As of September 2019, UL opened its new international headquarters, which includes the Cybersecurity Center of Excellence and adds major capabilities to UL’s Consumer Technology Laboratory in Kian Teck, a manufacturing district in Singapore.
Moving UL’s international headquarters from Switzerland to Singapore offers the company many benefits, explained UL’s President, International, Sajeev Jesudas. “This move allows us to take advantage of Singapore’s position as the most competitive nation in the world, in addition to being known in Asia for sustainability,” he said.
Singapore ranks first in terms of infrastructure, health, labor market functioning and financial system development, according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2019, and it is a top-ranked city in the Asia Sustainable Cities Index 2018.
“We have been expanding our presence in Asia and will continue to invest and expand in the region,” he said. “The Asia Pacific region continues to grow at a rapid pace and accounts for a significant share of our business portfolio: We continue to see a lot of opportunities and potential to grow. From both a financial and a strategic perspective, the move makes a lot of sense for UL.”
ASEAN is a significant growth region for UL, with the majority of the service portfolio in Singapore focused on electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing for electronics, in addition to business in the renewable energy sector, with a particular focus on solar energy and photovoltaic (PV) cells.
A meaningful share of the international headquarters is concentrated on cybersecurity, an increasingly important technological sector in Asia and across the world. UL’s Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence provides the region with the only EMVCo accredited facility in the Asia Pacific region, offering on-site testing and evaluation services for secure payments, smart cards, software applications, network-related devices and systems, and cybersecurity protocols for governments and mobile, retail transit and automotive customers.
Future expansion plans include strengthening brand protection and anti-counterfeiting abilities in addition to UL Ventures, UL’s venture investment and acceleration arm that seeks out investment opportunities related to smart cities.
“Singapore is well on its way to becoming a smart city, meaning a city that’s sustainable and includes a world-class, technology-enabled health care system,” Jesudas said. “It also offers a technologically enabled transportation system: Singapore’s transit is controlled in real-time. A lot of factors make Singapore a smart city, and a model for other cities.”
While Singapore can already be considered a smart city and serves as an ideal example for the ASEAN Smart Cities Network initiative, UL is equipped to help Singapore with some key developments. UL’s Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence was recently accredited for the Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation, which will allow the center to provide cybersecurity evaluations of products in Singapore — a critical point of concern for a smart city that lives and breathes data.
Singapore’s other new initiatives include artificial intelligence-enabled sections of buildings allowing for the automated control of operations, autonomous cars and Singapore’s push to cover 50% of the city-state with 5G coverage by 2022. In addition, Singapore recently adopted UL’s Standard for e-scooters, UL 2272, the Standard for Electrical Systems for Personal E-Mobility Devices (PMD.)
According to the Land Transport (Enforcement Measures) Bill, all motorized PMDs used on public paths must be certified to UL 2272 starting July 1, 2020, as a key measure to improve public safety. Local retailers are also prohibited from selling non-compliant PMDs as of July 1, 2019; another important instance of UL furthering its mission around the globe and working for a safer, more secure and sustainable world.