The Straits Times

Centre to help S'pore tech solution firms opens in Guangzhou

23 Aug 2017

Singapore companies that provide advanced manufacturing technology solutions are getting a leg-up to enter the China market.

Trade agency International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and Ascendas-Singbridge have launched the Singapore Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Guangzhou, a one-stop shop to facilitate partnerships between Singapore technology solutions providers and Chinese enterprises looking to adopt such solutions.

The centre, which is in the Sino- Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City, will host a pioneer batch of five Singapore technology players.

They are: Motion control specialist Akribis Systems; Barghest Building Performance, an energy efficiency technology provider; K-One, which focuses on sustainability and environmentally friendly solutions; Plant Werx, a provider of industrial information technology; and SESTO Robotics.

"These companies can partner and co-create solutions with Chinese manufacturers as they move up the value chain," said IE Singapore chief executive Lee Ark Boon.

Potential areas of collaboration include robotics and industrial automation, additive manufacturing, augmented reality, industrial Internet of Things (IoT), as well as big data and analytics.

Guangzhou is the capital and most populous city of the province of Guangdong in southern China.

The Guangdong government has pledged approximately $190 billion to upgrade its manufacturing sector and adopt robotics to cope with rising labour costs and a shortage of skilled workers.

Mr Michael Leong, the chief executive of SESTO Robotics, said the firm has worked to develop solutions together with customers in Singapore, Taiwan and China in recent years. "Once we've stabilised in these markets, we plan to look further afield," he added.

The company's presence in the centre will be its first foray into Guangzhou.

SESTO Robotics is a unit of home-grown engineering firm Hope Technik. It was spun off to focus on industrial robotics solutions for the global manufacturing market.

SESTO Robotics has created two types of robots - automated guided vehicles and robots with arms that can mimic some human actions such as picking up boxes. Its technology allows multiple types of robots to co-exist in the same environment, said Mr Leong.

K-One Industries, another company in the pioneer batch at the centre, also intends to look for partnerships in China to power its growth.

The firm builds green technology solutions - such as water- and manpower-saving dishwashers - for various sectors, including the airline, food and beverage, and waste management industries.

"China is a huge market but it is also a difficult market," said managing director Kong Mun Chew.

"This project makes the path into China smoother for me. I want to partner a Chinese company and use that to grow - I think that is a more feasible business model than going in by myself."

The Singapore-headquartered company also has a presence in Taiwan and Indonesia.

"This project makes the path into China smoother for me. I want to partner a Chinese company and use that to grow - I think that is a more feasible business model than going in by myself.''
-MR KONG MUN CHEW, managing director of K-One Industries.

Courtesy of The Straits Times, 22 August 2017.