp and its offerings, and, in turn, capture incremental spend on their cards. CardUp was a finalist in The Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Global Hackcelerator 2016.


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Deal #1: A notable deal in the early part of the year was logistics startup Ninja Van raising US$85m in its Series C funding round


ICO boom threatens Singapore’s VC scene Questions are raised as to the future role of venture capital firms, especially if ICOs become an effective and sustainable avenue for startups to raise funds versus traditional venture capital funding.


hen Uber bowed out of its Southeast Asian operations this year, it sent a clear signal to venture capitalists: transport and logistics startups have had their day. Whilst deals in technology, transport, and logistics, have dominated the scene and should continue to do so as seen in Grab’s $2.5b Series G funding, funds will now start to pour into promising areas such as blockchain, medical technology, and artificial intelligence. Venture capital activity in Singapore is widely expected by analysts to maintain solid momentum not only for the rest of 2018 but also for the next few years due to an influx in growth-stage funds, a stronger corporate VC funds available in Singapore

Source: Map of the money



There have been a record 23 deals that raised US$2.68b of venture capital funding in the first quarter of 2018, surpassing previous records.

expansion drive into Southeast Asia, and an expected boom in attractive exit deals. But funds will likely have to fight tooth-and-nail for talent and deals amidst strong competition and a growing interest in initial coin offerings as an alternative fundraising path. Notable deals There have been a record 23 deals that raised US$2.68b of venture capital funding in the first quarter of 2018, surpassing previous records, said Kenn Lim, senior associate at CNP Law. “Whilst we are still in the early half of 2018, we have witnessed a vibrant venture capital scene in Singapore thus far.” Aside from the Grab-Uber deal, which saw the largest amount raised globally from venture capital funding in the first quarter of 2018, analysts said another notable deal in the early part of the year was logistics startup Ninja Van raising US$85m in its Series C funding round, which was one of the largest ever raised in the region at that stage. These deals, together with venture capital firm B Capital Group closing out its first fund and raising US$360m, suggests that “venture capital investors continue to invest large pools of money into late-stage companies, in part because of the number of unicorns that have remained private,” said Ken Cheung, partner at Bird & Bird ATMD. He added that so far in 2018 have been predominantly in the transport, logistics, and technology sectors.

FINANCIAL INSIGHT: Venture CApital One technology deal that was “notoriously underreported” was GO-JEK’s acquisition of Mapan, according to Justin Hall, principal at Golden Gate Ventures. He said the founders and assets of that sale will underpin GO-PAY, which he considers the region’s first “genuinely viable” mobile wallet that has “extraordinary” distribution, integration with many services, and the potential to spin off from GO-JEK. Hall also flagged the US$25m round by Singapore-based peer-to-peer lending firm Funding Societies that was led by Softbank as one of the deals that highlights the financial technology sector’s strong showing so far in early 2018. From alternative financing platforms, microinsurance to payments, “this vertical will continue to see strong growth over the next two to three years, especially as players consolidate and/or get acquired,” he said. Blockchain’s potential Whilst Lim acknowledged that the ride-hailing and financial technology sectors have been particularly active, he said the blockchain sector will join technology as likely the largest recipients of venture capital funding moving forward. “We observed a surge in venture capital interest in crypto-related investments,” he said. “An increasing number of venture capital funds are being created with specific objectives of investing in startups focused on the blockchain technology.” “Based on our interactions with people in the venture capital sphere, it appears that many venture capital firms are setting up specific focus groups to look into potential crypto-related investments, for fear of missing out on the crypto bandwagon,” Lim said, adding that other areas that are increasingly gaining interest amongst venture capital firms are the medical technology and artificial intelligence sectors. In 2017, several big ticket ICOs snagged millions out of Singapore’s ICO boom, with the likes of TenX ($80m), Golem ($8.6m) and Qtum ($15.6m) amongst those to have held ICOs from the country. Maturing ecosystem The deepening of venture capital interest in the logistics and financial technology sectors, as well as a broader range of emerging areas, is underpinned by Singapore’s maturing ecosystem. Singapore saw venture capital investment rise to a record level in the first quarter of 2018 despite a relatively muted level of activity. “It is testament to the maturing of PE and VC tech activity in Southeast Asia by investment type

Source: xxx

Kenn Lim

Ken Cheung

Justine Hall

Chia Tek Yew

Singapore’s ecosystem that a business such as Grab could be built here to tackle the regional market,” said Chia Tek Yew, head of financial services advisory KPMG in Singapore. Singapore’s maturing ecosystem will also present venture capital funds an opportunity to expand more aggressively into the growing Southeast Asian market, said Cheung. “The funds sought will be larger and geared towards market access and client acquisition,” he said, noting that venture capital companies in Singapore will continue to lure funds from a wide range of investors, including family offices as well as multinationals and conglomerates seeking to diversify their traditional businesses. “Companies raised venture capital funding for regional and global expansion as these companies raised seed money in recent years to build their businesses mainly in the Singapore market,” added Cheung. “With still low interest rates and globally synchronised economic growth, there is a strong need for venture capital to deploy funds and make investments.” Lim foresees “significant” venture capital funding to continue flowing into Singapore in the remaining months of 2018. “Many startups in Singapore have reached a stage where they are now ready for larger rounds of funding to embark on regional and global expansion,” he said. Singapore, which is seen as the gateway to Southeast Asia, is also benefiting from the region’s rising prominence in the venture capital scene. Hall noted the rise of Chinese investments into Chinese entrepreneurs across the region, especially in Indonesia, as seen in RupiahPlus and Akulaku. In its statement after backing the latest round of Funding Societies, SoftBank Ventures Korea said it has been actively investing across Southeast Asia. “Small and medium-sized enterprise digital lending across Southeast Asia is where we saw a huge growth potential,” it said. Engines roaring After a strong start, venture capital activity in Singapore will remain robust for the rest of 2018 due to the launch of more early-stage (seed and Series A) corporate venture capital funds and the regrouping of venture capital funds to focus on later-stage (Series B to D) deals, said Cheung, adding that activity will coalesce around artificial intelligence, auto technology, and health technology. The venture capital market will likely grow further this year with more local startups canvassing for funds, said Marcus Chow, partner at Bird & Bird ATMD, citing a KPMG report that activity should maintain its strong pace in 2018. “Many of these start-ups which had in earlier years gotten seed funding, particularly from government schemes, may be seeking their Series A or B funding,” said Chow. Hall is “extremely bullish” on his near-term outlook on Singapore’s venture capital activity. “We see at least a dozen growth stage funds coming online within the next 12 months.” The viability of strong exits in the region will be a key theme in 2018 and the medium-term horizon, Hall SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | JULY 2018


FINANCIAL INSIGHT: Venture Capital hong kong view

Q1’18 top deals dominated by transportation

Hong Kong’s VC hits record US$1.14b

Source: Venture Pulse, Q1’18, Global Analysis of Venture Funding, KPMG Enterprise

added. “The formation of growth-stage funds and the viability of positive returns from local and regional exits will define the region over the next two to three years,” he said.James Tan, managing partner at Quest Ventures also expects large rounds to continue to dominate headlines, and for angel syndicates driven by experienced angel investment networks such as BANSEA to gain prevalence. In addition, he anticipates a “rejuvenation” of seed stage deals which slowed down in 2017. Talent and deal rivalry With venture capital activity poised to boom, competition for both talent and deals is heating up. Tan said that the most notable venture capital activity in 2018 so far would be the entrance of corporations into venture investments, particularly from Series B onwards. But Cheung noted that corporate venture funds across the city-state are finding it harder to attract and retain the right talent, and risk losing the best deals to traditional venture capital firms, all whilst having to answer to more stakeholders. For Hall, the primary challenges faced by Singapore’s venture capital scene lie not in the lack of growth finance, but in the relative lack of exits. “That’s really the only thing the region is lacking now, but I strongly believe we’re going to see a significant uptick within the next two years,” he said. Tan, meanwhile, identified the threat of initial initial coin offerings, or ICOs, which could have a “global negative reputation flowover and impact” on Singapore’s brand. “There are questions raised as to the future role of venture capital firms, especially if ICOs become an effective and sustainable avenue for startups to raise funds as a cheaper and faster alternative to venture capital funding,” said Lim. He added that whilst venture capital firms are seen as a channel for investors to obtain stakes in private companies, the recent ICO surge by startup companies could put the essential role of venture capital in doubt. In 2017, Singaporean FinTech start-up TenX in 2017 raised approximately US$80m through an ICO. The Singapore government has been trying to ramp up support for venture capital funds, Cheung said, mainly through attractive incentives, including reduced regulatory red tape, increased intellectual property protection and allocated funds for early investments. 20


Marcus Chow

James Tan

When venture capital investment in Hong Kong more than doubled year-over-year in 2017, analysts took note that the island is starting to follow in the footsteps of Singapore and is poised to have its own funding boom, helped along by strong government support for local startups and robust dealmaking in the technology and logistics sectors. Venture capital investment in Hong Kong reached a record US$1.14 billion in 2017, continuing a rapid growth trend over the past three years, data from the Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, or HKVCA, showed. This amount was more than double from US$547.4 billion in 2016 and up sevenfold from US$159.1 million in 2014. Average deal size in 2017 climbed to US$42.4 million, also more than doubling from US$19.6 million and up more than tenfold from US$3.9 million in 2014. The recent growth in venture capital investment has been underpinned by Hong Kong’s favourable startup environment, said Dennis Plomp, principal at Nest Ventures, citing the rise in new coworking spaces and venture builders setting up shop in the island to help incubate startups. Plomp reckoned another key driver to the venture capital investment momentum is the steady improvement in funding availability over the past two years. “The funding does not only come from local investors, but also from Chinese and Southeast Asian capital providers. Active local investors include Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund and the Hong Kong X Technology Fund,” he said. “Furthermore, the pool of angel investor capital has grown considerably.” Technology-driven momentum Hong Kong’s venture capital scene is “flourishing” with a focus on new technologies such as AI, blockchain, fintech, and healthtech, said Lap Man, co-founder and managing partner at Beyond Ventures, a Hong Kong-focused venture capital fund. In April 2018, one of the most notable deals was SenseTime raising US$600 million in its Series C round of funding, with Chinese technology behemoth Alibaba Group taking the lead role and Temasek and Suning, among others participating. Man, whose company Beyond Ventures is one of the shareholders before this round, reckoned this was regarded as the biggest round of funding in an AI company and the largest technology startup funding so far. Plomp said SenseTime’s Series C round placed the firm’s valuation at US$4.5b.

Venture capital investment in Hong Kong

Sources: Hong Kong Venture Capital Association

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4:45 PM


ION Orchard houses Gucci’s do-it-yourself store

DIY or die: Singapore’s brick and mortars turn to experiential shopping to survive Some stores on the lion city’s high street allow for the personalisation of bags, jewellery, and ice cream.


s a growing number of establishments in Singapore close up shop after falling to the might of e-commerce, analysts are placing their bets that experiential retail is set to give Singaporeans a reason to go beyond their online shopping apps, visit malls again, and breathe life into the struggling sector. “Retailing has always involved the constant refreshing of offerings

The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands drew inspiration from a digital walk-in wardrobe.

