Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, Infocomm Development, IDA Singapore - Keynote Address Breakfast Forum Series, Mandarin Hotel

Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, Infocomm Development, IDA Singapore - Keynote Address Breakfast Forum Series, Mandarin Hotel
Singapore, 9 February 2001

1 I would like to thank for the invitation to participate in this forum. Like the rest of the panel, I look forward to active participation from our audience in sharing what matter most to our Singapore-based wireless companies in their attempts to venture out of Singapore.

2 I would like to share with you today 3 things about the wireless scene in Singapore:

i. The status of wireless development - examples of application and companies who have made their presence here and globally;

ii. The Singapore Government's Wired With Wireless initiative; and

iii. Identify needs for overseas market access by our Singapore companies.

Through this session, I look forward to solicit your feedback on further needs and ideas to address some of these needs.

Wireless Developments in Singapore

3 Gartner Dataquest's Director, Mr Bertrand Bidaud has said, "The climax of high expectations is behind us, the euphoria has bottomed out." He commented that the hype about WAP was in the big mistake of positioning WAP as the Internet. This has resulted in a negative image in the eyes of the public. However, with always-on access, WAP on GPRS may be a big improvement as an interim to the 3G. Furthermore, telco operators and other market watchers agree that the returns from bringing 3G to the market will come from 2 complementary factors: availability of 3G handsets and compelling applications. Given that Asia-Pacific countries like Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore will be ready to roll out commercial 3G services from 2002 onwards, it is therefore timely for us to look at where we are today and whether we have the elements conducive to the development of wireless and mobile communication services right here in Singapore.

Singapore - Your launch pad to Asia

4 As of December 2000, Singapore's mobile penetration rate reached 75%. Recently, Pyramid Research reported that Singapore's and total mobile phone revenue will surge by 49% to US$1.3 billion by 2005. With at least 268,000 broadband users, over 5,000 MNCs, many operating as regional HQs, Singapore offers the wireless industry a technology savvy population and a wide range of sophisticated enterprises users. Together with a vibrant content development environment, availability of specialised wireless skills and technology, and an English-speaking workforce with Asian roots, Singapore is an important reference and ready test market for wireless developments in Asia.

Vibrant wireless industry

5 MNCs with wireless developments in Singapore include Ericsson Cyberlab, AU-System, Motorola, HP Mobile e-Sevices Bazaar, Global Wireless Internet Centre by CAP Gemini and Ernst & Young, and so on. The burgeoning wireless development scene of Singapore even boasts of a few world's firsts, including

  • Orktopas, the WAP search engine developed by WAPWorkz and currently marketed by AirGateway;
  • Single-point, multi-platform WAP interaction service by;
  • Software for media-rich content repurposing on multiple web channels by NewsTakes; and
  • Software that runs the infrared port on Palm Pilot by Extended Systems Singapore.

Wireless usage - SIR example

6 The Government has also embarked on a series of trials for wireless communication. One such application was a pilot initiated by the Singapore Immigration and Registration Office to determine how wireless technologies could improve the immigration procedure for sea travellers. This pilot serves to assess the suitability of using handheld devices such as mobile phones, PDAs and ultraportable computers to replace the manual process of handling clearance of incoming vessels wherever there are no static checkpoints.

Singapore companies that have ventured overseas

7 Some local Singapore companies are fast developing into an emerging class of world class players that develop their own intellectual property and export infocomm products. These indigenous MNCs have gone regional in sales and market development; built up their strengths in research and development, and provision of innovative products and professional services.

8 Let me now share with you some of the plans for wireless development in Singapore through our Wired With Wireless programme.

Wired With Wireless

9 Launched in October 2000 by Minister Yeo Cheow Tong, the Wired With Wireless programme aims to position Singapore as having the best integrated wireline and wireless infrastructure. We look forward to the proliferation of technological innovation, exports of innovative wireless products and services, development of leading edge mobile communications talent and mass adoption of the wireless lifestyle.

