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UOB to invest over $500 mil to build new global technology and innovation centre in Punggol

Felicia Tan
Felicia Tan • 3 min read
UOB to invest over $500 mil to build new global technology and innovation centre in Punggol
Artist's impression of UOB's facilities at the upcoming Punggol Digital District / Image: JTC
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Even as United Overseas Bank (UOB) U11 -

eyes new growth overseas, as shown by its acquisition of Citibank’s retail business in four Asean markets, the bank is constantly investing in the home market Singapore to stay ahead.

UOB, on April 18, announced that it will invest over $500 million to build its new global technology and innovation centre in JTC’s Punggol Digital District, becoming the first local bank to do so. With the multimillion price tag, UOB is also the largest commercial investor in the district to date.

The announcement was made at an event graced by Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Trade and Industry, and UOB’s deputy chairman and CEO Wee Ee Cheong.

“UOB is pleased to be part of this smart nation initiative as the first Singapore bank and the largest commercial investor in the PDD. Our investment here reinforces our commitment to grow our Singapore core, and to support our customers in Singapore and across Asean on their digital journey,” says Wee.

“We look forward to working with the vibrant ecosystem of partners here to accelerate innovation, talent building and sustainability,” he adds.

Targeted to be completed by 2026, the 300,000 sq ft centre will house around 3,000 employees engaging in technology, innovation and digital roles to further UOB’s digital ambitions.

See also: OCBC expands programme to equip another 10,000 elderly with digital banking skills and scam prevention awareness

“UOB is the only Singapore bank that has standardised its regional technology platform across Asean and its digital initiatives throughout the region have been raising the bar for digital banking, cross-border payments and financial advisory services,” says the bank in its statement.

“This new global design and developmental hub will further enhance the bank’s digital capabilities to drive and scale innovation to advance UOB to be the most preferred bank for both consumers and businesses in Asean,” it adds.

In line with UOB’s strategy to offer its customers a mix of services through its physical branches and digital banking services, the centre will see new ideas, as well as the development and piloting of UOB’s latest solutions before they get rolled out to the bank’s global markets in 19 countries and territories.

See also: OCBC launches accelerated banking career programme for 500 polytechnic students over next three years

The centre will also be home to UOB’s all-in-one digital platform, UOB TMRW and The FinLab, the bank’s innovation accelerator that seeks to foster closer ties with tech partners, start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

In addition, UOB is looking to nurture the next generation of tech talent in the district. The bank signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) to establish a Fintech Innovation Lab.

The joint lab, which will be in SIT’s upcoming Punggol campus, will allow both UOB’s employees and SIT’s academic staff and students to undertake fintech innovation, training and development. The bank’s employees and SIT’s staff and students will also be able to take part in applied research and innovation to deliver solutions that address real business challenges. UOB’s existing employees can also take part in the workshops and seminars conducted by SIT to upskill themselves with relevant digital and fintech skills.

At the same time, UOB announced that it had signed an MOU with JTC to help local businesses decarbonise. Under the MOU, UOB and JTC will conduct joint workshops for local industrialists within the district and beyond. The workshops will seek to address the barriers businesses face in incorporating sustainable practices in their line of work.

According to UOB, the workshops will leverage both the bank’s and JTC’s strengths to assess the sustainability readiness of companies. The joint outreach will begin in the latter half of 2023

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