Magnum allows users to personalise their ice cream on their mobile



and concepts to retain and grow customer followings,” Huey Ying Tay, JLL head of research & consultancy told Singapore Business Review. “But the rise of e-commerce giants has brought the competition to a whole new playing field and retailers now have to relearn the art of retailing and be ever more creative and nimble in exploring strategies to bring foot traffic back to the stores.” The e-commerce phenomenon has been riding on the back of Singapore’s high mobile penetration rates and expansive internet coverage with online sales expected to hit S$10b ($7.4b) within 2017 to 2020, according to BMI Research, as retail giants like Lazada, Amazon, and Taobao increasingly knock on Singapore as a gateway to Asia. For brick and mortar retailers, however, it’s a whole other story. Although vacancy has narrowed slightly to 7.4% QoQ in Q4 from

8.2% after three straight quarters of decline, retailers are still treading cautiously and holding back expansion plans amidst slowing sales and and supply risks poised to last up until 2019 that have killed off some of the lion city’s best loved brands. In fact, clothing brand Hang Ten has closed more than a third of its stores in just over a year, just like Raoul who shut down its last store in 2016, as the extinction has not left traditional shopping areas like Orchard Road unscathed. Furniture and home decor store iwannagohome also reduced its outlets in Tanglin Mall and Great World City. Foreign clothing brands Celio and New Look have also been bearing the brunt of unmet sales targets as it closed down stores, adding to a growing list of brands brought to its knees by online retail. “To combat the convenience and reach offered by e-commerce,

industry insight: RETAIL

Huey Ying Tay

Gucci store at ION Orchard

retailers need to provide consumers with compelling reasons to visit the physical stores. One possible strategy is to offer in-store sensory experiences involving the smell, taste, and touch senses, which cannot yet be duplicated via online channels,” Tay added. Personalisation of shopping A certain number of stores have been shifting their focus to providing personalised shopping experiences, which was most evident in the luxury brands occupying ION Orchard, according to Ong Choon Fah, CEO and head of research and consulting of Edmund Tie & Company. Ice cream brand Magnum, for instance, has launched a campaign for the personalisation of its ice cream products through Augmented Reality using only a smartphone camera which consumers can then redeem at selected stores for a discounted price. But nowhere is this trend perhaps more evident than in fashion where retailers are giving their users more freedom to dress and accessorise themselves. Gucci, for example, has also opened a do-it-yourself section in its ION Orchard place as it enables customers to personalise their Dionysus bags with various design patches from butterflies, roses, and peonies. Similarly, the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands drew inspiration from a digital walk-in wardrobe with the launch of the Virtual Closet which comes with interactive digital mirrors in a 360 view as well as a themed photobooth to enhance the shopping experience for the fashionista. British luxury jewellery brand Monica

Vinader is also allowing its customers to personalise their jewellery pieces using a same-day engraving service. The trend towards experiential fashion experiences has also been picking up elsewhere in the world, noted Wendy Low, executive director and head of retail for Knight Frank Singapore. Chanel’s beauty focused pop-up concept, the Coco Café has launched in Hong Kong where shoppers could try out a wide array of beauty products whilst enjoying a Parisian dinner-style setting at the same time. Nordstrom also opened a tech-enabled menswear store in New York where digital screens in its tailoring section features an avatar which displays how shoppers look like when they try on the brand’s custom-made jackets. In Shanghai, stores like Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Alibaba’s Hema have increasingly leveraged on Augmented Reality technologies to bring retailing to a brand new level, noted Ong. “Memorable, engaging experiences are key. Although online shopping is convenient and often more economical, most consumers will never be content with just sitting at home and clicking on webpages,” said Colliers International head of research for Singapore Tricia Song. Technology is similarly making it easier for retailers to offer enhanced shopping experiences in Singapore as shown when Cold Storage opened a cashierless store at Fusionopolis featuring self-checkouts, smart scales, and electronic newstands, noted International Grocery Distribution Asia programme director Shirley Zhu.

Ong Choon Fah

Wendy Low

Shirley Zhu

Tricia Song

NTUC FairPrice has also developed a mobile app for its SingPost Centre store allowing shoppers to navigate the store and locate products more easily, Zhu added. Click-and-collect lounges have also been gaining popularity in the city state, noted Tay, with brands like Decathlon, Eu Yan Sang, and Uniqlo creating spaces for the provision of convenient pick up points for online purchases as retailers bid to attract footfall to physical stores whilst generating online sales. Sustaining the hype As brands continue to craft increasingly creative ways to enhance the shopping experience, the embattled retail sector is slowly gaining its footing after sales rose 8.6% YoY in February buoyed by demand for food, clothes, as well as growing footfall in department stores, supermarkets, and hypermarkets. However, such gimmicks can only hold a shopper’s attention for so long—retailers must work relentlessly to differentiate their store offerings from the rest to draw consistent interest and footfall which they can monetise in the long run. “To stay in the game, retailers would need to continually refresh their sensory offerings in order to continually engage and retain their customers. This strategy would also need to be adopted concurrently with other in-store strategies,” said Tay. Although experiential retail has been gaining ground in recent months, it also remains in a nascent phase that has yet to achieve the scope necessary to achieve its sustainability, suggested Song. Sandra Sendingan

The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands



economy watch

Singapore economy would slow to 2.5% in 2018

Singapore’s economy could suffer from the US-China row Some also flagged potential dampening effects on investments and business sentiment as early as the second quarter of 2018.


hen the U.S. and China threatened to impose tariffs on each other’s goods worth billions of dollars, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong published an editorial in mid-April warning that a trade war between the two economic powerhouses would slow down the global economy and hurt most countries, including Singapore. “We are a small, open economy with trade flows more than three times our GDP. A trade war between the two largest economies in the world will have a big, negative impact on Singapore,” said Lee. Whilst a full-blown trade war is not likely in the cards amidst expectations of a U.S.-China deal being reached, analysts echoed the prime minister’s concern that the country is especially vulnerable to any escalated trade war. Some also flagged potential dampening effects on investments and business sentiment as early as the second quarter of 2018. Chua Hak Bin, senior economist at Maybank Kim Eng Research, noted that the GDP growth at 4.3% in the first quarter of 2018,could be a good sign. “There is, however, some risk 24


A trade war between the two largest economies in the world will have a big, negative impact on Singapore.

that the ongoing U.S.-China trade tensions will impact investments and business sentiment in the second quarter.” Growth in goods export volumes did slow to an annual 1.9% in the first quarter of 2018, the weakest annual rate in more than a year, but base effects have exaggerated the slowdown in recent trade data, reckoned Sian Fenner, economic advisor at ICAEW and lead Asia economist at Oxford Economics. “Exports should still be supportive of GDP growth, in the absence of any escalation in U.S.-China trade frictions,” said Fenner, placing the likelihood of a full-blown trade

war at 12%. If this low-probability scenario were to happen, she flagged “significant” knock-on effects for Singapore.“One bad case scenario we have explored assumes that the U.S. pulls out of NAFTA and imposes blanket trade tariffs on China, South Korea, and Taiwan, who then retaliate with reciprocal tariffs on U.S. imports,” said Fenner. “This would hit world trade and global financial markets, adversely affecting Singapore’s domestic manufacturing sectors and export-dependent services such as transport and storage.” She estimated the Singapore economy would slow to 2.5% in 2018, versus a base case of 3.1%, and GDP growth to slip to only 1.6% in 2019. Some deceleration in exports has been observed in the region, but this was likely driven more by a slightly softer demand in Europe and the high base effect from 2017, during which exports grew very fast, rather the dampening impact of trade tensions, said Alicia Garcia Herrero, chief economist, Asia Pacific at Natixis.Still, Herrero warned that any material impact on global trade growth will directly hurt Singapore not just via supply chain linkages with China, but also its export activity, with sectors such as machinery transport, petroleum, and trade-linked services poised to be the most affected. For Selena Ling, head of treasury research & strategy at OCBC Bank, it remains debatable whether other emerging or Asian economies benefit or lose out from the U.S.-China trade dispute since any boon from China diverting some demand from U.S imports to other suppliers may be partially negated by the derisking in asset markets and foreign currency swings.

Singapore: both exports and imports declined in Mar-16

Source: CEIC, Maybank KE



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salary survey 2018

Candidates proficient in corporate strategy development and strategic innovation will be in demand in the healthcare segment with salary increases between 10% to 15% on average.

A tale of two wages: Pay rise can go up to 15% whilst expats’ salaries fall 15% Majority of the sectors in Singapore are poised for a stable rate of salary increases at 3%-15% this year. On another end of the spectrum, expats’ salaries are on a continuous decline.


ooking at the bigger picture of Singapore’s recruitment and hiring environment, majority of the sectors are poised for a stable rate of salary increases, which spells good news for employees and job seekers. For the accounting and finance sector, a report by Robert Walters noted that professionals in this sector are likely to get 10% to 15% salary increase in the next 12 months after registering modest levels of hiring in 2017 as more companies underwent restructuring, streamlining, and outsourcing of their accounting functions. Recruitment for Singapore’s human resources sector, however, remained stagnant in 2017, according to Robert Walters, especially for mid-to-senior level positions as companies continue to streamline HR teams and the ongoing trend of offshoring administration functions. The IT sector, will see a high level of demand for business and consumer-facing professionals who have deep learning and machine learning skills, with the rising trends of digital transformation, technological innovation, and artificial intelligence. Employers in the sector will also look for UX/UI professionals, particularly on front-end development, as well as cybersecurity experts. In terms of salary, increase is expected to be between 5% to 15%. For the legal sector, hiring trend was relatively stagnant



Private banking bonuses rose 5-7% YoY in 2017.

in 2017 compared to 2016 partly due to stringent requirements for recruiting legal professionals. Year-onyear salary increases ranged between 3% to 7% on average, and this is expected to continue in the next 12 months. For the sales and marketing sector, on the other hand, hiring levels remained positive within the fast market and consumer goods, retail, luxury, and healthcare segments in 2017. Candidates proficient in corporate strategy development and strategic innovation will be in demand, particularly in the healthcare segment. Salary increases are likely to be between 10% to 15% on average. Toby Fowlston, managing director for Southeast Asia at Robert Walters, noted that to secure high-potential talent, hiring managers are advised to make fast and strategic hiring decisions, using engaging and seamless interview processes to expedite recruitment. “Top talent can be retained with good succession planning and career progression opportunities, as well as monetary incentives,” he reckoned. Meanwhile, moderate hiring levels were observed in the banking and financial services sector in 2017 with more functions, particularly in the banking industry, transitioned offshore, whilst mergers and acquisitions also adding to the slowdown in hiring. Despite this, private

salary survey 2018 anywhere from 30% to 80%, with 50% being the average. If you are at the top of your game in private banking, you do make a lot of money,” said Khandelwal.

