Stepping Into a New in Dustrialage Age

Derrick Yap, chief executive officer, PBA International.

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Derrick Yap, chief executive officer, PBA International.

My Reading Room

When Derrick Yap joined the family business 16 years ago, the company specialised in trading ball bearings. With advances in technology since then, Yap, who studied business at NUS, has helped to expand the business into areas such as distribution of aerospace components, production and distribution of robots, and customised robotic solutions.

“Singapore has very few companies doing robotics. Other companies would be contracted to develop the technology but, afterwards, the technology would belong to the client,” says the 38-year-old chief executive. “We sought to monetise intellectual property (IP) for components, and build IPs into solutions instead of selling them.”

Today, he presides over 500 employees in 13 countries around the world. PBA was recently evaluated to have a value of close to $300 million, according to Yap, who joined the company when its total assets and 50-odd employees were valued between $20 million and $30 million. The catalyst behind this growth is the company’s 3-in-3 rule. Says Yap: “If a particular company of ours is not among the top three in the market within three years, we will find new sectors to go into.”

Because I’m listening to music all the time. My mind is constantly thinking about work.
Music, movies and my kids are the only things that can drown that out.
Is something I’ve come to realise that I almost cannot live without. We have so many regional offices. Whatsapp groups bring everyone together, who can then throw ideas into the group.
Is more than just an e-mail service.
It’s where we plot our calendars so that everyone can see where everybody is.
Leeches onto online libraries in the world and lets me read their books.
More than just a social media platform, I get more news from here than any other source.