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Speech by RADM (NS) Lui Tuck Yew at the official opening of the Citi Operations & Technology Building



Mr. Andrew Butcher, Regional Head, Operations and Technology, Citi Asia Pacific

Mr. Jonathan Larsen, Country Head and Citi Country Officer, Singapore and CEO of Citibank Singapore Limited

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

Good morning.It gives me great pleasure to join you today at the opening of Citi's Operations & Technology Building, which marks the completion of the first phase of Citi's move to the Changi Business Park. This move will allow Citi to consolidate its operations and technology functions under one roof, resulting in greater synergy and propelling long-term business growth. It is heartening to note that in the midst of the current economic situation, global companies like Citi remain committed to Singapore.

2.     With more than half of Citi's headcount here employed in high-value middle and back-office processes, Singapore is one of Citi's largest offshoring centres in the world. Singapore is also Citi's South East Asia Pacific headquarters for all its businesses, hosting state-of-the-art processing and data centres. Citi was one of the first financial institutions to pioneer business process outsourcing by consolidating its processing and technology needs from various countries and migrating them to a processing hub. One of its first processing hubs - the Regional Service Centre - was set up in Singapore in 1987.

3.     Over the years, Citi has brought into Singapore a multitude of business processing and technology expertise and functions, making Singapore one of its key Centres of Excellence for Operations and Technology.This building - Citi's Centre of Excellence - epitomises its business process outsourcing expertise and its use of leading-edge technology to deliver innovative financial solutions.

4.     In addition, Citi has incorporated leading-edge green technology into this building, and was awarded the Platinum Greenmark Certification by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA). This facility will fit in seamlessly with the park environment that we have tried to create here at the Changi Business Park.Moving forward, there are further mixed-use developments in the pipeline, including retail outlets and hotels, which will support and leverage the work population from the various companies, including financial backend facilities, located here.These will cater to the recreational needs of the working population here and create greater vibrancy in the local community.

5.     Citi's strong business presence in Singapore is a reflection of our continued efforts to create value for global companies to establish regional, and even global, operations here.The Changi Business Park is but one element of Singapore's efforts to create a pro-business environment. With an ecosystem of local and international industry partners, we aim to provide the necessary infrastructure and skilled manpower to attract, support and sustain businesses setting up here.

6.     Allow me to highlight an example. Through the multiple submarine cable systems landed in Singapore, we provide a high level of connectivity to support potentially up to 38 terabits per second of high-speed international capacity globally, and direct international internet capacity of over 100 gigabits per second.This is complemented by a national broadband infrastructure that serves the communications and ICT needs of businesses and consumers. When ready, the Next Generation National Broadband Network will deliver high-speed connections up to one gigabit per second and beyond.

7.     This puts us in good stead as a trusted hub for strategic and mission-critical IT-enabled activities such as data centres and IT command centres. A recent Ernst & Young-Economist Intelligence Unit survey[1] of over 300 C-suite executives worldwide revealed that almost a third of the respondents were considering an increase in use of shared services for IT software network management. These are immense opportunities for us. For instance, Daimler consolidated the IT infrastructure, resources and management operations from 12 regional countries into its Regional Shared IT Managed Services Centre in Singapore. The Centre will operate, host and support organisation-wide common IT functions and services. Their current and future infocomm requirements from across the region would also be developed and rolled out of Singapore. Daimler cited Singapore as a suitable place for a central IT hub due to our "perfect infrastructure offerings, stable environment and fair workforce costs".

8.     I also wish to take this opportunity to reiterate the important role that the infocomm sector plays in the wider economy.The infocomm sector contributes significantly to the creation of jobs in other key sectors of the economy, such as the financial services sector.Last year, approximately five per cent of all infocomm professionals were employed in the financial services sector.This translates to roughly 7,400 infocomm jobs.

9.     Looking ahead, there will continue to be many new employment opportunities for infocomm professionals in diverse areas such as healthcare, education and, of course, financial services.Through various manpower initiatives, we will continue to support infocomm professionals seeking to acquire domain expertise, as well as professionals in other industry sectors seeking to acquire infocomm skills.

10.     On this note, I would like to congratulate the management and staff of Citi on the official opening of this new building. I wish you every success in the years ahead.

[1] Opportunities in adversity: responding to the global crisis (E&Y-EIU, January 2009)

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