banking continues to gain momentum in the lion city with bonuses of a good-performing private banker clocking in somewhere around a whopping 50% of the base salary. This means that a managing director with more than 17 years job experience can earn as much as $200,000 in bonuses alone. Banking bonuses “The bonus on that would average 40-50% (given their book) which means in total Managing Directors could easily be receiving a package (base salary, bonus and longterm incentives) of close to SGD 1 - 1.5 Million,” said Nilay Khandelwal, regional director of Michael Page Singapore Executive director or SVP levels can earn around $137,500 in bonuses separate to their existing compensation packages. Those in the director and associate director levels can earn in between $100,000 to $150,000 in bonuses alone whilst an associate client advisor with around two to six years of experience could similarly enjoy hefty $48,000. Private banking bonuses rose 5-7% YoY in 2017, according to Krista Espaldon, senior consultant & regional lead for private banking at Morgan McKinley. Hefty bonus packages help private banking recruiters attract and retain top talent that could draw in wealthy clients amidst growing demand for personalised banking services and limited manpower to plug the demand. However, gone are the days of purely cash pay-out bonuses as a number of bonus packages are actually broken down into 60-40% cash and stocks/shares which are vested in two to three years. “Quite a bit of the bonus pay-out is deferred over a 3 - 5 year period and if the bank is listed, then they do offer shares too. Usually about 25% - 40% of the bonus is deferred over a 3- 5 year period and depending on the bank, it is paid out in a combination of stocks and cash,” said Rahul Sen, global head of private wealth management at The Omerta Group. What remains the same is the more generous compensation packages offered by foreign private banking players who dole out around 10-13% in total take home pay (including base salaries) as opposed to large local private banks who pay out a decent 8 to 12%, according to Espaldon. “It is all performance-linked so it would range

Bruno Lanvin

Paul Evans

Nilay Khandelwal

Krista Espaldon

Robie is a robot employed by Park Avenue hotels. He transports used/clean linen, general waste asSource: well as bulky Hays Asia room items (bottled water, bed toppers,.furniture, etc.) in between floors.

Crazy, poor expats If wages and bonuses are on a steady rise for Singaporeans, expats are on the other side of the spectrum with average expat income falling 15% to US$117,904 in 2017. From being the fourth highest paid expats in the world, Singapore expats are now tenth globally in terms of salary packages. Previous findings of the survey revealed Singapore is the best country for expats, but across HSBC’s league tables, it was defeated by other countries. In the overall economics league table, Singapore ranked second with a score of 0.61 in 2016. In 2017, its score improved to 0.64, but it fell to fourth place. The rankings are based on questions on an expat’s personal finances, views on the local economy, and their working life. Three-quarters of expats (73%) say the country offers better earnings potential than their home country. Indeed, they report a 42% increase in their annual income since the move to an average of almost US$118,000. This figure is US$18,000 higher than the average expat income. On average, expats in Singapore earn US$139,000 which is significantly higher than the global average of USD97,000. Expats in the country can also enjoy benefit packages from their employers, with 73% of expats receiving at least one benefit as part of their contract, compared with 67% globally Manpower crunch Despite the overall rosy outlook on salaries, the city-state is still grappling with a gaping number of job vacancies estimated at around 48,800 in 2017, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Manpower, with the accommodation and food services, and administrative jobs in security and investigation registering some of the highest vacancy levels at 6.4% and 4.9% respectively in Q4. As a consequence, a growing number of industries, particularly in the hospitality sector, have been turning to technological advancements like AI and robotics to fill the severe manpower gap. The police force is also in the process of fully automating all neighbourhood police posts that can provide 24/7 access to routine police services like submitting crime reports and lost-and-found property which frees up more officers to be redeployed to the ground. The government is similarly deploying AI systems for border security and machine learning for arduous document audits. “Talent crunches will continue to appear wherever technological innovations require new skills and new ways of organizing production, delivering goods and services, acquiring and consuming them. The only way they can be addressed in the longer run is hence through changes in education: teaching children how to learn (eg through coding), and allowing adults to constantly acquire new skills (life-long learning),” said Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director for Global Indices, INSEAD & Paul Evans, INSEAD Professor and Academic SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | JULY 2018


salary survey 2018 Director for GTCI (Global Talent Competitiveness Index). In addition to the lack of human resources, skills shortage remains a pressing problem plaguing recruiters and businesses across industries in the lion city. “Within finance and accounting, our research has found 100% of CFOs in Singapore find it challenging to source skilled professionals – making it of equal importance that companies have a proactive recruitment and retention strategy in place,” Robert Half Singapore managing director Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard said. Technological revolution “Digital transformation will continue to be a game changer in the recruitment environment,” said Jaya Dass, managing director at Randstad Singapore. “Employers are looking to invest in new technologies to help improve their attraction and retention efficiencies.” The banking sector is also in the same boat as consumers expectations and demands for a seamless banking experience are also accelerating the pace of upskilling in the sector, noted ManpowerGroup Singapore country manager Linda Teo. This growing technological revolution is already disrupting various industries in Singapore. For instance, the insurance industry has, for years, been transitioning to a more digital landscape with startups and even full-pledged insurance firms, like Singapore Life, already embracing insurtech as their core business model, and not just a component of their overall operations. This is also true in the legal and financial sectors with the rise of legaltech and fintech startups and businesses. This, according to Rob Bryson, managing director for Robert Walters Singapore, will continue to drive activity, particularly in the information technology (IT) sector. “We believe the IT job market will remain active in 2018,” he said, adding that businesses will continue to improve their digital processes, generating permanent and temporary opportunities for people with both traditional and new technology skills. Some of the key industries and sectors that are driving this digital transformation in Singapore include financial services, logistics, and e-commerce. Local and multinational firms’ drive for increased digital transformation and technological innovations is also in line with the Singapore government’s drive to strengthen technological infrastructure in a bid to make the city-state a “smart nation.” This comprehensive effort, both from the public and private sector, is only going to make Singapore an attractive employment destination for technology professionals. “We will see a demand for digital professionals, software developers, data scientists, as well as cybersecurity specialists,” said Diana Low, director at Page Executive Asia. “The technology sector will see continuous demand. An increasing number of companies are under pressure to drive transformation in the digital sector and also further invest in their IT systems.” This sentiment is echoed by Imbert-Bouchard, when he said that Singapore’s shift towards digitalisation is continuing and will continue to drive high demand for professionals with niche skills and expertise in 2018. 28


Recruitment trends in singapore

Jaya Dass

Rob Bryson

Toby Fowlston

Matthieu ImbertBouchard

Linda Teo


key trend in Singapore’s recruitment sector this year is the increased activity in the contract market, indicating the openness of employees and workers to more flexible job opportunities. ImbertBouchard said that there’s a strong demand for interim staff from employers who need the required skills to manage short-term contracts without having to add to their existing headcount. Contract work, he said, has become a viable option for Singapore professionals looking for more work-life balance and to diversify their career path. For Low, this rise in contractual work and openness for freelance and flexible work is also indicative of a mindset shift amongst professionals in Singapore who were traditionally geared towards jobs that are more stable. “We expect this trend to continue in 2018, as employers recognise the value contractors can bring to a business, particularly for legal professionals in the technology, healthcare, and fintech sectors,” Bryson said. Automation and changing skill sets In line with the growing trend of digital transformation and focus on technological innovation, ImbertBouchard also noted that new skillsets are required to navigate these new digital systems. For some experts, the rise of automation also means newer opportunities for companies and employees in terms of their growth and development. Randstad research showed that around half of employees in the city-state noted that automation will make their job better, whilst 72% would want to retrain themselves if they are paid the same or more than their current pay. This demonstrates that employees in Singapore are less resistant to the concept of job automation and understand that they need to adapt to remain relevant in the labour market. In this regard, Dass noted that companies should invest more into learning and development programmes that are tailored to the needs of the business and to prepare their workforces for the onset of digitalisation. Meanwhile, Bryson noted that whilst some jobs will be displaced as robots take over certain professions, the demand for such automation will have also led to new opportunities that employees could participate in. “Employees can skill up and do new higher value jobs and get better pay instead of doing more manual or tedious tasks,” he said. Low concurred and said that “Whilst machines/AI can automate a task and take away certain activities, it would never completely eliminate the human factor in a job,” said Low. “If employees can integrate their work with the machines and continuously develop themselves, they can be a better hire and more productive in their role.” Bryson noted that the human element will still play a vital role in business as people will still want to interact with people for more complex tasks and in service-based industries.

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In Print, Online, Mobile, Events, Awards, and Research

salary survey 2018 Digital years of experience Agency Account Executive Account Manager Account Director Business Director In-house Digital Marketing Manager Senior Digital Marketing Manager Digital Marketing Director e-Commerce Manager e-Commerce Director Social Media SEO / SEM Web Analytics User Experience Engineering & Manufacturing years of experience R&D Engineering / R&D Design Engineer Application Engineer Engineering Manager Engineering Director Operations Manufacturing Process Engineering Mechanical Engineering Electrical Engineering Controls/Automation EHS Quality Control / Assurance Quality Engineer Quality Manager Quality Director Field Service / Service Engineering Field Service Engineer Service Manager Service Director Sales Engineer Sales Engineering Manager Project / Program Management Project Manager Project / Program Director Legal years of experience Private Practice PQE in Local firms PQE in International firms In-house Corporate (MNC) PQE Financial Services PQE Corporate Secretary Corporate Secretariat (Non ICSA – Certified) Corporate Secretariat (ICSA – Certified) FINANCIAL SERVICES years of experience Investment Banking Associate / Assistant Vice President Vice President / Senior VP Director Managing Director / Head Investment Management Associate / Assistant Vice President Manager Senior Manager Director / Head Insurance Assistant Manager Manager Senior Manager Director / Head 30


MIN 42 54 MIN 50 50 50 50 50 50

3-5 MAX 54 60 MAX 80 80 80 80 80 80

MIN 52 60 MIN 52 52 52 52 70 60 MIN 52 MIN 42 42 MIN 80 -

3-5 MAX 70 90 MAX 70 80 80 80 100 80 MAX 80 MAX 80 80 MAX 110 -

MIN 70 145 MIN 85 MIN 100 MIN 30 50

3-5 MAX 150 240 MAX 130 MAX 180 MAX 60 95

AV 48 57 AV 65 65 65 65 65 65

AV 61 75 AV 61 66 66 66 85 70 AV 66 AV 61 61 AV 95 -

MIN 48 65 100 MIN 80 110 150 80 150 80 80 80 80

5-10 MAX 54 105 140 MAX 120 140 200 120 200 120 120 120 120

MIN 70 70 MIN 70 90 90 90 100 90 MIN 80 MIN 80 90 80 MIN 100 -

5-10 MAX 100 100 MAX 90 120 120 120 200 120 MAX 100 MAX 100 120 100 MAX 120 -

MIN 95 220 MIN 100 MIN 100 MIN 55 90

5-10 MAX 200 370 MAX 190 MAX 180 MAX 100 150

Salary (S$’000) AV 51 85 120 AV 100 125 175 100 175 100 100 100 100


105 140 150 MIN 120 140 200 120 200 120 120 120 120

Salary (S$’000) AV 85 85 AV 80 105 105 105 150 105 AV 90 AV 90 105 90 AV 110 -

MIN 100 100 100 150 MIN 100 120 120 120 200 120 MIN 100 200 MIN 120 110 MIN 150

10-15 MAX 135 180 200 MAX 140 160 250 140 250 140 140 140 140

120 160 175 AV 130 150 225 130 225 130 130 130 130

135 180 200 MIN 140 160 250 140 250 140 140 140 140

150 240 260 MAX 160 180 350 160 350 160 160 160 160

10-15 MAX 160 160 150 250 MAX 200 180 180 180 250 180 MAX 150 300 MAX 160 160 MAX 230

AV 130 130 120 200 AV 150 150 150 150 225 150 AV 125 250 AV 140 135 AV 190


160 250 MIN 200 200 200 200 250 180 MIN 300 MIN 160 160 MIN 230

15+ MAX

AV 180 170 300 275 MAX AV 250 225 250 225 250 225 250 225 300 275 230 205 MAX AV 330 315 MAX AV 200 180 210 185 MAX AV 260 245

