UOB Sets Up New Global Technology And Innovation Centre In JTC's Punggol Digital District
Artist’s Impression of UOB’s new global technology and innovation centre in JTC’s Punggol Digital  District
Artist’s Impression of UOB’s new global technology and innovation centre in JTC’s Punggol Digital District. (Photo: JTC)

Punggol Digital District (PDD) is shaping up as Asia’s premier smart and sustainable business district. Master planned and developed by JTC, the District’s ecosystem will be enhanced with UOB setting up its new global technology and innovation centre, housing around 3,000 digital technology talents. Building on this partnership, JTC and UOB further signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly promote the adoption of greener business practices by local industrialists. In addition, joining UOB in PDD’s ecosystem are local systems integrator Delteq and digital media agency Target Media Culcreative (TMCC). Given continuing demand in PDD, JTC has also activated phase two of the development, introducing three new business park towers amounting 1.2 million sq ft of business park and retail space.

UOB’s new global technology and innovation centre to be ready by 2026; partners JTC to drive sustainability

UOB will be investing more than S$ 500 million to build its new global technology and innovation centre in PDD. Around 3,000 talents engaging in technology, innovation and digital roles will be housed in this new centre to further the Bank’s technology and innovation agenda. Targeted to be ready by end 2026, this centre will be the cradle of ideation, development, and piloting of UOB’s latest solutions, before they are rolled out to the Bank’s global markets in 19 countries and territories. PDD will be home to UOB’s digital platform, UOB TMRW, and The FinLab – an Innovation Accelerator that connects businesses to catalyse growth and transformation in digitalisation and sustainability across the region.

Taking the partnership one step further, JTC and UOB signed an MOU today to explore a holistic approach to help local industrialists, within PDD and beyond, scale adoption of sustainable business practices. This collaboration furthers outreach and capability-building, supporting companies with a broadened suite of sustainability initiatives from both organisations. Leveraging existing JTC Sustainability Programme, and UOB’s sustainability assessment tools and financing solutions, companies will be able to determine their readiness and prioritise action plans to jumpstart their sustainability journeys.

“PDD Living Lab Programme” provides a framework for collaboration between partners to scale smart solutions

While the construction of PDD is underway, collaborations amongst enterprises, academia and other relevant stakeholders have already begun. The “PDD Living Lab Programme”, a partnership between JTC and the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), provides a framework for like-minded partners to connect and tap on SIT’s research and talent pool. The programme will accelerate the growth of PDD’s ecosystem to develop a pipeline of future-ready tech talents; provide opportunities for co-innovation and test-bedding; and drive entrepreneurship.

SIT President Prof Chua Kee Chaing said, “SIT’s co-location with industry in PDD will facilitate a strong academia-industry nexus, which is at the heart of our applied learning pedagogy. The PDD Living Lab programme will enable SIT students to collaborate closely with industry partners and work on cutting-edge technological solutions. Being part of the vibrant and innovative community will allow SIT students and faculty to benefit from symbiotic exchanges of ideas and collaborations, and be better equipped to contribute to the digital economy.”

To grow talent in the financial technology sector, UOB has also signed an MOU with SIT to set up a Fintech Innovation Lab within SIT’s upcoming Punggol campus for innovation and applied research. UOB’s employees and SIT’s academic staff and students will have the opportunity to work on real world problems and hone skills for the future economy. In the same spirit of building talent, TMCC is partnering SIT to facilitate students’ work attachments at TMCC, and organising competitions and outreach campaigns to foster the wider Punggol community’s interest in digitalisation and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programmes. The competitions will feature business case challenges to cultivate entrepreneurship amongst the students as they find creative ways to improve existing business models.

PDD provides a fertile ground for test-bedding and co-innovation to flourish. In the area of blockchain, SIT is collaborating with Wanxiang Blockchain and its partners to build and strengthen the local blockchain ecosystem and co-develop Web 3.0 technologies for SIT’s virtual campus. An ongoing project currently test-bedding in this digital realm is a decentralised identity system that leverages blockchain technology to allow faculty and students’ access to different campus sites seamlessly. Local robotics firm d’Construct Robotics is also strengthening its existing collaborations with SIT on applied research and teaching projects to co-develop next generation autonomous robots. This is an extension of their existing collaboration where autonomous robots were deployed in SIT campuses to create digital maps for solutions, such as digital twin applications and sustainability management.

Mr Tan Boon Khai, CEO of JTC, said, “PDD represents the new generation of industrial development which JTC is undertaking, beyond brick-and-mortar real estate solutions, for industrialists and partners alike. In doing so, JTC proactively designs and curates vibrant ecosystems that not only foster innovation and growth, but also brings together multiple stakeholders within a smart and sustainable environment. With PDD set to open progressively from next year, we see much interest from companies to join us in this new estate as the launchpad for new growth technologies and capabilities in the region.”