Singapore can’t compete globally with insular thinking

The Independent ran a piece yesterday titled “Piyush Gupta of DBS Bank moves 1500 local jobs to Hyderabad”. What followed was a lack of critical thinking, insinuations and general mud-slinging that now seems to characterize The Independent’s pieces.

Let’s break a few facts down to our attention-seeking wannabes. DBS is not moving 1500 jobs to India. There is simply no talk of jobs being lost in Singapore. DBS is opening a center in India which can create up to 1500 new jobs in the next two years.

This center will develop technology products. According to DBS’ website, it’s mostly hiring software developers. I spoke to my friend who has been in IT for many years, and he says DBS would probably have been outsourcing such work to a tech firm, which would have their developers… in India. So what’s happening here is merely that DBS is bringing this work inhouse, probably to cope with ever-faster developments in fintech.

See, what’s probably lost to our friends is that DBS is a regional bank. It is already the largest Singaporean bank in India, with plans of reaching millions in India through unique products designed for the Indian market. Many staff at this Indian center will be expanding DBS’ business outside of Singapore, so that the headquarters in Singapore can keep supporting high-level local jobs.

There is also the suggestion that Gupta has done this to help his fellow Indians or whatever. A CEO, whether of Indian origin or not, simply cannot decide by himself to “move” local jobs. Large corporations decide on strategy through groups of people, like a board of directors. Presumably, one of the many criteria they would consider is how to continue being successful across Asia.

If DBS is to be a competitive MNC, they can’t do everything in Singapore. If Mitsubishi or HP had thought like this, they wouldn’t have become global MNCs. Or created jobs in Singapore when it was a developing country.

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