10-15 MAX 220 450 MAX 250 MAX 350 MAX 150 180

AV 205 375 AV 210 AV 275 AV 110 145

MIN 200 400 MIN 200 MIN 250 MIN 100 120

15+ MAX 270 600 MAX 400 MAX 500 MAX 150 180



15+ MAX

AV 143 210 230 AV 150 170 300 150 300 150 150 150 150

Salary (S$’000)

3-5 MIN MAX 60 100 MIN MAX 60 90 MIN MAX 60 90 -

AV 80 AV 75 AV 75 -

AV 110 193 AV 108 AV 140 AV 45 73

5-10 MIN MAX 90 140 MIN MAX 80 135 MIN MAX 80 135 -

AV 148 295 AV 145 AV 140 AV 78 120

MIN 190 300 MIN 170 MIN 200 MIN 70 110

Salary (S$’000) AV 115 AV 108 AV 108 -

10-15 MIN MAX 140 250 MIN MAX 135 220 MIN MAX 135 220 -

AV 195 AV 178 AV 178 -

15+ MIN MAX 250 350 300 400 MIN MAX 220 320 280 360 MIN MAX 220 320 280 360

AV 235 500 AV 300 AV 375 AV 125 150

BONUS (%) AV 300 350 AV 270 320 AV 270 320

low 10 10 15 20 low 0 10 10 10 low 10 10 15 20

Med 20 20 25 30 Med 15 25 25 25 Med 20 20 25 30

high 40 40 50 50 high 40 40 40 40 high 40 40 40 40

salary survey 2018 Finance & Accounting years of experience General Accounts Payable Executive Accounts Payable Accountant Accounts Payable Manager Credit Controller Financial Accountant Group Accountant - Consolidation Cost Accountant Credit Analyst Financial / Business Analyst Finance Manager (Small / Medium Organisation) Finance Manager (Shared Services Centre) Finance Manager (Large Organisation) Credit Manager Costing Manager Financial Planning & Analysis Manager Financial Controller (Small / Medium Organisation) Financial Controller (Large Organisation) Credit Director Finance Director (Shared Services Centre) CFO / Finance Director (Large Organisation) Professional Services & Public Accounting External Audit Tax Management Consultancy Corporate Finance Risk & Compliance FINANCIAL SERVICES years of experience Investment Research (Equity & Fixed Income) Associate Vice President Director Portfolio & Fund Management Vice President Director Institutional and Retail Fund Sales & Distribution Associate Vice President Director Private Banking Assistant Private Banker Junior Private Banker Director Private Equity Associate Vice President Director Sales years of experience Advertising & Public Relations Agencies Account Executive Account Manager Account Director Business Director Procurement & Supply Chain years of experience FMCG / Retail Quality Direct Logistics/3PL Supply Chain Distribution/Warehousing Planning Indirect Lean/Six Sigma Financial Services Purchasing/Procurement Officer Procurement Specialist Procurement Analyst

MIN 35 45 42 50 55 55 50 55 MIN 50 55 50 55 50

3-5 MAX 45 60 60 70 70 75 65 80 MAX 70 75 80 75 75

AV 40 53 51 60 63 65 58 68 AV 60 65 65 65 63

MIN 140 MIN 200 MIN 124 MIN 120 MIN 144 -

MIN 42 54 MIN 50 50 45 50 45 50 50 60 MIN 50 70 60

3-5 MAX 80 85 80 90 80 90 90 90 MAX 70 80 70

AV 65 68 63 70 63 70 70 75 AV 60 75 65


60 70 60 65 70 65 65 80 80 80 100 80 70 100 100 MIN 70 75 80 75 70

5-10 MAX

80 90 80 100 100 80 90 100 100 100 130 100 90 130 150 MAX 120 130 140 120 120

Salary (S$’000) AV

70 80 70 83 85 73 78 90 90 90 115 90 80 115 125 AV 95 103 110 98 95


80 80 90 90 100 130 100 90 130 120 120 130 200 220 MIN 110 110 120 120 140

10-15 MAX 120 100 120 120 120 180 130 110 150 180 150 150 220 250 MAX 170 170 180 180 180


100 90 105 105 110 155 115 100 140 150 135 140 210 235 AV 140 140 150 150 160


120 100 100 120 120 150 130 100 150 150 140 150 220 250 MIN 170 170 180 180 180

15+ MAX

150 150 250 220 250 350 MAX -

AV 135 125 195 185 235 300 AV -

Salary (S$’000) BONUS (%) 5-10 10-15+ AV MIN MAX AV MIN MAX AV low Med high 190 15 25 50 180 400 290 25 50 75 320 500 410 25 50 100 AV MIN MAX AV MIN MAX AV low Med high 280 15 35 75 280 500 390 25 50 100 AV MIN MAX AV MIN MAX AV low Med high 162 15 35 50 144 336 240 15 50 65 260 400 330 25 50 75 AV MIN MAX AV MIN MAX AV low Med high 160 15 35 50 200 390 295 15 50 100 320 500 410 25 50 100 AV MIN MAX AV MIN MAX AV low Med high 222 25 50 100 220 380 300 35 60 100 300 540 420 35 65 Salary (S$’000) 3-5 5-10 10-15 15+ MAX AV MIN MAX AV MIN MAX AV MIN MAX AV 54 48 48 54 51 60 57 65 105 85 105 135 120 135 150 143 100 140 120 140 180 160 180 240 210 150 200 175 200 260 230 Salary (S$’000) 5-10 10-15 15+ MIN MAX AV MIN MAX AV MIN MAX AV 80 110 95 120 160 140 130 170 150 85 140 113 130 190 160 140 220 180 90 130 110 130 170 150 140 180 160 90 140 115 150 220 185 160 230 195 80 125 103 130 160 145 140 190 165 90 150 120 150 220 185 170 230 200 90 140 115 150 220 185 160 240 200 100 150 125 160 220 190 180 260 220 MIN MAX AV MIN MAX AV MIN MAX AV 60 80 70 75 90 83 80 100 90 90 110 100 120 140 130 140 150 145 75 85 80 90 100 95 100 110 105 3-5 MAX 240 MAX 360 MAX 200 MAX 200 MAX 300 -



COVER STORY salary survey 2018 FINANCIAL SERVICES years of experience Investment Banking Associate / Assistant Vice President Vice President Senior Vice President / Director Director / Head of Audit Investment Management Associate / Assistant Manager Manager Senior Manager Director / Head of Audit Tax Assistant Manager Manager Senior Manager Director / Head of Audit Healthcare & Life Sciences years of experience Clinical Research Drug Safety / Pharmacovigilence Data Management Clinical Operations Biostatistician Medical Affairs Research & Development Drug Safety / Pharmacovigilence Data Management Quality & Compliance Quality Control Microbiology Regulatory Affairs Quality Assurance (GMP) Operations Manufacturing Process Engineering Mechanical Engineering Electrical Engineering Controls / Automation EHS Validation Commercial Sales / Medical Representative Product Manager Sales Manager Marketing Manager Sales Director Marketing Director General Manager Human Resources years of experience Banking & Financial Services Payroll Mobility HRIS Learning & Development Talent Acquisition HR Generalist / Business Partner Organisational Development Compensation & Benefits Head of Human Resources Commerce & Industry Payroll Mobility HRIS Learning & Development Talent Acquisition HR Generalist / Business Partner Organisational Development Compensation & Benefits Head of Human Resources



3-5 MIN MAX 60 100 MIN MAX 60 90 MIN MAX 60 90 -

AV 80 AV 75 AV 75 -

MIN 50 50 50 50 100 MIN 50 50 MIN 45 45 60 60 MIN 50 60 60 60 60 60 60 MIN 50 80 80 100 -

3-5 MAX 65 70 70 80 130 MAX 65 70 MAX 80 80 90 90 MAX 70 90 90 90 90 90 90 MAX 80 100 100 120 -

MIN 45 50 55 60 55 55 60 60 MIN 40 50 50 60 50 55 55 60 -

3-5 MAX 55 60 80 80 85 80 80 85 MAX 60 60 80 80 85 80 75 80 -

5-10 MIN MAX 90 145 MIN MAX 80 135 MIN MAX 80 135 -

AV 58 60 60 65 115 AV 58 60 AV 63 63 75 75 AV 60 75 75 75 75 75 75 AV 65 90 90 110 -

AV 50 55 68 70 70 68 70 73 AV 50 55 65 70 68 68 65 70 -

Salary (S$’000) AV 118 AV 108 AV 108 -

10-15 MIN MAX 140 250 MIN MAX 135 220 MIN MAX 135 220 -

MIN 65 70 70 80 130 MIN 65 70 MIN 80 80 90 90 MIN 70 90 90 90 90 90 90 MIN 90 100 100 100 -

5-10 MAX 90 100 100 100 180 MAX 90 100 MAX 120 120 120 120 MAX 90 120 120 120 120 120 120 MAX 120 120 140 150 -

MIN 65 70 85 85 100 100 100 120 MIN 50 60 60 60 70 70 80 80 -

5-10 MAX 100 120 130 150 150 180 200 210 MAX 90 100 120 120 120 160 160 160 -

AV 195 AV 178 AV 178 -

Salary (S$’000) AV 78 85 85 90 155 AV 78 85 AV 100 100 105 105 AV 80 105 105 105 105 105 105 AV 105 110 120 125 -

