Yong Ying-I, Chief Executive Officer, IDA Singapore - Speech Launch of Asia Pacific Headquarters of Lernout & Hauspie, Sheration Towers Hotel
Yong Ying-I, Chief Executive Officer, IDA Singapore - Speech
Launch of Asia Pacific Headquarters of Lernout & Hauspie, Sheration Towers Hotel
Singapore, 18 January 2000
1. I am very happy to be here to celebrate the launch of Lernout & Hauspie's Asia Pacific Headquarters in Singapore.
2. L&H, is the pioneer and leader in advanced speech and language translation technologies. Growthplus, one of Europe's premiere industry consulting groups, has rated L&H as the second fastest growing company in Europe in 1998. L&H products, built on your S.AI.L technology, which stands for "Speech, Artificial Intelligence and Language" technology, are already used extensively in the telecommunications, Internet and automotive industries. The decision by L&H to locate its Asia Pacific HQ here in Singapore is a strong display of your confidence in Singapore, and a strong endorsement of Singapore as a knowledge and infocommunications hub in the Asia Pacific. On behalf of the Government of Singapore, I welcome you to Singapore, and we look forward to strengthening the partnership between L&H and Singapore.
3. The market for speech and language translation technologies is growing fast. On a global scale, the market for advanced speech technology is expected to reach US$7.9 billion by year 2003 from US$460 million in 1997. Similarly, translation services are estimated to reach US$6.9 billion from US$3 billion over the same period. Asia's heterogeneous markets, marked by different language, cultural and historical backgrounds, have a special need for such capabilities. Speech and language translation is the key to unlocking the business potential of a wide range of products and services across economic sectors to cross national and cultural borders. This represents tremendous potential for speech and language translation products and services. Hence, it is strategically important that Singapore tap into this rapidly expanding market in Asia Pacific.
4. Singapore's vision is to transition to a knowledge-based economy; in other words, relying on knowledge to create value. It will be our ability to invent new ideas, to create and apply knowledge that will give us the competitive edge going forward. It is not just doing R&D, or using computers and hi-tech products. It is creating value: out of technology, using R&D and product development; out of creative ideas, to improve products, services, manufacturing processes, and applications; out of skills and productivity, to produce more output, and more valuable output, using less inputs of capital and labour; out of market development, to create new markets in cyberspace, and develop markets beyond our traditional trading partners.
5. L&H's decision to use Singapore as its Asia-Pacific headquarters is fully in-line with Singapore's ambition to be a knowledge-based economy. We are pleased that this regional HQ plans to invest S$20 - S$30 million to undertake high value-added activities such as conducting R&D, setting up a regional Customer Support Centre and implementing your incubation programme called S.AI.L Port. We also welcome the establishment of your S.AI.L Partners Programme, which will start in Singapore as a pilot. This programme is an endorsement of the capabilities of local infocomm solution developers in building world class solutions based on leading edge technologies.
6. Those of us in the audience who attended the Millennium Conference organised by the EDB Society last week will have heard Economic Development Board's Managing Director explain how Singapore's economic development agencies will work in partnership to help facilitate the successful operations of knowledge businesses in Singapore. Lernout & Hauspie's business here is a good example of this partnership. The EDB worked closely with Lernout & Hauspie on the setting up of its Regional Headquarters for the Asia Pacific region in Singapore. Lernout & Hauspie has secured incentives support to undertake innovation and product development work. The EDB will continue to support you in the development of your RHQ and new business initiatives. The National Science and Technology Board, which is taking the lead on encouraging R&D and fostering technopreneurship, has recently collaborated with Lernout & Hauspie on S.AI.L Port, which is a incubator management programme to nurture and spin-off businesses based on fast-growth S.AI.L technologies. The collaboration includes catalysing formation of startups, organising business angel clubs, organising education programmes centered on S.AI.L technologies, and providing telecom test-bedding for S.AI.L companies. S.AI.L Port Asia Pacific aims to set up 100 S.AI.L technology start-ups each year from its 5th year of operation.
7. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, or IDA, has also worked with you on a number of initiatives, as part of our goal to development Singapore into a dynamic Info-communication technology capital. IDA is delighted that as part of the S.AI.L Partners Programme, L&H will be joining the Infocomm Technology Local Industry Upgrading Programme, or ICT LIUP in short. ICT LIUP provides the platform for equipping local companies with strategic developmental capabilities around key enabling technologies. The aim is to accelerate the development of a vibrant ICT industry in Singapore through cultivating stronger ties and partnerships between the local ICT companies and leading ICT MNCs. Currently, there are eight MNCs under IDA's ICT LIUP and it is my pleasure to welcome L&H as our 9th ICT LIUP partner. L&H's participation will add much value to the programme. Through L&H ICT LIUP, the local ICT industry will stay at the forefront of speech and translation technologies by leveraging on L&H S.AI.L technology to develop products and services for a global market. This will significantly enhance the competitiveness of local companies and increase market reach for their products and services. This was not possible previously due to language and cultural differences. I am looking forward to seeing globally competitive products and services borne out of this win-win relationship.
8. In closing, may I, on behalf of my colleauges in EDB, NSTB and IDA, congratulate the management and staff of Lernout & Hauspie on the launch of your Asia Pacific HQ here in Singapore. We wish you every success in the exciting years ahead.
9. Thank you.