Japanese company offers technology and attentiveness as a reliable partner for Singapore’s growing urban transport and water infrastructure
Meidensha has long contributed to building the infrastructural foundations that Singapore’s remarkable expansion rests upon.
Since its independence in 1965, Singapore has prided itself on being a country based on technology and trade, and has plowed forward with establishing infrastructure that supports economic activities and its citizens’ lives. Working behind the scenes, Japanese company Meidensha Corporation has been instrumental in providing the essential technology for the electricity and urban transport grids and the reuse of water resources.
Meidensha first forayed into Singapore in the 1960s during Japan’s long period of advanced economic growth, a time when many Japanese companies expanded their activities overseas in the search for business opportunities. Initially engaging in electrical work, Meidensha expanded its business as it steadily gained trust and began to supply transformer equipment. Within a short period, it set down roots in the country; founding a subsidiary in 1975, and just four years later, started making transformers there for the expanding electric power utility.
Then in 1987, Meidensha started working on the power distribution system for the north-south and east- west railway lines of Singapore’s first Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) subway. These lines became the blueprint for establishing Singapore’s extensive rail network that exists today.
Director of Meidensha, Nobuaki Tamaki is in charge of the management of the entire overseas business. In Singapore, he was involved in establishing the transformer business and establishing MRT’s electric power supply system.
Important figures from the Singapore government attended the 40th anniversary of local subsidiary Meiden Singapore Pte. Ltd.’s founding, symbolic of the long-standing cooperative relationship between the country and company.
The Singapore government is currently focusing on the reuse of water. As a small country, Singapore has limited water storage capabilities, and the securing of water resources is a major challenge. Up until now, Singapore has relied heavily on importing water from Malaysia, but the authorities have set a target to raise its ratio of domestically recycled water in the water supply to 50% by 2030.
Having built a track record in establishing electric power infrastructure, Meidensha is now demonstrating its capabilities in water recycling. So far, two demonstration plants that filtrate and reuse industrial wastewater using ceramic flatsheet membranes have been put into operation.
The Singaporean government has been constantly developing infrastructure under highly visionary plans. “The level of technology required is also high, and delivering it is not easy,” says Nobuaki Tamaki, director & senior managing executive officer of Meidensha. At the same time, there is the continual pressure of cost reduction. However, Tamaki believes that the strengths of Japanese companies are their willingness to respond flexibly to requests to customize, the careful attentiveness in their responses when troubles arise, and their technology to integrate systems. Meidensha is one of such companies, responding to the strict, dualistic demands of technology and cost through intensive communication and the exhaustive utilization of technological capability.
Through these infrastructural projects, Singapore has become one of the main pillars of business for Meidensha in the important Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) market. Singapore is valuable to Meidensha, not only as one of its production bases, but also for the experience and products developed there that can be used in other countries. Conversely, Meidensha can offer Singapore its expertise gained in other countries.
On the significance of creating infrastructure, Tamaki says, “Being involved in the construction of cities by contributing to the provision of electricity and a rail network brings me tremendous joy.” Regarding Singapore’s perspective, he says, “I think we are thought of as partners who have created something together.”
In the Japanese style of business, all ears are on what the other parties have to say, and solutions are conceived based on close-knit cooperation. This brings happy outcomes for both parties.
It’s been about 40 years since Meidensha started manufacturing in Singapore. With its roots having sunk deeply, and the company provides employment at its factories and construction sites (train station construction site).
Meidensha has provided Singapore, which has depended on imported water from its neighbors, with some of the technology needed to boost its capability to reuse water.