MIN 90 100 100 100 180 MIN 90 100 MIN 120 120 120 120 MIN 110 130 130 135 120 140 120 MIN 140 110 120 120 150 180 200

Salary (S$’000) AV 83 95 108 118 125 140 150 165 AV 70 80 90 90 95 115 120 120 -

MIN 100 120 130 150 150 180 200 210 250 MIN 90 100 120 120 120 160 160 160 200

15+ MIN MAX 250 350 300 400 MIN MAX 220 320 300 340 MIN MAX 220 320 300 340

BONUS (%) AV 300 350 AV 270 320 AV 270 320

low 10 15 30 40 low 0 10 10 10 low 5 10 15 20

Med 20 20 30 40 Med 15 25 25 25 Med 10 25 25 25

high 30 30 50 50 high 40 40 40 40 high 30 40 40 40

10-15 MAX 150 120 140 125 250 MAX 150 120 MAX 140 140 200 200 MAX 200 180 180 180 180 180 180 MAX 170 150 150 150 200 220 250

AV 120 110 120 113 215 AV 120 110 AV 130 130 160 160 AV 155 155 155 158 150 160 225 AV 155 130 135 135 175 200 225

MIN 165 140 150 140 260 MIN 165 140 MIN 160 150 220 210 MIN 220 190 200 200 190 190 150 MIN 175 155 160 155 240 220 300

15+ MAX 190 160 175 170 320 MAX 190 160 MAX 195 175 240 235 MAX 240 215 225 220 210 215 225 MAX 220 210 215 180 280 250 480

AV 178 150 163 155 290 AV 178 150 AV 178 163 230 223 AV 230 203 213 210 200 203 213 AV 198 183 188 168 260 235 390

10-15 MAX 130 150 150 200 200 240 300 300 300 MAX 110 140 150 160 165 200 220 250 300

AV 115 135 140 175 175 210 250 255 275 AV 100 120 135 140 143 180 190 205 250

MIN 130 150 150 200 200 240 300 300 300 MIN 110 140 150 160 165 200 220 250 300

15+ MAX 180 200 200 220 250 300 350 350 350 MAX 160 180 200 200 220 250 270 300 350

AV 155 175 175 210 225 270 325 325 325 AV 135 160 175 180 193 225 245 275 325

Media & Entertainment

Built to amaze: Cityneon Holdings blows away audiences worldwide with stunning exhibitions The agency brings your favourite characters to life through extraordinary immersive experiences.


ityneon Holdings is punching far above its weight when it comes to crafting high-impact experiences which leave customers breathless with excitement. When it comes to producing exhibitions that amaze audiences worldwide, the homegrown full service ideas agency is the trusted partner of household names such as Disney, Marvel, Universal, Hasbro and now Lionsgate. “A very small company like us in Cityneon to be able to work with multi-billion dollars market capitalization company who value and guard their brands jealously, on a global basis, truly put Cityneon in a different footpath compared to any of our traditional and new competitors, locally in Singapore, and globally internationally,” says Ron Tan, executive chairman & group CEO of Cityneon. Built to amaze Since the company acquired Victory Hill Exhibitions in 2015, its Intellectual Property (IP) department has grown by leaps and bounds. Cityneon now has exclusive rights for the exhibition production over Hasbro’s Transformers Autobot Alliances, Universal’s Jurassic World – The Exhibition, and Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games The Exhibition. “Cityneon is in a much better position today as it was 3 years back. We have a good partner in Lionsgate, and we share similar contacts in the industry that we can cross referenced. Our track records help too. I am really glad we are starting this new relationship with Lionsgate,” Tan says. “We are in discussion with other franchises, and are blessed to have built up a relatively sound reputation in the world – especially in our industry. The process to close this deal is relatively smooth,” he notes. Cityneon now owns seven permanent and traveling exhibition sets, and will commission up to three new sets by end of 2018, compared to just a single set in 2015. The company has brought its exhibitions to 14 cities worldwide. “This is no easy feat for a small company like Cityneon. Our market capitalization is merely about $300m, relatively small in global scale but to have a company in

Singapore to be able to have successful global partnerships with international large studios such as Disney, Marvel, Universal, Hasbro and now Lionsgate, is something that we truly feel blessed about,” Tan explains. The group’s newest exhibition features the blockbuster Hunger Games franchise. The exhibition celebrates Katniss’ epic journey like never before. It explores the art, science, pageantry, and history of the world of Panem and features more than 1,000 authentic costumes and props, immersive themed environments and set recreations that highlight the technological wizardry and amazing artistry that brought this world to life. Forging new paths “This deal is another recognition of Cityneon’s reputation, track records, and confidence that partners such as Lionsgate has in us. This is by no means a frivolous recognition and I do not take such confidence lightly,” says Tan. With the successful opening of Jurassic World – The Exhibition in Paris, the group has now started constructing the second exhibition set for this franchise, and is in talks for a third and fourth exhibition set. As two more Jurassic World movies

will be launched in 2018 and 2021, Tan is optimistic that this will augur well for the Group’s investments into this IP this year and beyond. Cityneon is setting its sights on the World Expo 2020 which will be held in Dubai and will bring together exhibitors from over 180 nations globally. “We are aligning our ‘traditional’ businesses with the IP businesses – to complement each other strengths, especially in the area of creative & design. We want the company to move from the contractor/ construction mind-set in our industry – to that of creative & design led,” Tan explains. Cityneon’s efforts have been wellrecognised indeed. Last year, the company bagged awards both for its traditional business and its IP experiences. “These awards represent the hard work of each and every one of our 400 employees in the company. This year’s award for Best Listed Company in our category/ industry is yet another recognition of the continued hard work put in by all in the company, the confidence and trusts our industry partners, clients, and suppliers have in us. We are blessed and honored to receive this award and will continue to strive to be best in class in the years ahead,” Tan adds.

“This deal with Lionsgate is another recognition of Cityneon’s reputation and the confidence that partners have in us.”

Ron Tan, executive chairman & group CEO of Cityneon



event coverage: SBR AWARDS

Singapore Business Review honours 22 outstanding firms


ingaporean companies are challenged to stand out as they move in a market full of competition and uncertainties at home and abroad. In an effort to recognise the companies that delivered turnarounds through various innovation, Singapore Business Review held this year’s International Business Awards, National Business Awards, and Listed Companies Awards. The winning companies were honoured and presented to around 165 participants at a joint awards ceremony held on 17 May 2018 at the Conrad Centennial Singapore. Now in its fifth year, the International Business Awards lauds the most outstanding international firms operating in Singapore. The fourth Listed Companies Awards recognises innovative publicly listed companies in the city-state. Meanwhile, homegrown Singaporean companies were honoured in the third National Business Awards. This year’s nominations were judged by a panel consisting of Ng Jiak See, executive director and head of corporate finance advisory at Deloitte Singapore & Southeast Asia; Choo Eng Chuan, ASEAN markets leader and partner, international and corporate tax services at Ernst & Young Solutions LLP; Toh Kim Teck, assurance partner at Foo Kon Tan LLP; and Henry Tan, managing director at NEXIA TS. The event was also graced by prestigious guests including Ukraine Ambassador to Singapore Dymtro Senik, Royal Danish Embassy head of trade Ole Boisselier-Malgrem, New Zealand Chamber of Commerce board member Mark Thomas, and Belgium Luxembourg Business Group honorary secretary Tom De Geytere.


Singapore Myanmar Investco Limited

Hoffmann Quality Tools Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.

Singapore Business Review congratulates the following winners: Listed Companies Awards Versalink Holdings Limited - Furniture and Fixture Singapore Myanmar Investco Limited - Luxury Retail Cityneon Holdings Limited - Media & Entertainment ERA Realty Network Pte Ltd - Real Estate Singapore Telecommunications Limited - Telecommunications International Business Awards MHE-Demag - Building Services & Facilities Finastra International Financial Systems Pte. Limited Financial Technology AVADO - Human Resource Technology Jardine Lloyd Thompson Asia - Insurance Broker NTT Communications - IT Services AIA Singapore - Life Insurance Bolloré Logistics - Logistics Crown Equipment (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. - Logistics Equipment Hoffmann Quality Tools Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. - Machining and Tooling Firmenich Asia Pte Ltd - Manufacturing VYGON Asia Pte LTD - Pharmaceuticals Digital Alchemy - Technology National Business Awards PSB Academy - Education Imagene Labs Pte Ltd - Health Products & Services One Farrer Hotel & Spa - Hospitality & Leisure Adventus Singapore Pte Ltd - IT Services BR Metals Pte Ltd - Metals & Mining 34


Firmenich Asia Pte Ltd


Cityneon Bolloré Holdings Limited Logistics & L’Oréal

Crown Equipment (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.

Versalink Holdings Limited

Singapore Telecommunications Limited

AIA Singapore


Jardine Lloyd Thompson Asia

BR Metals Pte Ltd

ERA Realty Network Pte Ltd

Finastra International Financial Systems Pte. Limited

VYGON Asia Pte Ltd

Firmenich Asia Pte Ltd

Singapore Telecommunications Limited



event coverage: SBR AWARDS

Adventus Singapore Pte Ltd AIA Singapore

Cityneon Holdings Limited

Bolloré Logistics & L’Oréal


One Farrer Hotel & Spa

Singapore Myanmar Investco Limited 36


Crown Equipment (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.

NTT Communications

Finastra International Financial Systems Pte. Limited

PSB Academy

ERA Realty Network Pte Ltd

Imagene Labs Pte Ltd

BR Metals Pte Ltd

Hoffmann Quality Tools Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.

Hospitality & Leisure

Trash to treasure: How one man quit his corporate career and built a recycling empire Through sheer grit, determination, and a commitment to quality, BR Metals has grown from a three-man team working in a small room in Guangzhou, China, and to a recycling powerhouse.


n 2009, Frank Chen was at the career crossroads which would change his life forever. His first step was the bold decision to leave his lucrative and highflying career as a business consultant at one of the world’s largest multinational professional services companies. Soon after leaving the comfort of his corporate office, he rolled up his sleeves to collect spent catalytic converters and other auto parts to recycle. In particular, he focused on precious metals such as platinum, palladium, rhodium and others. BR Metals has grown from a small team working in a cramped office in Guangzhou, China, to a recycling powerhouse with offices in Singapore, Guangzhou, China, and Cambodia. Investing in the right technology When Chen started his recycling business in 2009, he wanted to not only professionalise the industry in China, but also set a new standard in the collection, processing and recovery of these precious

Frank Chen, managing director at BR Metals.

