Rolls-Royce: The Singapore Take-Off

Rolls-Royce has been doing business in Singapore for over 50 years. From a handful of employees in the late 1980s, Rolls-Royce — along with its joint venture partners — today employs over 1,500 people in Singapore, accounting for over 15 per cent of the total aerospace industry workforce in the city-state. 

By Jonathan Asherson, Rolls-Royce 

 
Over the last 20 years, Asia has transformed into the beating heart of the global economic landscape. GDP growth in the region averaged at 7.0 per cent annually, while Singapore’s GDP growth averaged 6.5 per cent. Singapore, located at the economic and cultural crossroads of the region, is well positioned to be the gateway connecting Asia to the rest of the world. 
 
In 2011 alone, the Group invested over £467 million on new and improved facilities. Our business diversity and strong commitment to research and development (R&D) have given us a competitive edge and contributed to our exceptional growth globally. 
 
As a global company, engineering the world’s most advanced power systems in civil and defence aerospace, marine and energy markets, we continue to build on our integrated network of manufacturing and service facilities spanning over 50 countries. In 2011 alone, the Group invested over £467 million on new and improved facilities. Our business diversity and strong commitment to research and development (R&D) has given us a competitive edge and contributed to our exceptional growth globally. 
 
One of our most important projects in the past five years has been the completion of our newest manufacturing, research and training facility, the Rolls-Royce Seletar Campus in Singapore. At an investment of over S$700 million and built on a 154,000-square-metre site, Two decades ago Rolls-Royce had just emerged from nationalisation, and predominantly operated in Western Europe and America, with a smattering of former colonial flag-carriers as customers, including Singapore. the Rolls-Royce Seletar Campus, which was officially opened on February 13, 2012 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, brings us closer to our growing customer base in Asia, which now represents over 50 per cent of our record order book of £62.2 billion; that is larger than our entire order book in 2006. 
 
In an increasingly complex and challenging global marketplace, we are compelled to constantly enhance operational efficiencies, skills, product value and global capacity. Ours is a business of innovation and high product integrity, one driven by a highly skilled workforce. As a result, key global hot spots that have a steady supply of skilled labour and government support are a good fit for our business model. 
 
 

The Singapore Connection 

 

Rolls-Royce has been doing business in Singapore for over 50 years. From a handful of employees in the late 1980s, Rolls-Royce — along with its joint venture partners — today employs over 1,500 people in Singapore, accounting for over 15 per cent of the total aerospace industry workforce in the city-state. In 1999, we established our first marine office and, in 2009, relocated our global headquarters for the marine business to Singapore, in recognition of the increasing importance of the Asia-Pacific markets and Singapore’s strategic location as a regional hub. 
 
Today we manage about a third of our revenue from Singapore. Not surprising, since Asia accounts for over 80 per cent of global commercial shipbuilding, and is also leading the world’s civil aviation growth — Asia is expected to account for over 30 per cent of global air traffic by 20301. Of this, we project that the industry’s growth over the next seven or eight years would amount to demand for about 500 Trent aero engines annually. 
 
With such demand, we saw the strategic need for an Asian hub to complement our existing manufacturing facilities in the UK, as well as bring us closer to our growing customer base in the region. Singapore, with its strong R&D focus, business-friendly environment, robust intellectual property regime, and ready pool of highly skilled talent provided us with an excellent platform from which to expand our footprint. These factors also allowed Singapore to firmly establish itself as an important aerospace and aviation hub in
the region. 
 
 

A Facility of many ‘Firsts’

 

The newly opened Rolls-Royce Seletar Campus is the first of its kind to bring advanced aerospace high- value manufacturing technology to Singapore. In doing so, it significantly increases our global manufacturing capacity, and allows us to better satisfy our customers. 
 
The campus will be the Group’s first facility outside the UK to assemble and test Trent aero engines, as well as manufacture hollow titanium wide-chord fan blades, a unique capability and technology that has played a key role in the success of the Trent aero engine family. 
 
The state-of-the-art campus will also house an Advanced Technology Centre, which will lead cutting-edge research in materials support technology, computational engineering, electrical power and control systems, and manufacturing technologies. In addition, the facility will have a regional training centre, where customers and employees in the region will have access to world-class training facilities and internationally accredited  qualifications, the first such facility in Asia.
 
 

The Next Chapter in Asia

 

Orders topped US$31 billion at the Singapore Air Show in February this year, a three-fold increase over the value announced two years ago. The number included a record US$22.4 billion order for aircraft placed by Indonesia-based Lion Air, further highlighting the pace of expansion of the region’s carriers. 
 
As we enter the next chapter of our journey in Asia, we are working tirelessly to ensure we are prepared to take on the new challenges facing the industry and make an impact on growing the civil aerospace industry in Singapore and the region. Asia is now the largest market for passenger aircraft and freighters worldwide, and represents a tremendous opportunity in the years ahead. 
 
The Group’s activity in Singapore is expected to support around 25,000 jobs in the wider economy and contribute over S$1.66 billion, which represents about 0.5 per cent of Singapore’s projected GDP by 2015, up from S$789 million in 2008. 
 
We are strongly committed to adding value to the local community, talent base and economy, and are gradually establishing our role as a key enabler of Singapore’s ambitions to power ahead as a major player and a regional hub for the global aerospace industry in the years to come. We have doubled in size over the past decade and we will double again in the next decade; Singapore will play a key role in our future successes.
 
 
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