Pushing Ahead on Sustainable Value Creation
For business and the world, 2021 turned into another challenge-filled year. The fight against the coronavirus pandemic remained complicated. Supply chains and work-life disruptions intensified. However, the year also brought very encouraging developments. Helped by mass vaccination campaigns, Singapore and several Asian economies are recovering and growing again, and quarantine-free air travel is slowly resuming.
I’m proud of how ST Telemedia and our portfolio companies surmounted 2021’s hurdles. We continued to deploy capital and reinforce our business position in the market. We steadfastly and strongly supported our employees, customers and businesses and drove growth by recalibrating strategies and displaying resilience.
Our portfolio companies stayed focus on sharpening their market positioning and delivering exceptional customer experience with enhanced connectivity, particularly in 5G, and differentiated services.
StarHub bolstered its position with market-first services and exclusive partnerships such as Singapore’s first 5G-capable mission critical communications solution, Southeast Asia’s first Nvidia GeForce Now cloud gaming service and Disney+ streaming entertainment service. It also announced majority acquisitions in MyRepublic Broadband and HKBN’s ICT business in Singapore and Malaysia (subject to closing conditions and approval). As part of its ongoing business evolution, StarHub unveiled a new five-year transformation plan, DARE+, in November.
U Mobile displayed grit and adaptability to overcome the lengthy Covid-19 restrictions. The company defended its position by providing its offerings and customer support on digital platforms and forming innovative partnerships to expand into new market segments like the launch of its fibre broadband service to residential customers. Throughout the year, U Mobile pressed on with its nationwide network rollout and continued preparation for Malaysia’s 5G launch.
Our data centre footprint through ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (STT GDC) kept growing impressively despite headwinds, especially in construction. It announced entry into three new markets – South Korea, Indonesia and Japan – and strengthened its presence in existing markets with additional facilities and facility openings of STT Loyang, its largest facility in Singapore, and STT Bangkok 1, the first carrier-neutral hyperscale data centre in Bangkok built to global standards and certifications including LEED green building. STT GDC now has over 130 facilities in more than 18 markets.
Infrastructure Technology (InfraTech)
Our InfraTech companies continued to innovate their product offerings towards cloud first. Maintaining our focus on building world-class managed cloud services and security platforms, we facilitated collaborations among our cloud IT companies to help them create greater market differentiation and achieve scale. I am pleased that the efforts paid off with notable new customer acquisitions and industry validations such as CloudCover’s Google Cloud Services Partner of the Year for Asia Pacific, and Cloud Comrade’s award as AWS Financial Services Competency Partner.
Taking collective action to promote sustainability
The symbiotic relationships between nature, economies and societies make sustainable and inclusive business a mandate, not a choice, for long-term value creation and success.
In October 2021, we strengthened our long-standing commitment to sustainability by launching the ST Telemedia Sustainability Framework and pledging STT (as a company) would be net carbon zero by 2022. The Framework builds on our community engagement programmes with enhanced environmental perspective. Our overarching goal is coordinated collective action across the Group to achieve greater positive impact on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues for a better, more sustainable world.
In March, our data centre unit STT GDC launched its ESG plan and boldly pledged to be net carbon-neutral by 2030. Its maiden ESG report published in November underscored the company’s commitment to its ESG goals.
StarHub’s dedication to sustainable practices and to being ahead of the sustainability curve has consistently earned the company international and national recognitions and awards such as the world's most sustainable wireless telecommunications service provider in 2022 Corporate Knights Global 100 and five-time winner of Singapore’s Securities Investors Association (SIAS) Most Transparent Company Award (Communications) 2021.
Supporting our transition, we participated in decarbonisation platforms such as Climate Impact X, a global exchange and marketplace for high quality carbon credits, and collaborated with technology leaders to develop green solutions such as STT GDC’s pilot with ABB for artificial intelligence energy optimisation.
Sustainability is integral to STT’s long-term value creation. It is a journey that defines who we are as a group and how we will shape our future. I look forward to documenting our progress on that journey in STT’s inaugural Sustainability Report in 2022.
Unwavering commitment to our people and community
First and foremost, recognition must go to the management and staff of STT and all our portfolio companies for their resilience, performance and ability to not only support the business operations and customers, but also each other. This level of engagement and support was clear throughout the last two years. We have come through in good shape and are poised to pursue new horizons.
In the new year, STT will adopt a hybrid work environment that recognise employee preferences and the new ways of working. We will continue to support employees with wellness programmes and resources.
We disbursed the remaining S$660,000 of the S$1.6 million ST Telemedia Covid-19 Response Fund created in 2020 to vulnerable individuals and families in the community. Taking an active role in the community through employee volunteerism was important. Our employees had the opportunity to volunteer for Temasek Foundation’s nationwide mask distribution exercise, Yong-en Care Centre’s food packing and distribution to needy households, and Food Bank’s food vending machine replenishment through our partnership with StarHub.
Prompted by our excellent collaboration with Temasek Polytechnic, we extended our support for the ST Telemedia Catalyst Award by another two years, making this a seven-year partnership. In 2021, we welcomed six STT Catalyst Award recipients to intern at STT and our portfolio companies. We are also happy to announce two new recipients of our university scholarships at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and Somerville College, Oxford University.
The ingredients to keep succeeding
The STT group is in a good position in 2022 and beyond. We have the ingredients needed to keep succeeding and generating sustainable long-term value.
We have wide opportunities as digital transformation in businesses and countries, quickened by Covid-19, will further accelerate. Digital will become the core and centre of economies and societies, supporting responsible business models, enriching social experiences, and solving complex problems.
We have the components in the digital value chain. Through our portfolio companies, STT is building a dynamic ecosystem of technology platforms comprising next-generation connectivity, data centres, cloud-first managed services, and modern enterprise software and cybersecurity solutions.
Our founding DNA will continue to provide a solid foundation as we navigate the ever-changing environment. Our business strategy, aligned with our mission, has positioned STT to capture growth while staying focused on delivering sustainable, long-term value and outcomes for all stakeholders.