Continental Automotive invested in a new research facility in Singapore to prepare for the Digital world.

The history of Continental Automotive Singapore dates back to the 1980s. The activities were part of Philips Car Systems, VDO, Siemens VDO respectively, until the latter was acquired by Continental AG and turned into Continental Automotive Singapore Pte Ltd in 2007.

Lo Kien Foh, Managing Director of Continental Automotive Singapore, explains: “The company started with the design and development of in-car products, such as radios and GPS systems. From solely focusing on the Infotainment & Connectivity business unit, the company grew into covering the entire Interior division of Continental Automotive in Singapore.” This includes everything that can be found inside a car; from display systems, technologies for radio and navigation, user interfaces to solutions for safety and comfort. On top of that, the company expanded by setting up the Transmission business unit from the Powertrain division two years ago which develops and manufactures highly sophisticated control solutions for all kinds of automatic transmissions.

Currently, around 80 per cent of the employees are Research & Development (R&D) engineers. They work on innovative products and solutions that are used on a global scale. Also, the intellectual property department for Asia is located in Singapore. Hence, innovation is a key focus area for the company, not only in Singapore but worldwide. “Innovation is the key to growth, survival and sustainability of our company,” emphasizes Lo Kien Foh.

An ecosystem for innovation to flourish.


In June 2018 Continental Automotive Singapore introduced an additional R&D building in Singapore, and is currently one of the largest private R&D facilities here. With the new building, the target is to grow to more than 2,000 people in five years. The reasons to locate the company’s third research building in Singapore are manifold. “Singapore offers the right ecosystem for innovation to flourish,” argues Lo Kien Foh. The combination of a pro-R&D government that offers many incentives to industries to invest in innovation, world-class universities, and the availability of engineers with the right skills contribute to the right environment for the development and implementation of innovative solutions. Furthermore, Singapore’s central location as well as the melting pot of nationalities adds to its attractiveness as an innovation hub.

Working together with Singaporean partners.

“At Continental, we do not believe in innovating in solitude, we always work together with partners such as other industry players, universities and government agencies,” clarifies Lo Kien Foh. In Singapore, the company developed a new curriculum in Telematics together with the Singapore Institute of Technology that allows students to learn more about the automotive sector, and in particular about intelligent transportation systems engineering. Furthermore, they are partnering in the Attach-and-Train programme of DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore which aims at retraining existing engineers in order for them to gain new skills that will prepare them for the future. Also, a real-time parking info app was created together with A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) and the Technical University of Munich, TUM CREATE.

Sharing innovative ideas.

Many initiatives and programmes exist to take employees along on the innovation journey. Lo Kien Foh adds: “Innovation comes from the people and therefore we provide platforms where our people are given the opportunity to share their innovative ideas.” ‘Contivation’ is one of our internal online platforms where ideas can be generated, consolidated and eventually implemented through voting. Also, several innovation and entrepreneurship challenges are organised each year, both locally and globally.
In addition, the interior solutions that are developed in the research facility can be applied and tested in the office. For example, a camera that can sense the health of the driver or passenger was also installed in the office to find out if it was too hot or cold and to check the state of health of employees. The office thus acts as a ‘living lab’ for technologies that are developed in-house.

Above all, innovation goes hand in hand with sustainability. The company does not innovate solely for the purpose of developing an innovative product, they also ensure it is an environmentally friendly product. “In the end, we want to be a good citizen in the world; not only in terms of the products we offer but also in the way we do our work,” says Lo Kien Foh.

Singapore is the right place to prepare for the digital world.

Continental Automotive is currently on a pathway to prepare for the digital world. Connectivity is going to play a key role as all things will be connected and automated. An accompanying topic is cyber security. In Singapore, the company is expected to grow in terms of people, competence and technology. “And we are here at the right place as Singapore will be the centre of excellence for technology,” states Lo Kien Foh. Also, in ASEAN the company foresees many growth opportunities as a result of unexplored markets. Overall, Asia has been indicated as the growth region for Continental, with sales growing from 22 to 30 percent of global sales in the coming years.

Continental Automotive Singapore Pte Ltd
80 Boon Keng Road | Singapore | 339780
T: +65 6580 0000