January 16, 2008 (Straits Times) – In the latest in a spate of alternative energy-related investments in Singapore by foreign companies, Siemens will open a new regional sales office to promote its wind energy technologies. The German industrial giant announced the new initiative at a conference as it kicked off its 100th anniversary celebrations at the Victoria Concert Hall yesterday.
The guest of honour at the event, President SR Nathan, also sealed a time capsule with 100 items, including a copy of yesterday’s The Straits Times and a price list of HDB flats. It will be opened in 50 years.
Siemens also donated a $75,000 sculpture by the late Brother Joseph McNally symbolising creativity and $750,000 in cash to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
The wind energy centre, which will be based at the Siemens Centre building in MacPherson Road, will initially have just a ‘handful of staff’, said Siemens country manager Hans-Dieter Bott. Siemens will ‘build it up over time’ and hire more staff as business grows, he added.
And he is confident it will grow as countries around the world look for new sources of energy to power their economies.
Globally, he said, the ‘booming’ market for wind energy has grown from a multimillion- euro market to a multibillion-euro one within a ‘short time’.
And while the Republic itself is unlikely to be installing any wind generators, it is a ‘strategic’ location that is well linked to both the key wind energy research centres in Denmark and regional wind energy markets such as Australia and South Korea.
Siemens, said Mr Bott, has had a ‘longstanding relationship’ with Singapore since 1908, when it set up a sales office in the Republic. It was then one of the first German companies to establish a presence here.
Even during Singapore’s ‘turbulent post-independence years’, the company said in a press statement, it ‘signalled its strong commitment to the Republic’ by setting up a semiconductor factory – its first such complex outside Germany.
Today, Siemens, which employs more than 2,200 people in its ‘six companies, four major research and development sites and 16 regional centres of competence…is one of the largest European companies’ in Singapore, said Mr Bott.
Its products are also part of everyday life here: Siemens has built one-third of Singapore’s power generation plants and 19 Siemens trains traverse the North-South MRT line daily.
Hospital patients undergoing in-vitro diagnostics are scanned by Siemens equipment, and its mail systems sort mail for Singapore Post.
For Siemens, said Mr Bott, ‘investing in Singapore and her future has never been a difficult decision’, and it remains committed to the Republic ‘now and into the future’.