metals. From the onset, Chen has spared no expense in investing in the latest technology and acquiring the latest tools of the trade. At present, BR Metals has a complete set of cutting-edge sampling equipment to analyze, grade and process scrap materials containing platinum group metals (PGMs) quickly, accurately and cost-effectively. These tools are designed to precisely measure the precious metal content in any batch of catalytic converters. “This was what differentiated BR Metals from the competition, and the professional approach soon paid off,” Chen says. “Within a few short years, the company has captured about 40% of the market share in China.” Unlike most competitors in the Asia-Pacific region, BR Metals has its own laboratory in Guangzhou, equipped with the latest testing equipment, production workshop and a complete production management system. Reaping the fruits of success BR Metals has grown by leaps and bounds from its humble beginnings. Backed by its staff of experienced professionals, it is committed not only in investing in the latest technology but also in building a loyal network of suppliers. “We have 21 suppliers across the globe. They have chosen us for our exceptional service--we offer convenient on-site collection, free accurate analysis of precious metal content, fast payment and even financial assistance to help suppliers collect more materials. Our price quotes are also based on the latest market information,” explains Chen. In 2014, the company established a branch in Singapore as part of its expansionary plan in Southeast Asia. And in 2017, BR Metals Pte Ltd (Singapore) acquired BR Metals Limited (Guangzhou) as a fully-owned subsidiary, and set up a new representative office in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It employs 40 staff across its

three offices. Today, BR Metals has become the leading PGM recovery company in Asia with a turnover of over US$30 million, of which $6.5m is from the Singapore operations. It recovers more than 2,000 kg of Platinum and PGMs each year. Recently the company has developed and implemented a new production system to raise productivity as well as to address the labour shortage faced by the recycling and waste management industry in Singapore. It will also collaborate with local universities and think tanks on research projects, and develop new analytical methodologies and techniques. Bright future “Over the next five years, BR Metals plans to expand its presence with local offices or representatives in neighbouring developing economies including but not limited to Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos,” Chen says. We also plan to leverage Singapore’s well-established precious metal trading platform, infrastructure and strategic geographical location to market our metals directly to the industry and end-users in the region,” he adds. In 2018, BR Metals became a member of the prestigious Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) - the first and oldest international association in the recycling industry. “The membership is not just a recognition of our market strength, it will also open up new opportunities for collaboration and networking on the global stage,” Chen says. “Our core values-professionalism, accountability and attentiveness–drive us to deliver the best possible customer experience and commercial outcome, every time.” Born Francis Chan, Frank took on the name Frank Chen because his Chinese colleagues cannot pronounce “cis” in “Francis”. As for Chan, every one he met calls him Mr. CHEN. To blend into the Chinese industry, he took on his business name and built BR Metals as Frank Chen.

“Within a few short years, the company has captured about 40% of the market share in China.” SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | JULY 2018



Firmenich earns recognition for pioneering program to create jobs for the visually impaired It won Singapore Business Review’s International Business Awards 2018 for Manufacturing.


n May 17th, Firmenich Asia Pte Ltd was recognised by Singapore Business Review as an outstanding international company, receiving the SBR International Business Award 2018 – Manufacturing category. Firmenich, the world’s largest privatelyowned Fragrance and Flavor Company was distinguished for its pioneering program to include visually impaired professionals on its sensory panel to assess flavors and fragrances in Singapore. The program is part of Firmenich’ s global initiative with inclusive panels running in Mexico, London, Mumbai and Geneva. Sustainable business is smart business Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1895, Firmenich has created many of the world’s best-known perfumes and flavors, enjoyed by billions of consumers each day. Its passion for creating positive emotions through the senses of taste and smell is at the heart of its success. Present in 100 markets, the firm has 7,000 employees worldwide and posted revenue of approximately US$3.3 billion last financial year. Being a family owned company, the Swiss Group always take a long-term view of its business to be a force for good, for its colleagues, for its customers and for society. That’s why it is recognized as an industry leader in sustainability, committed to leading the most transparent, ethical and sustainable value chain. “When you consider it takes 3.5 tons of rose petals to produce 1 kilo of rose essential oil; and 1 million roses to produce the 3.5 tons of rose petals, there is no other option for us than to harvest them sustainably, if we want our business to thrive for generations to come!” said Rajan Arul, General Manager of Firmenich Singapore. Through its “Naturals Together” program, Firmenich partners with smallholder farmers in over 40 countries to provide customers with the finest natural ingredients, while improving the livelihoods of 250,000 farming families. For Firmenich, offering equal opportunities for all its colleagues, whatever their background, to thrive, is not only rooted in its DNA as a family-owned 38


company, it is the right thing to do. That’s why Firmenich announced its commitment to become a 100% certified gender equality employer by the end of 2018, in a context where the industry average pay gap is 20%. A Hub for perfumery excellence Since opening its first office in Singapore four decades ago, Firmenich has played an active role in the city’s transformation into one of the world’s most dynamic business hubs. The company inaugurated its Global Perfumery Creative Center at the Singapore Science Park I in September 2017, a state-of-the-art facility offering world-class capabilities from perfumery creation and technology innovation, to cutting-edge application labs and consumer insights. Part of the Group’s network of Global Centres of Excellence, the Singapore hub is also home to Firmenich’s leadership teams for Hair Care, Soap Bars and Detergent Powders. Firmenich’s reputation as a company that attracts and cultivates the most diverse talent in the industry extends far beyond the scope of the inclusive panels recognized by the Singapore Business Review International Business Award. Last year, the Singapore affiliate won

SwissCham’s 2017 inaugural award for Excellence in People and Skills Development for its dedication to talent development, notably the quality of its trainings, as well as its strong partnerships with local universities, including the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University. A culture of Diversity & Inclusion The creation of Firmenich’s brand-new Perfumery Creative Center in Singapore offered the perfect opportunity to bring the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion to life. Working with the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped, the Company had the opportunity to train several visually impaired testers for a new descriptive panel. The experience has been so positive that Firmenich expects to continue to increase the number of blind and visually impaired panelists it employs in all locations. “Creating an inclusive culture takes both commitment and action. By working with local associations for the blind, we are strengthening our diversity and sharpening our capabilities, while creating sustainable job opportunities,” said Mieke Van de Capelle, Chief Human Resources Officer at Firmenich.

“Present in 100 markets, the firm has 7,000 employees worldwide and posted revenue of approximately US$3.3b.”

Firmenich Singapore recognized for integrating visually impaired professionals in their sensory panels









Creativity is our Essence At Firmenich, our people build our legacy every day! With a passion for taste and scent, we are constantly pushing the boundaries of our creativity and innovation to delight consumers around the world, sustainably. Discover more about us at

Winner of the SBR International Business Award 2018 Manufacturing Category

Financial Technology

Asia’s open strategy movement; APIs and achieving competitive edge Singapore is favouring an organic, market-driven approach in the adoption of open banking APIs. huge growth. In this evolving environment, banks and Fintechs need to work together; incumbent financial institutions bring breadth and depth of customers, trust and proven experience whilst Fintechs and challenger banks have the advantage of innovative approaches to technology and perhaps greater engagement with customers who enjoy seamless banking services. It’s about collaboration - coming together to develop the digital banking services customers have come to expect.

that all adhere to common standards, is crucial in enabling banks to quickly access, integrate and deploy new APIs from Fintechs and developers.” Connecting the old with the new The preparatory stage is key for financial institutions looking to transition to an open strategy. The first stage is to look internally – select the right model to adopt APIs that best supports the organisation’s overarching business model and one that will enable them to take advantage of the richness of existing systems. This is a process Finastra went through several years ago as it made the move to providing an innovative and collaborative open financial services platform, recently opening its architecture for third parties to develop and deploy applications. In many cases, a hybrid integration of legacy systems and an open strategy, focused on connecting traditional methods to new internal applications and external third parties, will prove most effective for those with a heavy dependence on legacy applications. An API strategy can extend the value of existing technology investments and create value by tying together disparate systems and gradually increasing the internal accessibility of data across various business lines. This, in turn, can encourage the development of innovative applications and services in collaboration with third parties such as developers or Fintechs. Once a true platform approach has been established, banks can drive innovation from within in collaboration with third parties and continue to progress incrementally, embracing transformation initiatives and evolving with the agility to meet ever-changing customer demands. The rise of a collaborative, open ecosystem where banks, Fintechs, challengers and other industry players work together to further innovation is the only way the industry can continue to deliver what customers want.

A balancing act Having taken early steps to embrace the Open Banking revolution, Singapore is said to be favouring an organic, market-driven approach to encouraging adoption of open banking APIs – an approach which seems to be working, with DBS launching the world’s largest API developer platform in November 2017. In Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority – inspired by Imad Abou Haidar, Managing Director, PSD2 in Europe – recently launched an Asia Pacific at Finastra Open API framework for consultation with s financial institutions grapple the industry. Furthermore, a number of with mounting regulation, digital industry bodies are also looking at the need transformation and changing for standards around API platforms within customer demand, there is widespread the financial services industry. As open realisation that ageing, legacy technology strategies gain broader adoption, financial simply won’t cut it anymore. services regulators will almost certainly An open strategy is needed for a continue to take a stronger role in shaping competitive edge. Whilst in practice this industry standards. might look slightly different for banks, Just as Salesforce set the standard for developers, Fintechs, regulators and sales automation software and created customers, the entire industry should a common platform for sales automation be looking to find ways of unlocking the apps, the same needs to happen in banking. potential which will impact and, ultimately, Finastra CMO, Martin Häring said, “While provide benefits for all involved. Finastra strives to ensure greater agility, With the objective of stimulating reliability, security and openness within the competition in banking, monetary authorities banking sector, we are also determined to across Asia are looking at this themselves help deliver significantly lower operating and starting to put in place a number of cost models and more sophisticated and Open API directives and specifications customer-centric services that are fit for designed to dramatically reduce barriers purpose in an increasingly competitive and to entry, create opportunities for nimble regulated sector. and innovative players in the market, and A platform-based approach, underpinned encourage competitiveness within Asia’s by an extensive ecosystem of participants banking sectors. Although the use of APIs is not new, their “Open collaboration is the new innovation of financial ability to maximise potential and enable services. ” - Imad Abou Haidar, Managing Director, Asia users to glean deeper insights has seen


Pacific at Finastra



Building Services & Facilities

Welcome to the future: Take a peek into Singapore’s first robotic valet service MHE-Demag’s Automated Guided Vehicle parking solution uses a laser-guided positioning system for navigation and retrieval.


n the 1990s, automated car parking was largely just a discussion about possibilities. Having your car parked by a robot was something that we thought would happen only ‘in the future’. With the introduction of MHE-Demag’s Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) parking solution, we have essentially brought the ‘future’ to this region. MHE-Demag’s AGV parking solution is a significant technological advancement. It involves employing a robot to help drivers park their cars. In simple terms, it is like having a robot as your valet. Imagine heading to a shopping mall where you drive into a car lift, get out from your car and hand your vehicle over to a robot. The robot then manages the entire parking process for you, while you are free to go about your day. When you are done, all you have to do is just swipe your card and the robot will deliver your car to you. You can also ‘order’ your car through an app, which will bring it closer to the exit point, resulting in a quicker collection of your car. Sleek and sophisticated The AGV, which is substantially more advanced and sophisticated, works differently from other mechanical parking systems. For instance, besides the hasslefree parking, the average retrieval time for a car parked with the AGV parking solution is 2 minutes, as compared to conventional multi-storey car parks, which take around 10 to 15 minutes. Unlike conventional automatic parking systems, which require conveyor belts or lift systems to transport the cars, the AGV does not require physical tracks for the transport vehicles. Instead, the AGV uses a laser-guided positioning system to navigate using markers or wires places in the floor. The AGV is small. Therefore, it is able to shuttle in various direction and narrow driveways. It provides flexibility in car park layout and allows for more efficient use of available space. The AGV works on all types of cars (Sedan, SUV, and MPV) weighing up to 2600 kg and sizes up to 5.25m (L) x

2.15m (W) x 2.0m (H). This is a standard dimension of AGV parking solution. Conventional parking systems depend highly on human behaviour when it comes to traffic control, safety, logistic, and others. AGV is able to simplify the process by minimising human involvement thus saving time, ensuring better traffic control, providing more efficient logistic management, and greater safety. A history of innovation MHE-Demag has a long and proud history of being a leader in the material handling industry. Established in 1972, MHE-Demag operates within a close-knit regional network in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and Australia, supported by 11 manufacturing facilities and over 70 sales and service offices across Asia-Pacific. Apart from automated parking systems, MHE-Demag offers a comprehensive range of industrial cranes and hoists, warehousing equipment such as lift trucks and dock levellers, aerial work platforms and building maintenance units (BMUs) for safe working at height. MHE-Demag introduced the AGV to

this region in 2016 and Singapore is the first country to have adopted it. The AGV parking system in 18 Robinson is targeted to be completed by Q4 2018. The parking solution will provide 90 parking lots, distributed evenly over the five basement floors. The entire system is controlled and managed by a computer network, which allows a high degree of flexibility. It is capable of switching operation modes to adapt to different requirements in the day, for example, to cater to peak or morning rush hours as well as less busy hours in the afternoon. In addition, the AGV parking solution that will be installed has the ability to park cars in longitude (parallel) & traverse (reverse) directions simultaneously (dual direction parking), which is impossible with other systems.

