Singapore ICT firms anticipate positive growth in 2009

SINGAPORE – Despite the gloomy business outlook, Singapore’s infocomm technology companies are positive about their business potential. In a survey by the Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF), 60 per cent of companies are forecasting positive profit growth for their companies this year.

The survey also showed that half of the iLEs will continue with their overseas expansion plans, in spite of current economic conditions.

The SiTF survey on the economic and jobs outlook for the Singapore ICT industry is based on a poll of a mix of multinational companies (MNCs) and infocomm Local Enterprises (iLEs). A total of 86 respondents were polled for the survey, of which 33 were from MNCs and 49 were from iLEs. The poll was held in December 2008 on their sentiments and plans in consideration of the current economic climate, said SiTF.

The survey found that organizations will continue to hire this year, with half of iLEs and one-third of MNCs indicating their intentions to do so, especially in the areas of sales and marketing, IT and engineering.

SiTF said that companies that had indicated that they will be reducing manpower did not differentiate between local and foreign talents.

The companies polled also indicated that business costs are a significant concern for them. According to the survey, organisations are reviewing their budgets and travel is the first area that they will look to reduce costs. MNCs are also least willing to reduce spend on training, an indication that the downturn is an opportunity for workers to upskill.

Rental, salary and transportation are the top business cost concerns for both iLEs and MNCs. According to the survey findings, companies are keen to get government support on reducing costs, such as through income tax and GST, and getting funding through higher grants and subsidies.

“The government should put greater focus on market creation during this tough period and continue to promote Singapore as an ICT hub, data centre and regional HQ,” said Tan Yen Yen, chairman of SiTF said.

“It is important that the total value of setting up operations in Singapore vis-a-vis cost of operations remains attractive for foreign companies. SiTF would also like to appeal to the government to accelerate plans in implementing projects and explore new areas of investment, such as green IT.”

(From MIS Asia)