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SCHNEIDER Electric is expanding its presence in Singapore, investing 65 million euros (S$102 million) into its Singapore operations over the next five years, the company said on Friday.
The company, which touts itself as a global specialist in energy management and automation, provides green technologies to companies, and already supplies most of the data centres in Singapore today.
"We have a lot of business in smart data centres, which is what we're doing - creating smart buildings, green buildings. It's a big activity for us," said Jean-Pascal Tricoire, chairman and CEO of Schneider Electric.
Which is why Singapore's plans of developing a smart nation was a draw for the company.
"A smart nation really aligns with the mission of our company. When you speak about smart nation - there are plenty of things on the efficiency of all the functions delivered by the state, of course - but when you speak about our business, which provides technology for a greener, more efficient environment, Schneider Electric is the biggest supplier worldwide for energy systems for data centres. . . On this infrastructure, which is hosting the data, it is essential to make the city smarter," Mr Tricoire said.
The 65 million euro cumulative investment will go into developing three parts of the com-pany's operations in Singapore. The first is establishing a Software Industry Solutions Center and Software Regional Hub, which involves setting up "a group of data scientists working on our industry software - what is often referred to as Industry 4.0 - of which we are one of the world leaders", said Mr Tricoire.
Secondly, the company will be expanding its logistics and network design team into a global supply chain network planning team, which will plan all the product and system flows across the 350 industrial and logistic sites owned by the company across the globe. Finally, the company will establish Singapore as its East Asia headquarters (excluding China), overseeing operations in Asean, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Mongolia under industry veteran Tommy Leong.
"We are reinforcing the team because it is a significant business for us," said Mr Tricoire. "Behind China and the US, East Asia is the biggest region in our company worldwide."
In 2014, Schneider Electric brought in a revenue of 24.9 billion euros globally, 28 per cent of which was attributed to the Asia-Pacific region.
The company has a headcount of more than 167,000 people across the globe, 34 per cent of which are based in the Asia-Pacific. In Singapore, the company has 1,500 employees.
The Software Industry Solutions Center plans to employ more than 60 research scientists and engineers by 2018, though it is unclear how many new hires in total the company plans to have.
However, Mr Tricoire stated that the significance of the company's investment in Singapore goes beyond the number of direct jobs provided.
"What we're doing is innovation - in products, systems, technology as well as complete experimentation," he said.
For instance, the company is currently working with Nanyang Technological University on a pilot project that connects buildings to a software which aggregates and extracts data for more efficiency. Another project involves a microgrid off Pulau Semakau, which uses renewable energies to supply energy.
"Technology we develop here is transferable to places with many islands like the Philippines or Indonesia," he said. "This means that doing that kind of innovation in Singapore creates a relationship with local companies and businesses that can be transferred or exported to other parts of the world."
"Development of logistic expertise on a global scale from Singapore - that would benefit many companies around us - provides leadership of the whole region, which creates a lot of global responsibility for people based here," he added.
Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the company has a project involving a microgrid on Jurong Island and that, based on a press release, Schneider Electric's East Asia headquarters in Singapore will oversee Asean, South Korea, Taiwan and Mongolia. The former is in fact off Pulau Semakau and the latter in fact includes Japan. The article above has been revised to reflect this.