Singapore ready to ride on rising digital economy

Telecom Asia staff writer
telecomasia.net

Singapore is well poised to benefit from a fast-expanding digital economy in the ASEAN region, and has set clear initiatives to drive digital transformation and ensure the country stays competitive.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of ConnecTechAsia2018, Minister for Communications and Information, S. Iswaran, said recent announcements such as the InfoComm and Media (ICM) Industry Transformation Map (launched Oct 2017) and the Digital Economy (DE) Framework for Action reflect efforts to deepen Singapore’s capabilities and aspirations to becomes a global node.

Iswaran said the digital economy is likely to be underpinned by Southeast Asia’s growing middle class and population of 630 million people, more than half of whom are under 30. ASEAN today has 330 million internet users, with 70 million new users since 2015. 

ASEAN’s digital economy could contribute an additional $1 trillion to the region’s GDP by 2025. 

“These young, tech-savvy and connected citizens are ready to shift ASEAN’s engine of growth to the next gear, and seize the opportunities that technology and the digital economy have to offer them. 

“We see this in e-commerce, where online shopping in Southeast Asia’s six biggest economies is projected to reach $64.8 billion in 2021, compared to $37.7 billion last year. The ride-hailing market has also grown four-fold since 2015 and is expected to be over $20 billion by 2025.” 
   
Industry transformation

Under Singapore’s ITM, roadmaps have been developed for 23 industries to address issues within each industry and deepen partnerships between government, businesses and industry bodies. 

The DE Framework for Action centers around collaborating with partners and platform enablers to digitalize industries, integrate ecosystems and create companies and capabilities for the future.

The ITM, for instance, aims to grow Singapore’s ICM industry’s value-add by around 6% annually. It is also expected to employ more than 210,000 workers and more than 13,000 new PMET jobs by 2020. 

“Together with the Framework for Action, it will prepare Singapore to be a leading digital economy. These initiatives will chart Singapore’s way forward towards the digital future. With these plans, we aim to remain nimble and continually adapt ourselves so as to turn challenges into opportunities for growth,” said Iswaran. 

A Global Innovation Alliance was launched last year to broaden and deepen Singapore’s network of overseas partners in major hubs and demand markets, such as San Francisco, Beijing, Bangkok and Jakarta, with a focus on technology and innovation.

This initiative will allow Singaporean workers and companies to gain overseas experience, build international networks and collaborate with their counterparts on innovation and new products and services. 

“We have also proposed the establishment of the ASEAN Smart Cities Network as a collaborative platform where ASEAN cities such as Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Yangon, will work together with Singapore towards the common goal of smart and sustainable urban development,” said Iswaran. 

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