Google officially opened the doors to its new office in Singapore yesterday (10 November 2016), located at Mapletree Business City II in Pasir Panjang.
The premise occupies two entire office blocks to house its "fast growing" team of engineers, The Straits Times reported.
The tech giant hopes to attract more Singapore engineers working overseas, especially in Silicon Valley tech firms, to return home. It now has 1,000 employees, including an undisclosed number of engineers, in its new Singapore engineering hub.
"We are starting to see a lot of Singaporeans coming back," said Caesar Sengupta, Vice President, Singapore, The Next Billion Users, in an interview with The Straits Times. He also added that the nation is a good place for "long-term bets" due to its business-friendly policies.
"The tech industry here is very vibrant now with a lot of startups, and it is a very good place to source for talent," he said. Basing an engineering pool here is also strategic for the company as it wants to be close to internet users in Southeast Asia.
S. Israwan, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), who was speaking at Google's official office launch, said that it is important for Singapore to establish leadership positions in digital segments. For example, in the areas of software, devices and infrastructure.
"One important reason for our focus on the digital economy and the partnership with leading companies like Google, is the new opportunities it will create for local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Singaporeans," Israwan added. In particular, SMEs can enter online and global markets without requiring a huge investment.
There will also be new jobs for Singaporeans.
Based on a survey conducted in June by the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA), it is estimated that 53,000 new jobs in areas such as data analytics, software engineering, cybersecurity and digital marketing will be created by 2018.
Google to sponsor coding lessons for 3,000 children in needy homes
Google is also chipping in to train the next generation of technology innovators in Singapore.
In 2017, it will roll out a Code in the Community programme, with the goal of training some 3,000 children from needy homes in the next three years. The programme hopes to heavily subsidise the cost of coding lessons to bridge the digital divide.
The broader aim is to get young Singaporeans excited about technology and engineering, said Sengupta.
The value of Google's sponsorship was not disclosed, but going by the existing rates for coding lessons, the cost of training 3,000 children is estimated to be at least S$1 million.
Google will work with self-help groups such as the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), Mendaki, Sinda and the Eurasian Association to identify needy homes.
Code in the Community will target children, aged eight to 15, from such households.
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