Cover People take photos of the new Apple flagship store against the city skyline at Marina Bay Sands waterfront. (Photo: Getty Images)

After 40 years here, take a look back at everything Apple has managed to achieve in Singapore

Did you know that Apple has officially been in Singapore for the last four decades? Throughout the last 40 years, Apple has worked hard to create jobs, boost economic growth, education outreach and encourage environmental sustainability. 

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Apple's introduction into Singapore began in 1981 when Apple opened its first office on our shores with only 72 employees. Since then, Apple has grown exponentially to become Apple's base for their operations in the Asia Pacific as well as a globally recognised centre of innovation and expertise.

In fact, it is now home to over 3,500 Apple team members of 50 different nationalities. Apple also supports over 55,000 jobs in Singapore. 

“We’re thrilled to be celebrating this important milestone with our teams in Singapore, and the customers and communities they serve with creativity and passion,” says Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail + People. “Together, we’ve created an enduring partnership rooted in our shared values that will empower us to build a brighter tomorrow.”

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In Singapore, Apple has also managed to maintain a flourishing iOS app economy by encouraging the development of apps which has then created more jobs for people. For example, Mighty Bear Games, a local game developer, started as a team of four back in 2016.

Since then, they have produced hit games such as Butter Royale, World of Legends and Mighty Pets & Puzzles and grown their team to 53 staff members.

“People have started realising that Singapore is very hot and there’s a lot happening here for app development,” says Simon Davis, co-founder and chief executive officer of Mighty Bear. “I think that’s because the Singapore government’s approach has been one of openness—they’ve always welcomed talent and worked to grow the tech ecosystem here. And I think that’s something that Apple has always tapped into.”

Apple has also worked hard to partner with educational institutes throughout Singapore to ensure that the next generation has opportunities to innovate and grow in various fields but particularly in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) sectors.
Currently, Singapore has five Apple Distinguished Schools around the island. These include Madrasah Alsagoff Al-Arabiah, Singapore’s oldest Islamic education institution for girls.

At these five schools, all educators are certified Apple teachers who are trained in foundational skills for the iPad and Mac. Students at these schools also learn basic Swift coding as part of their core curriculum as well as access their school work through books on an iPad. 

“Over a decade ago, we saw the potential of technology for learning and took a big leap to bring iPad into the classroom, so we are very happy to be counted as an Apple Distinguished School,” says Syed Mustafa Alsagoff, principal of Madrasah Alsagoff Al-Arabiah. “Apple shares the same vision of nurturing innovation and creativity, which has inspired us to continue challenging the traditional ways of learning in a classroom as we educate the next wave of women leaders.”

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Around the same that Apple launched its Swift Accelerator program in Singapore to introduce students to coding, the local government announced that from 2019, all upper primary students would be required to learn at least 10 hours of coding. 

The Swift Accelerator program became crucial in the education of students and so far, they have expanded it into schools such as the Singapore University of Technology and Design and Pathlight School for children who have autism.

One of the things that Singapore consistently pushes is creating a sustainable future for the resource-scarce city. Apple immediately picked up the baton to become the first company in Singapore to be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. 

In fact, in 2015, Apple teamed up with the Singapore government and local energy company, Sunseap, to build solar energy systems that would power Apple’s four sites and three retail stores on 100 per cent renewable energy. They then placed solar panels on over 800 rooftops to generate 32 megawatts of solar energy.

Most recently, Apple has partnered with Singapore to launch Lumihealth, a personalised program to encourage people to live healthier using the Apple Watch and iPhone.

Lumihealth is a collaboration with Singapore’s Health Promotion Board and it allows users to adopt a healthier lifestyle through personalised reminders, programmes, coaching and incentives.

Today, Apple continues to find ways to integrate itself into Singapore's vision and to support a future that is educated and sustainable to ensure that they continue to partner with Singapore for the next 40 years and more. 

The country certainly looks forward to seeing what Apple has in store for us in the coming years. 

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