Economic Development Board

The Economic Development Board (EDB) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Government of Singapore that plans and executes strategies to sustain Singapore as a leading global hub for business and investment.

Economic Development Board
Agency overview
Formed1 August 1961; 62 years ago (1961-08-01)
JurisdictionGovernment of Singapore
Headquarters250 North Bridge Road, #28-00, Raffles City Tower, Singapore 179101
1°18′0″N 103°53′10″E / 1.30000°N 103.88611°E / 1.30000; 103.88611
Agency executives
  • Png Cheong Boon, Chairman
  • Jacqueline Poh, Managing Director
Parent agencyMinistry of Trade and Industry



1957–1961: Singapore Industrial Promotion Board


In 1957, the Singapore Industrial Promotion Board (SIPB) was formed through the passage of the Singapore Industrial Promotion Bill, to empower the Singapore Government in establishing, developing, and financing industrial undertakings.[1]

It had a capital of $1 million, and had received requests from local companies for loans totalling up to $500,000 at its formation.[2] However, SIPB was criticised by political opposition as being slow, not transparent, and ineffective in aiding local businesses.[3] The board was hamstrung by the limited capital that it had with the Minister of Commerce and Industry, J. M. Jumabhoy, blaming on the activities of extreme left-wing politicians on the lack of corporations from financial institutions.[4]

In 1959, the Singapore Government unveiled a new proposed Economic Development Board (EDB) with a capital of $100 million. The proposed board would be funded partly by a part of the $300 million foreign investments that the government had made before. It would also be a statutory board, and in addition to the current responsibilities of SIPB to disburse loans to companies, it would have a direct part in setting up factories or make use of its capital for local joint venture projects with the private sector.[5]

The Economic Development Ordinance was first read in Parliament on 26 April 1961, with its second reading on 24 May 1961. The ordinance commenced on 1 August 1961, thus taking over the functions of SIPB.[6] To facilitate the set up of EDB, international experts were requested from the United Nations and appointed to run the board alongside local officers.[7][8]

1961–present: Setting up of Jurong Industrial Estate and overseas missions


By 24 November 1961, the agency was fully operational.[9] In December 1961, the agency started offering free advice to nine electrical industries, releasing research materials to entrepreneurs and manufacturers.[10] It also spearheaded development works at the 9,000 acre Jurong industrial estate.[11] In 1962, EDB introduced a simplified process of buying industrial land. An applicant would have to submit a building plan in three months and build in two years before a lease of land no more than 99 years be issued.[12] EDB received an additional grant of S$40 million to develop Jurong Industrial Estate from the Singapore government.[13][14]

1962 was also the year which Singapore begun to actively woo overseas industrialists as such the Japanese,[15] with some indicating interests in joint development projects and sending study missions to Singapore.[16] A Japanese economic survey mission led by Shinichi Takasugi, President of Mitsubishi and Head of Japan's Economic Cooperation Committee and the Federation of Economic Organizations[17] found that Jurong Industrial Estate was "the best site for industrialisation for Singapore."[18] A S$23 million shipyard joint venture between Ishikawajima-Harima and EDB was planned for as well.[19][20]

EDB was also functioning as an industrial bank, offering loans to companies at "reasonable interest rates".[21][22]

Investing since 1991, EDBI is the dedicated corporate investment arm of the EDB, and a global investor in select high growth technology sectors covering Information & Communication Technology (ICT), Emerging Technology (ET), Healthcare (HC) and other strategic industries.[23]

Since 1 April 2019, the EDB manages DesignSingapore Council, the national agency for design. This is done to help companies expand beyond Singapore.[24][25] It also manages Singapore Global Network, which was set up in 2019 to grow Singapore's networks and connections around the world.[26]

The EDB maintains 20 international offices in 14 countries which includes Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United States.[27]


  1. ^ "Aiding Industry". The Straits Times. 14 January 1957.
  2. ^ "Cresson to run $1m. promotion board". The Straits Times. 10 April 1957.
  3. ^ "INDUSTRIAL BOARD IS UNDER ATTACK". The Singapore Free Press. 21 October 1957. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Mr. J ON THE BIG FINANCE FLOP: 'I BLAME LEFT'". The Straits Times. 8 December 1958. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  5. ^ "That board may he ready in six months". The Straits Times. 21 July 1959. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  6. ^ "Economic Development Board Act - Singapore Statutes Online".
  7. ^ "Three more U.N. experts due soon". The Straits Times. 16 September 1962. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  8. ^ "MEN NAMED TO PUSH STORE INDUSTRY BID". The Straits Times. 17 August 1961. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  9. ^ "Development Board in full operation". The Singapore Free Press. 24 November 1961.
  10. ^ "Government offers free advice on nine industries". The Singapore Free Press. 9 December 1961.
  11. ^ "JURONG READY FOR INDUSTRY BY END OF NEXT YEAR". The Singapore Free Press. 6 December 1961.
  12. ^ "Simplified way to buying industrial land". The Straits Times. 16 September 1962.
  13. ^ "$40 mil. for industry plan". The Straits Times. 1 September 1962.
  14. ^ "BOARD'S AIM: MORE AND MORE NEW INDUSTRIES FOR STATE". The Straits Times. 16 September 1962.
  15. ^ "Goh off to Tokyo to coax bigger capital flow to Singapore". The Straits Times. 2 March 1962.
  16. ^ "JAPANESE KEEN ON JOINT VENTURES HERE: MAYER". The Straits Times. 21 March 1962.
  18. ^ "MISSION PRAISES JURONG SITE". The Straits Times. 6 September 1962.
  19. ^ "$23 mil. shipyard for S'pore". The Straits Times. 7 September 1962.
  20. ^ "SHIP REPAIR YARD PLAN". The Straits Times. 10 May 1962.
  21. ^ "Three more U.N. experts due soon". The Straits Times. 16 September 1962.
  22. ^ "THIS BOARD HELPS INVESTORS IN MANY WAYS". The Straits Times. 3 June 1962.
  23. ^ "EDBI is the dedicated corporate investment arm of the EDB". Retrieved 5 March 2023.
  24. ^ "DesignSingapore Council to transfer to EDB under MTI to drive design innovation across industries and enable growth beyond Singapore". MCI. 1 November 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  25. ^ "DesignSingapore Council to become EDB agency to help local companies expand beyond Singapore". The Straits Times. 1 November 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  26. ^ "EDB unit wants to go beyond keeping Singaporeans in touch". The Straits Times. 2 January 2020.
  27. ^ "EDB offices". Retrieved 28 February 2023.