Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development, IDA Singapore - Speech International Launch of eBook: 'Barrier Breakers - Women in Singapore', Tanglin Club
Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development, IDA Singapore - Speech
International Launch of eBook: 'Barrier Breakers - Women in Singapore', Tanglin Club
Singapore, 8 March 2000
1. I am pleased to be here with you this afternoon, at this official launch of the Singapore's first e-Book - "Barrier Breakers". Today, we have much to celebrate. First, the world today celebrates International Women's Day. Second, the launch of e-Book is timely as it coincides with the International Women's Day, celebrating the achievements of women in Singapore. Third, and perhaps the most relevant to IDA, is the launch of "Barrier Breakers", the first electronic publication of its kind in Singapore. It is a pleasure to see the publishing industry making great strides and strategic moves into the Internet economy.
Changes in the Internet Economy
2. Major technological forces are changing the world today. Digitalisation, electronic commerce, and the convergence of media, computing and telecommunications are changing business models and creating new industry sectors. Singapore believes that the new century will be the Internet century. We are thrilled by the potential it offers and we are determined to make sure that the nation is ready to compete in this vibrant e-economy. The recent announcement to introduce full market competition in the telecommunications sector 2 years ahead of schedule reflects the dramatic changes in the world landscape in the last few years. The Internet has become very closely interwoven into the fabric of commerce, industry and our daily lives. Anybody can now log onto the Net by simply pointing and clicking on the mouse for all types of services, such as transferring of funds, buying airline tickets and books, participating in auctions or learning a new skill.
3. The Net has become a strategic asset for businesses from all sectors. They have incorporated info-communications technology into every facet of their business processes, be it marketing, financial, operations or corporate communication processes. Globalisation, spurred by the advent of the Internet, has also made it crucial for businesses across all sectors to rethink their business strategies and models.
Singapore to succeed in the Internet Economy
4. In order for Singapore to gain a competitive advantage and to remain a key player in the global economy, it is important for us to encourage the growth of a strong infocomm technology sector. The infocomm industry is constantly driven by technology and business innovations. We need to take advantage of this evolving technology that is available and embed it into our various economic transaction processes, such as in e-commerce, e-banking, e-purchasing and so on. Singapore has to ride the new wave of progress made possible by infocomm technology and become an active citizen of the global Net-Economy.
Initiatives by IDA
5. To achieve this, IDA has lifted import controls over cryptography products. We have recognised that secure transmission of information is vital for the growth of e-commerce in Singapore, and is therefore necessary for our effort to become a trusted hub for e-commerce. Our efforts will also include industry development initiatives to assist promising local enterprises and SMEs, building on our existing $9m LECP(EC) scheme. An E-Commerce Policy Helpdesk has been set up by IDA to help provide clarity to businesses in their adoption of e-commerce.
6. In IDA's recent announcement to envisage Singapore as a vibrant Information Society, various virtual shopping malls will be initiated to allow online shoppers to buy basic necessities like groceries and lifestyle items, such as music, movies and games, and services like on-line tuition with a click of a button. In addition, to ensure that our workforce have the needed infocomm skills and competencies for the knowledge-based economy to sustain the growth of e-businesses in Singapore, IDA has been working closely with industry partners and other government agencies, to map out the manpower directions for the industry. The aim is to equip infocomm workers with the right mix of business skills and up-to-date technical competencies so that they can succeed in the competitive global Internet economy.
7. We will also build up e-Learning in Singapore and establish ourselves as an e-Learning hub for the region. e-Learning will allow people to receive training anytime and at any place. This would be attractive for those who wish to upgrade themselves by taking up part-time courses after work. The Government will work with the industry to put in place an e-Learning infrastructure and develop on-line content to attract and foster alliances with world-class e-Learning service providers. e-Learning will also be extended to the region and one of such project is the Virtual Institute to be established by the Institute of Systems Science. Through this Virtual Institute, infocomm professionals and managers from the region can be trained. The Government will also encourage companies to hub their regional e-Learning services and portals out of Singapore.
Entrepreneurship in the Dot-com industry
8. In Singapore, the private sector or the dot-com industry has however taken the lead to explore new opportunities in this Net economy. Most of you will have noticed the sudden flood in the number of stories of local start-ups venturing into e-commerce. At IDA, we have begun to hear about many young professionals, turning their hands to entrepreneurship. The region is also growing rapidly. In Singapore alone, a survey done by the Department of Statistics showed that in 1999, Singapore's online business grew by 25% to an estimated S$1.5b from 1998.
9. There is indeed much opportunity for digital publishing in the Internet economy, and I sincerely hope to see more local publishers taking the leap into electronic publishing and making content readily available for all - just enough, just in time, anytime, anywhere.
10. On that note, I would like to congratulate Shelley Siu and Oneknowledge.com on the launch of their e-book - "Barrier Breakers" and I wish you every success for an exciting Internet future.
11. Thank you.