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Getting smarter and greener

Oct 26, 2017
Credit : GMI Post

As Singapore strives to become a smart nation, the country’s business sector proceeds full steam towards full digitalization.

“Digitalization pushes us to reimagine banking and the customer journey. DBS aims to run like a 22,000-person startup that embraces technological transformation,” said Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS, named World’s Best Digital Bank by Euromoney in 2016.

Digitalization helped another banking giant – OCBC – expand its geographical reach and better understand customer preferences and trends. By providing new banking channels, technology also helped OCBC improve customer interaction.

Group CEO Samuel Tsien foresees that those new banking channels will grow increasingly “natural” and will dispense of the need for an intervening medium.

“So instead of having to carry a token, you use your fingerprint or your voice, which you carry naturally. This is the direction that it’s going,” he said.

With new opportunities arising from digitalization, V3 Smart Technologies, a mobility and robotics solutions provider, has invested heavily in R&D. Already with 600 SMEs as clients, V3 is looking for new partners that can benefit from their new technologies.

“We always welcome companies from the West and hope they collaborate with us, especially if they have good tech ideas, products and solutions and want to commercialize and enter Asia,” said Executive Director Jon Wong Shih.

Because of challenges like limited land and high population density, Singapore sees urban solutions as a new export sector.

Sun Electric is venturing beyond the country to bring solar power to local communities from building rooftops. The company won a government grant three years ago after taking part in a proof-of-concept exercise backed by state-owned real estate company JTC Corporation.

“Now, Sun Electric is exporting its patented technologies and software tools to a wide range of smart city and grid initiatives globally, scaling significantly from our Singapore base. It’s an exciting time,” said CEO Matthew Peloso.

Surbana Jurong, one of Asia’s largest infrastructure and urban development consultancies, is also eager to share its expertise.

“We want to impart what we have learned, build sustainable cities, and shape communities,” said Group CEO Wong Heang Fine.

Meanwhile, Wendell Trading Company has helped Singapore maintain its reputation as one of Asia’s greenest places. Originally started as a distributor of fertilizers and agriculture chemicals, the company has diversified its activities to include development and maintenance of gardens and golf courses.

“We want to contribute to the sustainability of landscapes globally. We have found our niche in specialty fertilizers for turf and landscaping,” Managing Director Doris Wee said.

“Outside of Singapore, we have reached international markets such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the US and the EU. Moving forward, we would like to establish more partnerships around the world, especially in Vietnam and Indonesia, where we see the market growing,” Wee added.

Solar technology: Singapore’s global competitor

Oct 26, 2017
Credit : GMI Post

Sun Electric CEO Matthew Peloso

Solar energy firm Sun Electric sees many opportunities for fellow “smart” companies around the world. With its pioneering initiatives and patented technologies, Sun Electric built a platform that allows open access to solar energy by connecting consumers and rooftop owners.

“There’s significant promise in what we do. Simultaneously, we’ve been innovative and consumer-focused. Despite challenges to implementing our innovation, Sun Electric helps cities adopt clean energy,” said Sun Electric CEO Matthew Peloso.

“How cool is it if your city – whether Dallas, Manila, Melbourne or Jeddah - makes its own energy just because the sun shines every day? It’s an amazing opportunity to harvest sunlight, which doesn’t cost anything as a fuel source. This makes for a really positive future for the energy sector and healthier cities,” Peloso added.

Wendell Trading keeps its business fertile

Oct 26, 2017
Credit : GMI Post

Wendell Trading Co. Marketing Executive Doris Wee

A year short of its 40th anniversary, family-owned Wendell Trading Co. continues to grow because of its ability to adapt to the ever-changing business environment in Singapore. As competitors failed to keep up with changing conditions in the 1970s, it ventured into horticulture, landscape services and garden supplies while the city-state moved away from agriculture.

Now managed by the second generation, Wendell adjusts its business model to sustain its business. It has partnered with golf courses here and abroad to maintain their grounds and went into public health via mosquito control products.

“In marketing, we have to maintain a strong home market. I found my niche. Most are penny competitive and go for volume, but mine is high margin and smaller volume, which better fits my company size. We understand flexibility and the need to adapt,” Marketing Executive Doris Wee said.

Singapore 2017 was prepared for and originally printed in Foreign Affairs magazine.

PDF of the printed report

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