Yong Ying-I, Chief Executive Officer, IDA Singapore - Speech Official launch of Broadband Media Association, Suntec Singapore
Yong Ying-I, Chief Executive Officer, IDA Singapore - Speech
Official launch of Broadband Media Association, Suntec Singapore
Singapore, 16 January 2001
1 Good Morning, Mr Anthony Chia, Chairman of the Broadband Media Association, association members, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I would like to thank you for inviting me to be here at the official launch of the Broadband Media Association or BMA in short. The launch of BMA is a significant step for the broadband industry in Singapore as a whole. It represents the coming of age for the broadband industry. It also represents the desire and the ability of our industry players to play a leadership role in developing and promoting broadband for Singapore.
The Year in Review
2 Last year was an exciting period for broadband developments in Singapore and Asia. For Singapore, the broadband open access policybrought in new broadband access providers like Pacific Internet, Pacific Century Cyberworks and Starhub. This gave both consumers and businesses the choice of multiple service packages. Year 2000 was also the year we saw acceleration in demand in Singapore: if you think of the S-curve of growth, we have now entered the upswing part of the S-curve. Broadband users in Singapore grew to a sizable base of 250,000 by year-end, exceeding the expected target of 200,000. The Broadband industry as a whole also saw an increase in players from 200 to 300 companies.
3 The growth has not just been in Singapore. Growth in Asia was nothing short of phenomenal with a ten-fold jump in the number of users, bringing it to 7.6million last year. Dataquest projects this figure to grow to about 35 million users in four years time. The Yankee Group has an aggressive outlook for broadband in Asia with projected revenue of US$5 billion in 2003.
The Challenges Ahead
4 But the future is, of course, not purely rosy. The general economic outlook for computers, online businesses and the internet is mixed. Start-ups which have not yet IPO-ed may face funding challenges. We therefore have a particular challenge at the start of 2001 for the industry to move ahead and for Singapore to maintain the broadband advantage. Let me outline three key challenges that the broadband industry players in Singapore will have to address in our bid to move ahead.
5 The first challenge will be for industry players to see how they can monetize their contents & services. Till today, businesses worldwide are still exploring different ways to arrive at a viable and sustainable revenue model for broadband content and services. We have lived through the initial phase and are able to reflect on our experiences, good and not-so-good. Some of the largest global media companies have acknowledged that they are having difficulties with their broadband business models. My own view is that companies, individually, may find it a long and hard process to move ahead on their own. But if companies with complementary skills can come together to offer a strong value proposition; if they explore how they can repackage their content and services; consider revenue sharing models; or even come up with new and imaginative solutions to capture the market as a whole; we may have a winner. This is where I see the Broadband Media Association being able to come in to provide a platform for companies to interact with each other, share experiences and in the process create joint alliances and ventures between companies to address market challenges.
6 Second, companies will need to globalise if they want to survive and prosper in the competitive market. By investing early in a national-wide infrastructure, by positioning Singapore as an early adopter of broadband technology and an innovator in broadband applications, our broadband companies have an advantage over their competitors in terms of knowledge and experience garnered over the past two years. Aggressive efforts to raise the number of local users was to create a test market for offerings. But the local market is insufficient. The question is therefore how companies can capitalise on this advantage to expand beyond Singapore and capture a good slice of the global broadband market. Again, this may be difficult for individual companies to do alone. If companies can work together to leverage off each other's regional and global connections, the global market is within reach. IDA will work with you to develop access and linkages to these global markets.
7 The third challenge will be the need for companies to continually innovate in order to stay on top of the market. 3G wireless will usher in the era of always-on, always-connected, go-anywhere and do-anything communications. I urge the broadband content, service and technology providers to start considering how you can repackage, adapt or enable businesses to move on to the wireless platform. With the development of multiple platforms and delivery channels, content will be like a liquid asset. As quoted in Michael Wolf's "The Entertainment Economy" - "The message is now independent of the medium." The key will not only be for content providers to enable and distribute their content over multiple platforms, but also for the whole broadband value chain to see how they can support and enable the delivery of such content and services over multiple devices and platforms.
8 IDA recognises the challenges ahead. But we remain totally convinced of the strong logic of broadband and that it will continue to develop at an accelerating pace. IDA will announce in the following months various efforts to help address the evolving challenges. We will continue in our efforts to help develop the broadband industry, create a competitive environment and promote innovation. In particular, we will focus on developing a strong broadband industry that can make an impact in the world. IDA is delighted that the industry has organised itself with the formation of the Broadband Media Association. With BMA playing an active role, the industry can come together to address common issues that affect the industry as a whole, and to collaborate for growth. IDA will work closely with the Association. Together, I am confident that we can better ensure the growth and development of broadband in Singapore and Asia this year and in the years ahead.
9 May I take the opportunity to congratulate the Broadband Media Association on your official launch and to wish you every success in your endeavours.