Rigel Technology



Established in 1991, Rigel Technology is a Singapore-based bathroom supplies manufacturer focused on environmentally friendly products. The company was founded by Christopher Ng Eng Seng, who is currently the company’s managing director.1

Background and establishment
After graduating with a computer science degree from the University of Alberta in Canada in 1985, Ng acquired work experience in American multinational corporation Cipher Data Products, which produces tape drives for backing up computer data.2 Noting the Singapore government’s campaigns for cleanliness and hygiene carried out in the 1980s and the early 1990s, Ng left his job with the American corporation and founded Rigel Technology, conceiving a sensor-based auto-flush toilet that fell in line with the campaigns.3 The auto-flush used infrared motion-detection technology and was incorporated into prototypes for different types of toilets. Thereafter, Rigel Technology started incorporating motion-detection technology in other bathroom products such as faucets and soap dispensers, and has continued to expand its range of bathroom products.4

Overseas expansion
Rigel entered the China market in 2004 and 2005, acquiring two manufacturing plants in the cities of Luzhou and Ningbo in China.5 The company’s third showroom in Asia, located in Hangzhou city, China, was projected to be opened in May 2011.6

Rigel Technology plans to expand its existing markets and focus on new markets in the Middle East and Latin America.7 Currently, they have ventured into overseas markets such as Chile, the Middle East, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Maldives and India.8 On 24 March 2014, the company held the ground-breaking ceremony for its S$35-million global headquarters located at Changi Business Park. Slated to open in the third quarter of 2015, the new 16,000-square-metre facility will focus on product research and development.9

Community outreach
Rigel Technology established the Rigel Technology Bursary Grant at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) which, over a five-year period, aids selected SUTD students with financial needs.10 In 2009, Rigel Technology began collaborating with the World Toilet Organisation to provide portable, environmentally friendly toilets for developing countries.11

Research and development
Since its inception, the company has developed more than 200 new products that are currently used in over 30 countries. Rigel Technology was reported to allocate S$1 million annually, or five percent of its annual turnover, to research and development.12

Notable products
Rigel Technology develops restroom products that help save water and reduce power consumption.13 The company’s main selling point is their use of infrared motion-detection technology in their bathroom accessories such as soap dispensers and faucets. These devices are programmed to dispense a preset amount of soap or water, which helps to reduce wastage of resources.14 The company has invented a water recycle cistern called the Recytern.15 The Recytern conserves up to 65 percent of water by featuring a built-in wash basin above the water tank, thus allowing waste water to be reused for the next round of flushing.16


Recent developments
In 2014, Heliconia Capital Management, an investment firm owned by Temasek Holdings, invested in the company. Heliconia provided the capital to boost Rigel Technology’s growth expansion in Asia, taking advantage of the urbanisation and rapid expansion of the middle class in Asia.17


Selected awards
2010:
Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Innovation, Rotary-ASME, Singapore

2010: Singapore Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Innovation, Rotary-ASME
2010: Singapore Prestige Brand Award (SPBA; Established Brands)
2010: Asia Pacific Super Excellent Brand Award
2010: Power Brand Award, Malaysia18
2011: Singapore Sustainability Award (top honour)
2011: SPBA (Regional Brands)
2011: SPBA (Established Brands)
2011: Enterprise 50 Award, Singapore19
2012: ASEAN Business Award (Innovation)
2012: SPBA (Regional Brands)
2012: SPBA – Hall of Fame
2012: Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award – Outstanding Entrepreneur
2012: Enterprise 50 Award, Singapore20
2013: Most Admired ASEAN Enterprise (Innovation), ASEAN Business Awards
2013: Enterprise 50 Award, Singapore21



