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Clean Technology Race – Singapore has its priorities misplaced by incentivising Manufacturing

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Clean Technology is the the Industry that every country in the world is  pursuing aggressively to gain an early mover advantage .Singapore which is a financial and trading hub is no different as it also tries to attract clean technology dollars to its shores.Norwegian Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) which is one of the biggest Solar producers in the world is setting up a huge wafer-module plant in Singapore.This has been the only major CleanTech triumph that Singapore has managed so far.Even calling REC a triumph may be doubtful as REC as it has seen its profits and stock price crash in the face of  Chinese competition and Funding difficulties.Compare that  to its close neighbor Malaysia which has managed to attract multiple solar companies like First Solar,Q-Cells and Sunpower.

Asian Countries Advantages over Singapore

Singapore has always been an also-ran in the manufacturing sector with its electronics and semiconductor manufacturing sector never attaining a critical mass.Its small size and relatively expensive labor puts it at a substantial disadvantage compared to other Asian countries .

  1. India has  a large domestic market and cheap labor which give its substantial advantages over Singapore.The government is also moving aggressively in the solar energy space.It already has a big domestic wind industry
  2. China is dominant in the solar industry with almost 50% of the world’s marketshare.It is on its way to dominate the world’s wind industry as well.
  3. Japan has got one of best high technology bases plus a big home market as well.Companies like Sharp,Panasonic,Mitsubishi are Clean Technology leaders.
  4. South Korea has one of the biggest green stimulus programs in the world.Its massive conglomerates like Samsung,Hyundai and LG are also making aggressive moves in the Green Industry
  5. Malaysia can match the benefits,tax credits and other incentives given by Singapore  with its  lower cost labor . Malaysia is offering an unheard of 15 year tax holiday for high tech companies along with cheap state loans.

Singapore should focus on Services than Manufacturing

Singapore seems better placed to promote its strengths as a financial and trading hub rather than a manufacturing centre.It possesses unique advantages based on the strong rule of law,transparency,efficiency and cosmopolitanism.In my opinion It should focus its energy on Services rather than Manufacturing.

Singapore chases green dollars in clean-tech race – Reuters

Luring REC was a major coup and key element of Singapore’s drive to become a global hub for clean-tech investment, development and education and a center for the carbon market.The clean-tech sector is also part of the government’s efforts to try to gradually shift one of Asia’s most energy-intensive economies onto a greener footing as well as tap a boom in green energy and services in the region.

“We believe that Asia is going to be a huge market for clean-tech products and solutions and we want to make sure Singapore is plugged into this entire market place,” said Goh Chee Kiong, director, clean-tech, at the government’s Economic Development Board, or EDB.

It has rolled out a series of investments, tax sweeteners and other incentives since 2007 to achieve its goal.This is a well-rehearsed formula that has helped the economy of five million people become one of the richest in the world on a per-capita basis, and one of the most nimble as it tries to compete with rivals such as Hong Kong and Shanghai.The city’s clean-tech sector employs nearly 10,000 people and the aim is to reach 18,000 people by 2015.

For all its business acumen, the government has been accused of not putting in the same effort to cut the nation’s growing greenhouse gas emissions, which at roughly 12 tonnes per capita are higher than some European countries.Singapore is not obliged under U.N. treaties to commit to binding emissions cuts but has pledged, at a minimum, to cut emissions by 11 percent from projected levels by 2020 from 2005’s output and has rolled out a blueprint.Green groups, such as WWF, think the government should be more ambitious by pledging absolute cuts in its carbon emissions, said Amy Ho, managing director of WWF Singapore.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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