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S'pore manufacturing "should hold up well" despite lacklustre Q2

Singapore's manufacturing sector should hold up well this year despite the disappointing performance in the second quarter, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck.

SINGAPORE: Singapore's manufacturing sector should hold up well this year despite the disappointing performance in the second quarter, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a visit to chemical company Matex on Tuesday (July 15).

Mr Teo said: "I believe that Singapore undergoes ups and downs in somewhere with volume, and sometimes it's seasonal, and I believe we are still holding up quite well, we have very sound fiscal and economic policies and we're constantly helping the different sectors to grow.

“I believe through this season we have to look at whether the next quarter things will go up, but I'm actually fairly optimistic that this year we should hold up well, but it also depends on external demand and also external economic factors."

Mr Teo cited Matex as an example of a small and medium enterprise (SME) that understands the value of investing in innovation, and managed to move towards higher value-added products and services as a result.

Matex, a homegrown chemical company that produces dyes for the textile industry, spends some 10 per cent of its revenue on research and development (R&D) each year.

Denim-dyeing is one of its fortes, and it has tapped on SPRING Singapore's Capability Development Grant to work with German partners to develop new indigo-dyeing technologies to make the process more eco-friendly.

Matex is seeking to grow its name globally in specialty dyes and chemicals, but it recognises that there are challenges ahead.

Dro Tan, executive director of Matex, said: "In areas that we need a lot of talented people, we have to have enough working space, and also funding is very important especially when the company is growing.

“So MTI (Ministry of Trade and Industry) and also these government agencies like SPRING, EDB (Economic Development Board), IE (International Enterprise), they are very helpful to bring us overseas and this is the area that we appreciate a lot.”

Mr Teo said: "We hope to build world multi-nationals out of our SMEs, and this is one company that possibly has the potential, and I think it is a question of how we could help them and whether they know what they need for us to help them."

Mr Teo also called on more SMEs to use innovation to transform their businesses and stay competitive globally. 

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