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UOB to invest more than $500 mil into innovation centre within JTC's Punggol Digital District

Jovi Ho
Jovi Ho • 5 min read
UOB to invest more than $500 mil into innovation centre within JTC's Punggol Digital District
Artist impression of UOB's global tech and innovation centre in Punggol Digital District. Photo: UOB, JTC
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United Overseas Bank (UOB) U11 -

will invest more than $500 million to build its new global technology and innovation centre in JTC’s 50 ha Punggol Digital District (PDD), the bank announced on April 18. 

The centre will be home to UOB’s digital platform, UOB TMRW, and The FinLab, an accelerator focused on digitalisation and sustainability across the region.

Targeted to be completed by the end of 2026, UOB’s 300,000 sq ft centre will house around 3,000 staff.

Master planned and developed by JTC, PDD is touted as Asia’s premier smart and sustainable business district. Around 3.3 million sq ft of business park and mixed-use spaces will open progressively from 2024, and PDD expects to create 28,000 jobs near more than 160,000 residents in the northeast.

Joining UOB in PDD’s ecosystem are local systems integrator Delteq and digital media agency Target Media Culcreative (TMCC).

PDD will also be home to the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)’s new campus, with 11,000 students and 500 academic staff.

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With continued demand, JTC has also activated phase two of the development, introducing three new business park towers amounting 1.2 million sq ft of business park and commercial space.

MOUs signed

JTC and UOB have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly promote the adoption of greener business practices by local industrialists in 2H2023.

See also: Redefining Asean’s manufacturing landscape with deep learning

UOB also signed an MOU with SIT to set up a Fintech Innovation Lab. Housed in SIT’s upcoming Punggol campus, this joint lab will allow UOB’s employees and SIT’s academic staff and students to collaborate. 

The latest MOU adds to UOB’s existing support of SIT’s Work-Study Degree programmes, where SIT students from three degree programmes — computing, software engineering and information security — can access applied learning opportunities via work attachments at UOB, as well as work opportunities for its graduates. 

Sustainability

PDD will be Singapore’s first business park to offer businesses “plug and play” digital infrastructure through the Open Digital Platform (ODP) operated by JTC. 

As a secured platform connected to a network of sensors, ODP will collect building data and environmental data, which will be utilised to optimise operations. 

JTC says companies, students and the public are welcome to use the data to test out new concepts of living, working and delivering services. 

With the repository of real-time district data, the ODP is also able to create a digital twin that allows businesses and students to perform simulations and rapid prototyping in a risk-free and lifelike environment, reducing the cost of experimentation.

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As an environmentally-sustainable business park, PDD aims to achieve 30% to 40% higher energy efficiency than standard commercial buildings, zero water wastage with eco-ponds to collect rainwater for landscape irrigation and complete recycling of food and horticulture waste into fertiliser.

UOB, as the PDD’s largest commercial investor, will install smart lifts to minimise energy use, rooftop solar panels, air-conditioning systems with an environmentally-friendly refrigerant and more. 

The bank is also exploring alternative cooling solutions, such as chilled beams and a direct current distribution system, to further reduce energy consumption. 

PDD will be integrated with the surrounding residential areas, designed with green links to the waterfront where people can engage in lifestyle and recreational activities, according to JTC. “There will also be new vibrant public spaces with retail, dining and leisure options for the community to relax and unwind.”

Tan Boon Khai, CEO of JTC, says: “PDD represents the new generation of industrial development which JTC is undertaking, beyond brick-and-mortar real estate solutions, for industrialists and partners alike. In doing so, JTC proactively designs and curates vibrant ecosystems that not only foster innovation and growth, but also brings together multiple stakeholders within a smart and sustainable environment. With PDD set to open progressively from next year, we see much interest from companies to join us in this new estate as the launchpad for new growth technologies and capabilities in the region.”

Wee Ee Cheong, deputy chairman and CEO of UOB, says: “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. We look forward to working with the vibrant ecosystem of partners here to accelerate innovation, talent building and sustainability.” 

SIT president Prof Chua Kee Chaing says: “SIT’s co-location with industry in PDD will facilitate a strong academia-industry nexus, which is at the heart of our applied learning pedagogy. The PDD Living Lab programme will enable SIT students to collaborate closely with industry partners and work on cutting-edge technological solutions. Being part of the vibrant and innovative community will allow SIT students and faculty to benefit from symbiotic exchanges of ideas and collaborations, and be better equipped to contribute to the digital economy.” 

As at 10.09am, shares in UOB are trading 24 cents lower, or 0.80% down, at $29.81.

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