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Singapore Is Using Its Real Estate to Show the World Its Tech Chops

Singapore is one of the most tech-savvy countries in the world. In 2016, the World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report ranked the country among the top-seven in terms of generating economic impact from investments in information and communication technologies. The country is now building a future-ready real estate industry at a state level.

The Industry Transformation Map (ITM for short) for real estate was launched by the Singapore Government in February 2018. It is a strategic roadmap aimed at helping companies drive innovation and productivity in a rapidly-changing economic climate.

With its new directive, Singapore is aiming to keep pace by encouraging more public institutions and companies to adopt new technologies and integrate them into their real estate.

Real estate firms from the island nation have started gearing up. Developer Capitaland’s Corporate Venture Fund has a US$110 million war chest to invest in Series A to C companies while construction conglomerate Hop Hup revealed its investment arm, Aurum, has pumped US$1.5 million seed money into Singapore’s first co-living startup Hmlet and is looking to invest in more.

In the residential market, there is already significant change. Three property agencies, PropNex Realty, ERA Realty, and Huttons Asia all launched online marketplace for home transactions. On the commercial real estate front, more smart buildings are expected to come into the market. The ITM aims to push more innovative and sophisticated solutions such as predictive maintenance and automation through machine learning.

The annual budget showed concern that Singapore needs to reposition itself and build a more vibrant and innovative economy as Asia plays an increasingly larger role in global trade and investment flows. Competition from other cities was also highlighted.

According to Tay Huey Ying, the Head of Research and Consultancy at JLL Singapore, “A future-ready real estate industry is imperative not only to prepare and help the real estate industry ride this wave so that it can continue to grow, but also show investors that Singapore is serious about maintaining its competitive advantage and relevance in this digital age.”

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