Focus areas

10 The Wired With Wireless programme is focused on 3 key areas, namely: wireless multimedia; M-Commerce and location-based services. IDA looks forward to work with the industry to identify key projects in the areas of: retail, entertainment, transportation, finance and banking, manufacturing and logistics, healthcare, trading and intelligent homes. We are continually open to your views and ideas on deployment and implementation of wireless technologies in other areas.

Strategic thrusts

11 These are the strategic thrusts that have been identified to stimulate the growth of wireless development in Singapore and will address issues in thought leadership, market access and manpower development, technology and infrastructure development, product and service development, as well as industry and consumer adoption.

Concerns in overseas market access

12 In expanding its capabilities in digital rights management, Singapore company, Mercurix, has expressed the need for creating a niche in this domain, regionally and even globally. So, what are the concerns that our Singapore companies can potentially face as part of their competency development and overseas venture? In the next few slides, I shall attempt to cover 3 areas of concern. They are:

i. Establishing market presence;

ii. Establishing market knowledge; and

iii. Establishing market identity.

Concern (i): Establishing market presence

13 There are possibly 2 levels of needs to be addressed. Firstly, to help our Singapore companies rapidly export their products and services into and beyond the region. One of the ways is increase direct access links with corporate HQs of wireless global players for for access to marketing resources, channels, roll out resources, technology and mindshare. Secondly, foreign partners should find Singapore companies with interesting technology and resources with willingness or commitment to work closely to jointly develop world class solutions quickly.

Suggested approaches to establishing market presence

14 I would like to explore with our audience today 2 possible approaches to help our Singapore companies establish an overseas market presence:

i. Firstly, in the area of joint marketing, we could help link up Singapore and overseas wireless companies with a ready product for further value-added integration and marketing in the overseas market identified. This could involve assistance for up to 6 months in the areas of:
Locating the Singapore company near the overseas partner;
Headcount for Marketing; and Technical support.

ii. Secondly, in the area of joint development, we could help link up Singapore and overseas wireless companies for new product or application development. In this case, assistance for up to 12 months could involve:
Locating the Singapore company near the overseas partner;
Project Management and Technical development team.

[Concern (ii): Establishing market knowledge]

15 In establishing market knowledge, market intelligence could possibly be one of the crucial elements in helping our local wireless industry to penetrate the Asian markets. Access to intelligence such as product or service planning and rollout; as well as export market attractiveness and ease of market penetration may mean a make or break point for first-timers to the Asian markets.

[Concern (iii): Establishing market identity]

16 In addition, companies venturing out into the much bigger markets outside Singapore may suffer from lack of visibility, in the midst of fiercer competition. In some cases, it even takes knowing the right connections to prop up the overseas partners' confidence. To further complicate the matter, high costs can deter companies from the much-needed mileage out of targeted advertising and promotion efforts.

[Suggested approaches to establishing market knowledge]

17 Some ways that could help our companies in getting the necessary market intelligence could be through surveys that are either IDA-commissioned, or in partnership with the industry through selected projects with sector-wide impact as well as test-marketing for certain companies.

[Suggested approaches to establishing market identity]

18 In building overseas market awareness and sustaining customer interest, co-branding with the Wired With Wireless programme could perhaps help the Singapore company create an association with quality and significant capabilities in the wireless arena. Similar to the present S-One co-marketing programme for our broadband industry partners, the Wired With Wireless partners can also receive assistance in their A&P efforts, such as marketing collaterals and other campaign efforts in a variety of media.


19 In conclusion, we aim for Singapore to be among the first in Asia to turn 3G into reality and we are confident that we have the necessary hard and soft infrastructure in place for companies to test bed, deploy and market your end-to-end 3G offerings for Singapore and the rest of Asia.

20 For more information on the "Wired With Wireless" programme, please write in to:

21 Thank-you.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023