Jurong Town Corporation

Singapore Infopedia


The Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) was set up on 1 June 1968 under the Jurong Town Corporation Act to take over from the Economic Development Board (EDB) as Singapore's principal developer and manager of industrial estates and their related facilities.1 On 15 November 2000, JTC became known as JTC Corporation.2 As a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, it continues to manage a wide range of facilities such as industrial land and business parks to meet the diverse industrial needs of companies based in Singapore.3 

Prior to the formation of JTC, the development and management of Singapore’s industrial estates were under the purview of EDB, a statutory board created by the government in 1961 to attract foreign investment and to spearhead Singapore’s industrialisation programme.4 One of EDB’s immediate tasks was to develop Singapore’s first industrial estate – Jurong Industrial Estate – through land reclamation. Factory buildings, roads and utilities were built in what was once a swamp area, and EDB was able to attract foreign companies to set up factories there through offering industrial financing and incentive packages. In 1967, at the end of the first phase of development, the Jurong Industrial Estate had attracted investments worth a total of about S$178 million in fixed assets and generated jobs for some 6,500 workers.5

As Singapore accelerated its industrialisation programme after gaining independence on 9 August 1965, it became clear to the government that the task of managing industrial estates would become more challenging and complex.6 Therefore, the government decided to remove the responsibility for this work from EDB and assign it to a specialist agency, and consequently JTC was formed. Besides managing and developing Singapore’s industrial estates, JTC was also entrusted with the task of providing facilities to improve the well-being of the people working and living in the estates.7 At the time of JTC’s formation, recreational and social amenities for residents in Jurong were sorely lacking. In fact, then Finance Minister Goh Keng Swee had commented that “life in Jurong cannot be other than spartan”.

To help JTC carry out its key responsibilities, the government provided additional financial backing when the corporation’s funds were insufficient.9 JTC was also empowered to purchase, acquire or lease any land as required, and had board members from the public and trade unions to ensure that the interests of industrialists and workers in the industrial estates were represented.10 Furthermore, relevant staff members from EDB were transferred to JTC so that the expertise in industrial estate management could be retained in the new set-up.11

Early years
Following its establishment, the JTC began creating new industrial estates and enlarging existing ones in order to expand Singapore’s manufacturing sector.12 By the end of 1969, JTC had established a new industrial estate in Senoko and reclaimed some 114 ac (0.5 sq km) of land for the expansion of the Kranji and Sungei Kadut industrial estates. JTC also made available an additional 1,195 ac (4.8 sq km) of industrial land in the Jurong Industrial Estate, thus increasing the area of the estate from 3,650 ac (14.8 sq km) to 4,595 ac (18.6 sq km). This led to an increase in the number of operational factories in Jurong: The figure rose from 153 in December 1968 to 202 a year later.13 Happening concurrently with the industrial development was the improvement in the state of social and recreational amenities in the vicinity. Within the next few years, JTC oversaw the construction of facilities such as the Jurong Bird Park, Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden, Jurong Park, a town centre with shopping and commercial facilities, a drive-in cinema and new executive flats.14 By November 1972, JTC had developed the residential estate, known as Jurong Town, into a self-contained town for its estimated 32,000 residents.15

Later developments16 
During this period, JTC started developing facilities for oil refineries on three of the islands (which would later become part of Jurong Island) south of Jurong as Singapore’s economy diversified into the petrochemical industry.17 JTC also oversaw the development of Jurong Port through expansion works.18 

In the 1980s, JTC initiated a master plan to attract industries that produced high-value-added products to Singapore.19 As part of this plan, JTC was involved in establishing the Singapore Science Park at Kent Ridge.20 The corporation continued to support the growing petrochemical industry by developing more islands off Jurong, including setting up Singapore’s first petrochemical plant on Pulau Ayer Merbau in 1984.21 

As companies increased the adoption of information technologies in the 1990s, JTC responded by building estates that combined commercial, industrial and office use, such as the International Business Park in Jurong East and the Changi Business Park.22 JTC also established Singapore’s first wafer fabrication park in Woodlands during this period.23 The 1990s also saw the corporation’s continued development of the petrochemical industry through the Jurong Island reclamation project, which involved the merger and development of seven offshore islands into a chemical and petrochemical complex.24