CONTACT Company name: MHE-Demag Address: 33 Gul Circle, Singapore 629570 Phone number: +65 63053500 Emai: Website:

“MHE-Demag has a long and proud history of being a leader in the material handling industry.”

MHE-Demag demonstrating the Automated Guided Vehicle parking system to potential customers in Malaysia




Vygon to dominate Asia’s healthcare market Just four years after opening its subsidiary the manufacturer has more than doubled its revenue.


rench medical device manufacturer Vygon SA is gearing up to carve its mark in Asia’s booming healthcare market. Just four years after opening its subsidiary in Singapore, the manufacturer has more than doubled its revenue in the region. This impressive feat was achieved through the leadership of Thanapathy Kumaraiah, Vygon’s regional director for Asia-Oceania. “There is so much demand for Vygon’s wide range of quality medical products due to rise in population, consumer demand and income growth,” he explains. “These factors

Thanapathy Kumaraiah, managing director, Vygon

point to the need for Vygon’s products hence Vygon Asia can generate handsome revenue, adding that the Asia Oceania region will be a dominant profit contributor to the group at least for the next four years,” he adds. More milestones ahead Aided by the other members of its Singapore team, Vygon Asia will heavily focus of five priority countries, namely Australia, China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Indonesia. “We want to concentrate our distribution operations so that it would provide ample time for Vygon Asia management to look into regulatory affairs and business development activities and to build and grow a strong team that can serve other promising markets,” Kumaraiah says. He adds that whilst Vygon has secured a major headstart into the promising region, there are major structural challenges that need to be overcome as countries roll out

different safety standards. “Most of the countries in the Asian region are now implementing and adopting different medical device standards. For instance, China and South Korea are developing their own regulations that suit their needs. These complicated regulation structures in these countries pose a major business battle,” he explains. As part of a shift in the company’s business strategy, Vygon Singapore will be dealing directly with customers and ending the traditional route of using distributors, says Christophe Deffontaines, Vice-President Vygon Asia Pacific. “By 2022, the group aims to have a revenue of EUR500m. And by then, Vygon Asia will be a key contributor to this growth.” he says. Vygon won this year’s Singapore Business Review International Business Awards for Pharmaceuticals. The award was received by Thanapathy Kumaraiah.

“By 2022, the group aims to have a revenue of EUR500m.“ Machining and Tooling

Creating cutting-edge tools of top-notch quality Hoffmann Group’s full suite of services benefits a long list of local and international enterprises.


ioneering, precise, and personal: These are the words that the Hoffman Group lives by when it comes to manufacturing state-of-the-art tools for its distinguished clients. Backed by almost a century of German expertise, the Group—supported by its local subsidiary, Hoffman Quality Tools Asia Pacific—has long been at the forefront of innovation and development. With a catalogue of over 75,000 items from 500 leading manufactures and its premium GARANT and quality HOLEX brand, the group’s product portfolio specialises

The Hoffman Group at the Singapore Business Review Awards 2018 42


in tools for cutting, clamping, metrology, grinding , hand tools, and workshop equipment and storage. State-of-the-art tools for all Its diverse list of clients includes some of the biggest names in the aerospace industry, as well as a long list of local and international SMEs. To address the needs of its clients in the manufacturing industry, the group has developed the GARANT Tool24 Smartline, an innovative tracking system through which companies can cut procurement and administrative costs. “The GARANT Tool24 Smartline can be configured in such a way that when stocks drop below the defined reorder levels, the purchasing and scheduling departments are notified automatically and a reorder is sent to the suppliers. The system is set up for reliable, 24/7 maintenance-free operation,” explains Pinaki Banerjee, managing director

of Hoffman Quality Tools Asia Pacific. The Group has also developed the topof-the line GARANT TPC Milling Cutter for one of its leading clients in the aerospace industry. “The aviation industry works with extreme materials, such as Inconel alloys. These require extreme millers to perform the task, and GARANT’s Tricodial Milling Cutter is the only cutter that can perform this specific task within the shortest time and achieve a lower cost and higher performance,” Banerjee explains. “The Hoffman Group is more than a company that sells tools. We pride ourselves in our strong service competencies. We provide everything from innovative eBusiness solutions to unparalleled product applications, right through to turn-key outfitting of entire workstations and storage solutions. This enables us to provide our customers with the very best specialist knowledge in every area,” Banerjee says.

“The Group’s catalogue has a complete suite of products with over 75,000 items from 500 leading manufacturers.”

Luxury Luxury Retail RETAIL

Raising the travel retail experience in Myanmar SMI developed a proposal covering more than 65,000sqft of retail space at the Yangon Int’l Airport. strong competition from at least four international retail travel companies, SMI was awarded the entire retail space with an impactful and high quality design layout to bring a completely new consumer and retail experience for travellers.

SMI won the Luzury Retail category at the Singapore Business Review Awards 2018


ithin a short span of time, Singapore mainboard-listed company Singapore Myanmar Investco Limited SMI has built up a diversified retail and consumer-centric portfolio in this last frontier market in Asia. Notably, to capitalise on the growth of travel within the Asia region, SMI developed an ambitious proposal covering more than 65,000 square feet of duty-free retail space at the brand-new terminal at Yangon International Airport. Although faced with

Leveraging on market knowledge Faced with daunting deadlines as the new terminal was being completed, SMI’s president and CEO, Mark Bedingham, leveraged on his extensive experience and networks to attract more than 25 international retail brands (including Coach, Pandora, Swarovski, Tumi, Kinokuniya, amongst others) and F&B operators (such as Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf) to make their maiden foray in Myanmar. Led by SMI’s operations director, Satheeish Subramaniam, the Group was able to ensure that all the duty-free stores were completed on schedule to welcome

travellers to the new terminal. Since then, SMI’s local market knowledge and operating experience in Myanmar has been pivotal in bringing more international brands into the domestic Myanmar market, collaborating with leading mall developers in Myanmar to introduce international fashion, lifestyle and cosmetics brands as well as showcase new F&B concepts such as Crystal Jade, Ippudo, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and Jones the Grocer. In addition, SMI’s other key business activities, namely Europcar car rental and cold storage logistics, continue to offer new value propositions to different customer segments. Winning the Luxury Retail category in the SBR Listed Companies Awards 2018 further reaffirms SMI’s strong strides in Myanmar and it goes to show that a relatively small Singapore company, driven by ambition and perseverance, can achieve something big in a challenging pioneer market.

“SMI attracted more than 25 international retail brands and F&B operators to make their maiden foray in Myanmar. “ IT Services

Uncovering the secrets of Singapore’s best employer Adventus shares the secret to employee retention and how it is crucial for the company’s success.


n a market where job-hopping is the norm, Adventus bucks the trend by having high staff retention rates and impressively high employee satisfaction levels. “Our culture is all about inspiring people,” says Seah Jie Ling, manager, Operations & Client Servicing, at Adventus Singapore Pte Ltd. “We are always willing to listen, implement changes, and take care of our staff. We have monthly staff engagement activities and we also improve their physical and mental health through staff wellness programmes.” Adventus prides itself in caring for its staff and catering to their welfare. It doesn’t only pay employees more generously than its competitors; it also identifies learning and development needs to help employees make the most of their careers. Every employee of Adventus is aware of his/her key performance indicators (KPI) and is well-informed of the company’s goals and directions. We have quarterly

company meetings to communicate our company’s financial results, strategies, and achievements,” says Jie Ling. “Every year, we go through a 5-day management retreat to set KPIs for every department. The managers will then set KPIs for all the employees where the KPIs will be tied to rewards,” she added. Empowering innovative employees The company also ensures that there is a mentorship system between managers and junior employees. In fact, a recent employee satisfaction survey revealed that over 90% of the company’s employees are happy with their manager’s style of leadership. As a result, employees can make meaningful contributions to the company because they are empowered to innovate and be creative. “By taking in their suggestions, we ensure that our employees are empowered. Our employees know that they make meaningful

“Every employee of Adventus is aware of key performance 43 SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | JULY is 2018well-informed of the company’s goals.“ indicators (KPI) and

contributions to our company,” she said. Adventus is one of few System Integrators (SIs) that have the capability to deliver an exceptionally wide range of IT solutions & services. Clients perceive Adventus as an extremely reliable firm in technology deliveries with outstanding service levels. Its impeccable reputation has significantly helped the company to build an admirable and loyal customer base that includes some prestigious organisations in the world.

Adventus Singapore bagged SBR’s National Business Award 2018 for IT Services


Tailor-made solutions for digital revolution Providing you end-to-end business solutioning services to help clients stay ahead of competitors


company is only as good as its technology. And when it comes to implementing business solutioning, NTT Communications is well aware that there is no one-size-fits-all answer for all businesses. “In NTT Communications, we believe that in order for an organisation to achieve success, they need both secure and reliable as well as flexible and agile ICT. With our comprehensive suites of business solution offerings that include end-to-end ICT infrastructure services and leveraging

McLaren goes faster with NTT Communications

resources of NTT Group companies, we give our customers the peace of mind to just focus on driving business growth,” says Naoki Wakai, president & CEO NTT Singapore Pte Ltd. Massive R&D investments Its parent company NTT Group invests about US$1b annually in research (Mar 2017), which is carried out in three different laboratories across the world, including a dedicated facility situated in Silicon Valley. The company is also dedicated on investing in highly reliable and high-quality infrastructure. In fact, NTT Communications operates more than 140 data centres around the world with more than 0.4 million sqm of server floor space and is further expanding the capacity across the globe. “These investments allow us to offer a wide range of services,” explains Wakai. “Backed by our world class global

infrastructure, we are able to seamlessly integrate your existing systems with new architectures to optimise resources, build more flexible environments and drive innovation.” Wakai. adds that a key challenge which many of its clients face is the rise of artificial intelligence and the internet of things. “Many enterprise customers are working with AI and IoT to create services and customer experiences that have never been seen before. But given that these are all new services, the components and specifications needed for such unprecedented offerings often are unknown,” he says. This is why a partner like NTT Communications is crucial in ensuring organisational success. “We have the necessary components, including network, data centers and cloud platform, and can use them to offer one-stop services tailored to customer needs,” he says.