References
1. Rigel Technology. (n.d.). Introduction. Retrieved from Rigel Technology website: http://www.rigel.com.sg/about.asp; Huang, J.-A. (2014, April 21). Flush with creativity. The Edge Singapore. Retrieved from Factiva; Entrepreneur of the Year: Rotary-ASME Award & Best Innovative Award. (2010). The Professional, 1(32), 3–4. Retrieved from Morison International Asia Pacific website: http://www.miap.asia/membernews/Paul%20Wan%20&%20Co%20-%20November2010.pdf
2.
 Huang, J.-A. (2014, April 21). Flush with creativity. The Edge Singapore. Retrieved from Factiva.
3. Annual Clean and Green Week to be held from this year. (1990, September 26). The Straits Times, p. 32. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Govt plans ‘clean public toilets’ drive. The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Huang, J.-A. (2014, April 21). Flush with creativity. The Edge Singapore. Retrieved from Factiva.
4. Huang, J.-A. (2014, April 21). Flush with creativity. The Edge Singapore. Retrieved from Factiva.
5. Rigel Technology. (n.d.). Making our Hangzhou showroom an icon of the cleanest city in China. Retrieved from Rigel Technology website: http://rigel.com.sg/en/event/making-our-hangzhou-showroom-icon-cleanest-city-china; Rigel Technology. (n.d.). Introduction. Retrieved from Rigel Technology website: http://www.rigel.com.sg/about.asp; Gobardja, I., et al. (2012, November 16). Green tech advocate makes good.The Business Times. Retrieved from AsiaOne website: http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+News/Business/Story/Green+tech+advocate+makes+good.html
6. Rigel Technology. (n.d.). Making our Hangzhou showroom an icon of the cleanest city in China. Retrieved from Rigel Technology website: http://rigel.com.sg/en/event/making-our-hangzhou-showroom-icon-cleanest-city-china
7. Huang, J.-A. (2014, April 21). Flush with creativity. The Edge Singapore. Retrieved from Factiva.
8. Rotary-ASME Award & Best Innovative Award. (2010). The Professional, 1(32), 4. Retrieved from Morison International Asia Pacific website: http://www.miap.asia/membernews/Paul%20Wan%20&%20Co%20-%20November2010.pdf; Gobardja, I., et al. (2012, November 16). Green tech advocate makes good.The Business Times. Retrieved from AsiaOne website: http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+News/Business/Story/Green+tech+advocate+makes+good.html
9. Tee, Z. (2014, March 25). R&D a big part of Rigel’s focus at new $35m global HQ. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
10. Rigel Technology. (n.d.). Rigel gives back to society: S$75k donated to SUTD to help students in financial need. Retrieved from Rigel Technology website: http://www.rigel.com.sg/csr-details.asp?id=8; Singapore University of Technology and Design. (n.d.). Rigel Technology Bursary Grant. Retrieved from SUTD website: http://www.sutd.edu.sg/undergrad_rtbg.aspx
11. Green at the heart of business. (2011, October 4). The Business Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
12. Tee, Z. (2014, March 25). R&D a big part of Rigel’s focus at new $35m global HQ. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
13. Rotary-ASME Award & Best Innovative Award. (2010). The Professional, 1(32), 4–5. Retrieved from Morison International Asia Pacific website: http://www.miap.asia/membernews/Paul%20Wan%20&%20Co%20-%20November2010.pdf
14. Huang, J.-A. (2014, April 21–April 27). Flush with creativity. The Edge Singapore. Retrieved from Factiva; Gobardja, I., et al. (2012, November 16). Green tech advocate makes good. Retrieved from AsiaOne website: http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+News/Business/Story/Green+tech+advocate+makes+good.html; Rigel Technology. (n.d.). Remote control management. Retrieved from Rigel Technology website: http://www.rigel.com.sg/green-sleek.asp?id=2
15. Rigel Technology. (n.d.). Recycle cistern. Retrieved from Rigel Technology website: http://www.rigel.com.sg/green-sleek.asp?id=24
16. Rigel Technology. (n.d.). Recycle cistern. Retrieved from Rigel Technology website: http://www.rigel.com.sg/green-sleek.asp?id=24
17. Chan, F. (2014). Temasek Holdings unit takes stake in S’pore SME. Retrieved from AsiaOne website: http://business.asiaone.com/news/temasek-holdings-unit-takes-stake-spore-sme
18. Rigel Technology. (n.d.). 2010 awards achievements. Retrieved from Rigel Technology website: http://www.rigel.com.sg/about-industry-recognition.asp?id=28
19. Rigel Technology. (n.d.). 2011 awards achievements. Retrieved from Rigel Technology website: http://www.rigel.com.sg/about-industry-recognition.asp?id=29
20. Rigel Technology. (n.d.). 2012 awards achievement. Retrieved from Rigel Technology website: http://www.rigel.com.sg/about-industry-recognition.asp?id=30
21. Rigel Technology. (2014). 2013 Awards Achievement. Retrieved October 13, 2014, from Rigel Technology (S) website: http://www.rigel.com.sg/about-industry-recognition.asp?id=43




This article was written by students from Bedok North Secondary School as part of the “50 Schools, 50 SMEs” initiative held in celebration of Singapore’s 50th birthday. For more details, please visit http://www.singapore50-ei.sg/project-50schools-50SMEs



The information in this article is valid as at 5 May 2015 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Trade and industry
Commerce and Industry
Economy

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