SINGAPORE (Oct 29): In his Facebook post about British company Dyson’s decision to set up an electric car manufacturing facility in Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote that when he met inventor James Dyson last month, James told him that it was Singapore’s expertise in advanced manufacturing, global connectivity and talented workforce that helped him make up his mind. In fact, Singapore used to assemble cars, up to the 1980s, Lee said. “Now, we will manufacture cars again, except this time, greener, better and more high tech!”

Despite the focus on Singapore as a hub for technology and financial services, manufacturing — albeit the higher-value segments — is still a major contributor to the local economy. The industry still contributes about 20% of GDP annually and also accounted for 14% of total employment in 2016.

Dyson first invested in Singapore 11 years ago, with a small engineering team developing high-speed, digital, electric motors, which are used in its range of products, from vacuum cleaners to hair dryers. The company now employs 1,100 people and has so far made more than 50 million of the motors here. The company also has assembly facilities in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.

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