“NTT Communications operates more than 140 data centres around the world.“ Education

PSB Academy aims to be hotbed for STEM talent with new multi-million-dollar campus

The new campus at Jackson Square in Toa Payoh upgraded laboratories built for their various faculties.

PSB Academy officially launched its new STEM Campus on 10 May 2018


SB Academy (PSB), one of Singapore’s leading private education institutions, celebrated the inauguration of its STEM Campus in early May. The campus was officially launched by Assistant SecretaryGeneral for the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), Patrick Tay, with longtime institutional partners from the Labour Movement and universities from the UK and Australia in attendance, together with industry representatives like VX Sports, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, Pearson Education and more.

The new campus at Jackson Square in Toa Payoh, is a multi-million-dollar facility that will house PSB’s School of Engineering and Technology, and School of Life and Physical Sciences. At the event, PSB CEO Derrick Chang underscored the importance and strength of tripartite collaboration as key to the Academy’s success in the future. “Prime Minister Lee determined tripartism as a crucial ingredient to Singapore’s long-term success. Our strong partnership with the likes of SISEU and self-help groups provides us a channel to enable equal and accessible quality higher education opportunities across life stages, that gives us the platform to build on our success as The Future Academy. These collective efforts ensure that we not only equip students to contribute to a strong, successful Singapore

workforce, but also nurture resilient advocates for lifelong and continual learning,” says Derrick. PSB will continue its focus on developing skills-based diploma and degree programmes focused on transferrable skills, designed for both school-leavers and workers looking to upgrade themselves. In partnership with universities from the UK and Australia, as well as collaborations with colleges in Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam and China, PSB is also looking to build on its transnational network, to offer its students opportunities to gain exposure to other countries. “Even as we train students for the new economy, we want them to appreciate the nuances of culture and understanding of new ways of doing business, to create resilient global citizens,” says Dr Sam ChoonYin, Dean, PSB Academy.

“Our collective efforts ensure students contribute to a strong, successful workforce, be resilient advocates for lifelong learning.”

Furniture and Fixture

Six Degrees of Happiness Versalink: Performance by design


usinesses are always looking for effective ways to improve business performance and increase their profits. Unfortunately, one area that is all too often neglected is offering a conducive working environment. Studies have shown that the happiness of your workforce can rest heavily on the environment and furnitures. In a study back in 2013 by Management Today, 97% of employees from a range of UK companies responded that they regarded their place of work as a symbol of whether or not they were valued by their employer. What’s interesting about the survey is only 37% thought that their offices had been designed ‘with people in mind’, and less than one-third admitted that they were ashamed of bringing over clients and customers. Changing the dynamics of a workplace with functional, stylish, ergonomic office system furniture is nothing uncommon

to Versalink, a world-class global manufacturer and exporter of office system furniture. Adhering to its tagline, “Performance by Design”, Versalink’s products can be found in over 40 countries and regions such as Africa, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and North America. Versalink consistently invests in research and development to introduce innovative products. Its understanding of customer behaviour and the work environment gathered over the years has allowed it to offer an extensive range of office system furniture that will help its customers to improve their work performance. From desking to panel systems to walls and storage solutions, each product can be endlessly configured customised to suit the specific needs of customers. Contact Versalink to discuss your Office Furniture requirements at Email: info@ Phone: +603-33926888 Website:

“Versalink’s products can be found in over 40 countries.“

Six Degress of Happiness

With the InfoLink® System, you have a



real-time, wireless connection to your entire fleet, virtually regardless of truck brand, giving you the operator and forklift data you need to ensure your operation is running as efficiently and safely as possible. We build it to your specs and customise it to your facility. Designed, developed and supported


by Crown. All you do is use it to ensure you get the most out of your operators and your fleet every day. To see how infolink could help manage your forklift fleet, email to book your demonstration today.


Event coverage: International transport Forum 2018

Panel discussion on cybersecurity threats to transport at the 2018 International Transport Forum held at Leipzig, Germany on May 22-25, 2018.

Cybersecurity risks pose threats to transport industry

Despite the current projection of transportation cybersecurity spending hitting $14b by 2022, the industry still remains vulnerable to attacks.


s more of people’s data get recognised and stored digitally for a more intuitive experience, vulnerability to cyberattacks also run high— affecting both the security of individuals as well as the integrity of operations of these transportation services. These transport systems are, by nature, complex and vulnerable to cyberattacks, according to Gene Seroka, executive director of the port of Los Angeles, which handles goods with a total value of around $1b. Seroka was part of a panel session talking about the rising cybersecurity threats to transport during the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, Germany in May 2018. Seroka explained that his port implemented the first ever cybersecurity centre in the U.S. to mitigate cybersecurity risks that observe a cybersecurity threat once every eight seconds. He stressed that to address this issue, partnership between the public and private sectors is extremely important, particularly in sharing lessons and learning from the experiences of each other.



Cybersecurity threats can affect operations—both internal and external—of transportation companies and service providers.

Despite the current projection of transportation cybersecurity spending increasing to around $14b by 2022 from the current $8b annually, according to ABI Research, the transportation industry could still be highly vulnerable from certain attacks. Michela Menting, digital security research director at ABI Research, noted that there is very poor cybersecurity being applied or implemented within transportation operational technologies and control systems. Cybersecurity threats can affect operations—both internal and external—of transportation companies and service providers. Solid business case This is echoed by Henrik Kiertzner, principal business solutions manager at SAS, when he said that capabilities for cyberattacks are widespread given that sophisticated tools can be bought or rented easily, “even for the most imbecile criminals.” Cyberattacks have become attractive moves for criminals and states engaged in illegal and heinous activities, because of their low investment needs and low risks. Kiertzner said that some

security officers in firms often face difficulties in making the business case for more cybersecurity, no matter how enormous the cybersecurity risks and threats are to a company or institution. Stéphane Feray Beaumont, vice president at Alstom Digital Mobility, meanwhile, emphasised the importance of conducting training and spreading awareness amongst relevant stakeholders to be able to create the right mindset and develop much-needed vigilance to be alert when cyberthreats emerge. In terms of raising awareness and information-sharing, Peter Kummer, chief information officer at SBB or the Swiss Federal Railways echoed the same sentiments. He, for instance, had raised and increased the awareness of cyberattacks in his company, for example, by conducting tests to find out how employees react to phishing messages, or dubious email messages that asks people to give out their information. He noted that the results of these tests showed that a quarter of the employees in his companies were willing to provide passwords. In terms of what can be done, Beaumount explained that regular changes and refreshing of account information are needed to keep security on a high level, helping institutions distinguish cybersecurity from other security issues. He recommended designing systems in such a way that cyberattacks do not corrupt everything by having sort of a layered system where troubleshooters would be able to deal and solve issues without the whole system breaking down. In terms of governments, Seroka said they could facilitate collaboration between stakeholders and concentrate on areas where the cybersecurity threats have the largest economic and security impacts. Kiertzner noted that the most successful collaborations start small, focusing on common and interlocking interests given that the whole transport sector is large and diverse, so segmenting the sector would make sense. Genelie De Leon


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Event coverage: NET EVENTs or worse, failure,” he added. Brian Issac, senior director, global business development of NetFoundry, concurred, saying that this is a very complex issue and as an industry player, participants are looking at a highly connected network of over 3 million devices. The issue now, he said, is determining what the best practices are , and how businesses can work together with a massive connection in their hands. “As Mansour previously said, excitement may fuel a jump but companies have not really come together to come up with standard practices,” Issac explained. NetEvents Global Press & Analyst Summit held in Dolce Hayes Mansion, San Jose, California.

Is IoT the ultimate driver of digital transformation?

Pick a market sector and the Internet of Things is present: manufacturing, smart cities, retail, transportation, healthcare, education.


oT is a massive area using realtime connectivity, data analytics, and business applications, business managers are looking to improve customer experience and business efficiency using IoT tools. So how is this going to transform business--will there be more functionality for consumers, will big and smart data help them improve operations? Predictive data analytics is one of the benefits for businesses wherein companies use data collection and analytics to provide foreseeable capabilities about products and customers. IoT can also assist in digital supply chain wherein they use real-time data to predict outcomes. Some of the real-world digital transformation examples are Rockwell Automation that collects device data from industrial devices and analyzes data in the cloud. Southern Company is another example, an energy provider that builds real-time tracking, enhancing strom recovery and customer service. Qualcomm also uses it in bringing C-V2X vehicle to vehicle communications standard. Even 48


Predictive data analytics is one of the benefits for businesses wherein companies use data collection and analytics to provide foreseeable capabilities about products and customers.

cocktail mixing is part of the trend now as German firm Keith & Koep released a cocktail booster, an automated cocktail mixer connected to Microsoft Azure IoT Cloud with 60 different ingredients and targets making a cocktail in just six seconds. These were fleshed out in a conference debate chaired by Scott Raynovich, principal analyst, Futuriom, at the NetEvents Global Press & Analyst Summit held in Dolce Hayes Mansion, San Jose, California. Riding the revolution Mansour Karam, CEO and founder of Apstra, with new software-based techniques said that one has to rethink the use of IoT in running businesses because until and unless their systems and business models are ready for the massive amount of data that’s about to come in, they will not be able to maximize the potential of this revolution. “Some are just too excited to jump in on the wagon and tell customers, ‘Hey we are using today’s latest technology’ without realising they may be setting themselves up for an embarrassment

Data security Jeff Baher, senior director, product & technical marketing-networking & service provider solutions, Dell EMC said that some enterprises have come forward to take the lead in responsibility handling and ensuring that data is secured, but he claimed that there’s still a long way to go. Russ Currie, vice president, enterprise strategy of NetScout, concluded, “We have so much information coming to us, and just this morning one of our customers came to us saying that they have too much information to deal with, and this becomes an issue to businesses. How do we normalize this without losing the value of big data just because there were too much of them coming in?” The industry’s biggest players are embracing the vision, each with its own specific angle they believe will earn new customers. Even so, there’s not enough business for every top-shelf vendor to succeed, not with enterprises pressing hard to cut costs. The network has never been critical, but it has never been more complex. Why is AI at a critical juncture right now? Tom Burns, senior vice president, Dell EMC Networking and Solutions, pointed to two particular reasons why this is happening at the moment: digital transformation and technology change. “We believe very much in the way open source is going to change the industry. All these changes are happening very quickly and must be embraced by the industry, he said. Karen Lou Mesina





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Singapore Business Review (June - July 2018)  

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