Yong Ying-I, Chief Executive Officer, IDA Singapore - Address Nokia Connection 2001 Opening Ceremony, Fullerton Hotel

Yong Ying-I, Chief Executive Officer, IDA Singapore - Address
Nokia Connection 2001 Opening Ceremony, Fullerton Hotel

Singapore, 18 June 2001


1 I would like to thank Nokia Networks for the invitation to speak at this exciting event.

Wireless in Asia and Singapore

2 The considerably weaker US economy and the cautious financial outlook in Europe this year have led to a reduced level of investments and research and development around the world. The 3G auctions in Europe, in particular, have led to many European telcos getting into financial difficulty. In the midst of this subdued sentiment, I thought it important to state that the mobile market is the industry segment that continues to show strong consumer demand worldwide. I am therefore a firm believer in the prospects for the growth of wireless.

3 This view is not just my own -- many analysts are upbeat about the prospects for the wireless industry in Asia and Singapore. The Yankee Group has forecast cellular Internet revenues in the Asia Pacific to increase by more than five fold from about US$7 billion in 2001 to US$40 billion in 2004. It projects Singapore's mobile Internet data revenue to increase 23 fold from US$69 million in 2000 to US$1.3 billion by end of 2004.

Singapore - Enabling wireless innovation

4 As of April this year, our mobile penetration stands at 70.6%, comparable to the leading mobile nations. This means that Singapore has a technology-savvy population and a sophisticated enterprise user base that makes us a good test bed for product application & services development. With at least 274,000 broadband users, and over 6,000 MNCs, many of whom use Singapore as their regional HQs, Singapore has a reputation as a good partner to global companies, which use Singapore as their launchpad to Asia.

5 Nokia is a noteworthy example of this partnership. Nokia has been active in Asia Pacific since the early 1980s, with the Singapore operations acting as Nokia's Asia Pacific headquarters. Through its learning centre and technical competence centre, Nokia Singapore provides leading-edge technology, solutions and support to around 20 diverse markets in the region.

6 Singapore is particularly pleased to continue its association with Nokia in an event like Nokia Connection for a reason - Nokia Connection is ample illustration of Nokia's strength in innovation, which many see as the factor that has propelled the company to becoming the world's leading supplier of mobile phones. In discussions on innovations in management literature and business magazines, Nokia is frequently cited as an outstanding example of how innovation can separate the market leader and the also-rans. Mobile phones used to be...well...just phones: instruments for transmitting voice messages. Nokia -- uniquely at the time -- saw phones as lifestyle devices, and it emphasised usability in design. Nokia was one of the earlier to see the power of the concept of virtuality and mobility, something that everyone accepts as obvious today. It is the capability to innovate, to recognise earlier than everyone else the possibilities that a new way of seeing a business can bring, that Singapore is keen to learn from you. Because we recognise that it is through innovation and creativity that we can remain competitive.

7 We have made a good start in wireless innovation. There is a buzz in the industry. Let me just cite 2 examples of wireless developments in Singapore within the first half of this year:

  • M1 and EdgeMatrix formed a joint venture in wireless research called Wireless Intellect Labs. This facility is the first independent wireless research centre in Asia Pacific formed privately by a telecommunications company and a multi-channel technology company.
  • The second example is the partnership between Compaq and UGotACall to transform the iPAQ pocket PC into an integrated mobile communications device for the office environment. This effort to support real-time voice conversation, voice and fax messaging, "always-on" Internet access and call management facilities is one of the first in Asia.

Open Standards and Interoperability

8 I thought I should also highlight that the presence of fragmented software platforms could well be one of the possible stumbling blocks for the arrival of trendy applications in next generation handsets. Today, there exist as many as 7 operating systems and 3 camps of mark-up languages. I am therefore happy to see industry players collaborating to support open standards and interoperability. In October last year, Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola founded the Location Inter-operability Forum to achieve the goal of offering location-based services world-wide. In April this year, these 3 industry leaders followed this up by establishing Wireless Village, a mobile instant messaging and presence initiative designed to define and promote a set of universal specifications for mobile instant messaging services. Over time, I hope that similar efforts would proliferate within Singapore and Asia and bring about greater collaboration among all our players in the wireless value chain, from infrastructure developers to access service providers, to content creators and aggregators.


9 In conclusion, may I, on behalf of IDA, wish Nokia success in The Nokia Connection 2001 and the Forum Nokia Developer Conference over the next 2 days. With the anticipated increase in wireless development activities in Singapore, we hope that leading players like Nokia will be able to build closer ties with our wireless industry to bring about more pilots and trials, and collaboratively launch their services in Singapore.

10 Thank-you.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023