The triple shock of the pandemic, disruptive tech and climate change is pushing Singapore to rewrite one of the world’s most successful economic models.
Over the past two years, at least eight state-linked companies have announced major mergers, acquisitions, asset disposals or privatizations in the island’s biggest industrial overhaul in two decades. Oil-rig builder Keppel Corp. has been pivoting toward clean energy, while Sembcorp Industries Ltd. shed its rig business altogether. Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. is entering the world of digital banking.
“I compare this to the restructuring phase of Singapore conglomerates in the early 2000s” in the aftermath of the SARS virus and the dot-com crash, said Kenneth Tang, a portfolio manager at Nikko Asset Management Co. “Those were very dark times for Singapore but they became a catalyst for change.”