Mindset change towards risk is key to building innovative economy
A greater appetite for risk and tolerance for failure is needed from all corners from society as Singapore looks to restructure its economy into a more innovation-driven one. This change in mindset will ultimately determine the strength of Singapore’s future economy, said business leaders and public officials at The Business Times Leaders’ Forum 2016 on Tuesday. The 16 speakers and moderators at the forum, held in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of The Business Times, shared their views across different panels on how Singapore can chart the next phase of its economic transition.
Singapore urged to always embrace the best talents
Singapore must always remain open to talent and attract the best people to work here in order to maintain its competitive advantage and succeed in the long run. That was one of the key messages from a panel discussion during The Business Times Leaders’ Forum 2016 on Tuesday. Victor Mills, chief executive officer of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, stressed that there is “no limit on talent, provided we don’t self-limit ourselves”.
April marks longest stretch in lending decline
Bank lending in April played heavy funk and blues, with the seven months of consecutive contractions marking the longest-ever period of declines on record, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore on Tuesday showed. Loans through the domestic banking unit – which essentially captures lending in all currencies but mainly reflects Singapore-dollar lending – stood at S$590 billion, down 0.8 per cent from a year ago.
Leaders generally assured about Singapore’s continued relevance
While the bulk of business leaders see disruption as a major phenomenon in their sector, they remain confident about Singapore’s ability to stay relevant to the world economy, according to findings from The Business Times-Standard Chartered Leaders’ Survey 2016. Even so, leaders think Singapore’s continued success is contingent on crucial changes in mindsets – both at the societal- and enterprise-level.
Another funding scheme for local firms launched
Local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will have greater access to financing starting today. The SME Working Capital Loan run by Spring Singapore aims to address these businesses’ cash-flow concerns and growth-financing needs through unsecured working capital loans to be offered by 12 participating financial institutions. Spring said in a statement that SMEs can apply for unsecured term loans of up to $300,000 each. The trade support agency added that it will co-share 50 per cent of loan-default risks with the financial institutions under the scheme, which is expected to result in more than $2 billion of loans for SMEs over the next three years.
Singapore Real Estate
Retaining a competitive real estate advantage is key for Singapore
When the Asean Economic Community (AEC) was born on the last day of 2015, it signalled that this region of 625 million people was showing real signs of fulfilling its potential. Increased economic vigour in South-east Asia might be seen as beneficial for Singapore, the financial hub at its centre. But could it also threaten that hub status? Investment is increasingly flowing into regional centres such as Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Jakarta (not to mention further-flung places such as Hong Kong and Sydney). So when top business leaders arrive in Kuala Lumpur for the World Economic Forum on Asean in June, many will be wondering whether Singapore will be among those to benefit from the birth of the AEC.
Frasers Hospitality to export UK brand to Asia, eyes Aussie cities
Even as Frasers Hospitality busies itself with its further expansion in Europe, works are in progress to bring its Malmaison Hotel du Vin (MHDV) chain in the United Kingdom to Asia as early as 2018. At the same time, it is planning to extend its presence in two Australian cities. The hospitality arm of real estate developer Frasers Centrepoint Ltd (FCL) intends to add a second property to its Melbourne portfolio, chief executive Choe Peng Sum shared with The Business Times, adding that Frasers Hospitality also owns a property each in Sydney, Perth and Brisbane. Details of the other city in which it intends to extend its presence are unavailable.
Beijing project boosts KSH earnings
For homegrown construction and property development firm KSH Holdings, the path to continued growth doesn’t lie in Singapore but overseas. The completion of its Liang Jing Ming Ju Phase Four Sequoia Mansion project in Beijing contributed S$15 million to the firm’s share of results of associates and helped push net profit up by 46.7 per cent to S$61.5 million for the financial year ended March 31, KSH said in a Singapore Exchange filing on Monday.
Mapletree to beef up recurring income, invest in new markets
Mapletree Investments, which reported a 3.8 per cent drop in net profit to S$965.2 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016, is looking to further beef up its recurring income streams and invest in new markets. These are markets where Mapletree has entered of late outside of Asia, namely the UK, Germany, Australia and the US. The Temasek unit attributed the decline in profit after tax and minority interests (Patmi) to lower revaluation gains.
No intention to take IReit Global private, says France’s Tikehau
Tikehau Investment Management (IM) says it has no intention to take IReit Global private. This is contrary to some market speculation after the Paris-based asset investment and management firm expressed interest in buying an 80 per cent stake in the Reit manager. In a phone interview with The Business Times on Tuesday, Tikehau IM chief executive officer Bruno de Pampelonne said that buying the Reit manager allows it to capitalise on its European real estate expertise and deepen its Singaporean and Asian presence.
Solar-powered WiFi to be tested on Sentosa
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Infocomm Media Business Exchange 2016 (imbX) on Tuesday, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim announced three initiatives: enhancing connectivity through a Green WiFi pilot; using robots in preschool teaching; and developing technology professionals. Dr Yaacob announced that the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) will partner Aruba, M1, Skylab and Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) in a new Green WiFi Pilot@Sentosa initiative on Sentosa island.
Views, Reviews & Forum
Structural reforms key to raising Asia’s potential growth
In 2015, the Asia-Pacific region continued to set the pace for the world economy, accounting for 60 per cent of global growth. Asia’s strength comes in spite of an atmosphere of mediocre global output. But as the region faces strong global headwinds, it must make increased efforts to boost productivity through a recommitment to structural reforms. New ADB (Asian Development Bank) research demonstrates that in the absence of stronger efforts at reforms, potential growth – that is, the maximum level of economic output consistent with full employment and stable inflation in the absence of any pickup in the pace of reforms – in many Asian economies is likely to be lower than the period immediately before the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).
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