2000s to present
As Singapore focused more on knowledge-based industries at the start of the 21stcentury, JTC began the development of one-north in Buona Vista, which now comprises Fusionopolis, Biopolis and Mediapolis, among other clusters that all support the growth of the science and technology, biomedical, information technology and media industries in Singapore.25 Most recently, on 2 September 2014, JTC unveiled the first underground storage facility for liquid hydrocarbons in Southeast Asia: the Jurong Rock Caverns, located on Jurong Island.26

1. Jurong Town Corporation, Annual Report (Singapore: Jurong Town Corporation, 1969), 1–2 (Call no. RCLOS 352.0072 JTCAR); Jurong Town Corporation Act 1968, Act 5 of 1968, Government Gazette. Acts Supplement, 45. (Call no. RCLOS 348.5957 SGGAS)
2. Vince Chong, “It's Now JTC Corporation,” Business Times, 16 November 2000, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
3. “MTI Family,” Ministry of Trade and Industry, accessed 2012.
4. Tommy Koh et al., eds., Singapore: The Encyclopedia (Singapore: Editions Didier Millet and National Heritage Board, 2006), 167–8. (Call no. RSING 959.57003 SIN-[HIS])
5. Koh et al., Singapore: The Encyclopedia, 271.
6. “Goh Tells of Govt Plans to Speed Up Economic Growth,” Straits Times, 17 April 1968, 8. (From NewspaperSG)
7. Parliament of Singapore, Second Reading of the Jurong Town Corporation Bill, vol. 27 of Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 21 May 1968, cols. 357–9 (Call no. RCLOS 328.5957 SIN); “Better Amenities for Jurong Residents,” Straits Times, 22 May 1968, 5. (From NewspaperSG)
8. Jurong Town Corporation, Annual Report, 2.
9. Parliament of Singapore, Second Reading of the Jurong Town Corporation Bill, 358.
10. Parliament of Singapore, Second Reading of the Jurong Town Corporation Bill, 362; “New Body to Manage Jurong Industries,” Straits Times, 12 May 1968, 7. (From NewspaperSG)
11. Parliament of Singapore, Second Reading of the Jurong Town Corporation Bill, 357; “Better Amenities for Jurong Residents.”
12. William Campbell, “Industry Moves in as British Forces Prepare to Pull Out,” Straits Times, 28 November 1968, 12; Yeo Toon Joo, “Jurong Gets Ready to Grow Three Times,” Straits Times, 26 October 1968, 10. (From NewspaperSG)
13. Jurong Town Corporation, Annual Report, 5.
14. Jurong Town Corporation, Annual Report, 9; Garden Town to Have 100,000 People: Woon,” Straits Times, 14 December 1968, 9. (From NewspaperSG)
15. “Jurong Now Fully Self-Contained Town, Says JTC,” Straits Times, 24 November 1972, 12. (From NewspaperSG)
16. “Our History,” JTC, accessed 31 October 2012.
17. “$26m to Join 3 Islands into One,” Straits Times, 19 December 1973, 8. (From NewspaperSG)
18. “Bright Future for Jurong Port,” Straits Times, 15 March 1975, 13. (From NewspaperSG)
19. Paul Jansen, “JTC Unveils Its Master Plan for the Eighties,” Straits Times, 17 November 1980, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
20. Lillian Chew, “Science Park Opening Today,” Straits Times, 17 January 1984, 12. (From NewspaperSG)
21. Agnes Wee, “JTC's $2.5b Plan for Expansion,” Business Times, 12 October 1981, 1; Loh Hui Yin, “Petrochem Complex Starts Production,” Business Times, 18 February 1984, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
22. “Some 16,500 Professionals, Technicians May Work at First International Business Park,” Straits Times, 19 February 1992, 32; “JTC Launches Changi Business Park,” Straits Times, 26 June 1997, 58. (From NewspaperSG)
23. Claire Leow, “Govt Eyes Wafer Fab Park to Woo Investors,” Business Times, 25 August 1994, 2. (From NewspaperSG)
24. “Reclamation to Start for Jurong Island Project,” Straits Times, 10 March 1995, 48. (From NewspaperSG)
25. Vince Chong, “Science Parks Will Be Merged With One-north Eventually,” Business Times, 7 December 2001, 9; “A Hotbed for New Discoveries,” Straits Times, 18 October 2008, 91; Oo Gin Lee, “10,000 Jobs at Biomed Hub,” Straits Times, 7 December 2001, 3. (From NewspaperSG)
26. Chia Yan Min, “Jurong Rock Caverns Officially Opened after Eight Years of Construction,” Straits Times, 2 September 2014. (From NewspaperSG)

The information in this article is valid as of 3 September 2014 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. 


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