KEY OPPORTUNITY SECTORS
Singapore is the third-largest Asian investor in the US, with more than US$65.2 billion in investments across various states.
Some of the key sectors are energy and resource, consumer, technology and manufacturing, infrastructure and logistics, and professional services.
New York and California have traditionally been popular investment destinations, but there is also now increasing interest in other states, such as Florida and Texas.
However, Mr Gordon Perchthold, associate professor of strategic management at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University, cautions:
“Singaporean firms going into the Midwest or the South may not have as much success as going into the Northeast of the US. The Northeast is driven by the financial services industry and is much more international-oriented. So that aligns more with the environment that Singaporeans are used to.”
For Mapletree Investments, its confidence in the US real estate is for the long haul, and it is making sustainability a focal point.
“We think tenants are going to be increasingly up the ESG (environmental, social, governance) lens,” said Mr Smith.
“We own a lot of warehouses now in the US … Can we put solar panels on the roofs? So there’s all these types of features that we are incorporating in our design for new buildings and our management and improvement of our existing properties.”
The Biden administration’s US$1 trillion infrastructure Bill could pave the way for other Singapore firms with expertise in renewable energy and green building solutions.
This know-how comes from Singapore’s history of having to operate in a resource-scarce environment.
“The US impression of Singapore, first, is clean. Singapore is also known for reliability. And hence, the ability for us to connect with partners, to at least open doors and have the first conversation has been easy. Because they do see that Singapore companies are trustworthy. They also do see us as being innovative,” said Mr Hoe.
Singapore companies looking to enter the US need to ensure their value proposition is differentiated enough though, he added.
“And therefore, they will not be dismissed as another ‘me too’ product. In addition to being a good product, US consumers also place great emphasis on the brand story. So companies must devote resources to brand storytelling and ensure they convey that consistently through their packaging design and customer experience.”