Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications & the Arts Speech - the Launch of Singapore Solutions Centre, in Raffles City, Shanghai
Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications & the Arts
Speech - the Launch of Singapore Solutions Centre, in Raffles City, Shanghai
China, 20 April 2004
Good morning Mr Fu Wen Biao, Director-General of Shanghai Informatisation Commission,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
I am very happy to be here today to mark this special occasion. In particular, I would like to thank Director-General Fu for taking time to join us at this launch.
This is a significant event for both the Singapore government and our infocomm companies as this is the first software solutions centre that we are launching outside of Singapore. The choice of China-Shanghai, as the first country and city for us to launch the centre demonstrates the close cooperation that Singapore and China have forged over the years as well as Singapore enterprises' strong interest and confidence in the opportunities that China in general and Shanghai in particular can offer in the infocomm sector.
Building on a Strong Foundation of Bilateral Relations
Over the past 25 years, the transformation and rapid growth of the Chinese economy has been one of the brightest spots in the global market and global economy. China's GDP has expanded at a phenomenal rate of over 8 percent per annum. This extraordinary growth over such a long period of time is indeed unprecedented in recent history.
When China opened its market in 1978, Singapore was the first country in Southeast Asia to invest in its economic modernization. This has intensified significantly since the establishment of our bilateral relationship in 1990. Now, as globalization gains momentum, our economic links and mutual cooperation are growing stronger and even more fruitful.
Bilateral trade between China and Singapore has grown 7 times over the last 12 years to more than US$21 billion in 2003. Our companies have also made close to US$40 billion worth of investments in China through the years. The number of Singapore investment projects in China exceeded 10,000. More recently, Chinese companies have also looked to Singapore for opportunities especially to take advantage of our equities market. In response to the Chinese government's call to "Zhou Chu Qu", 41 Chinese enterprises have already listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange and used Singapore as their launch pad to Asia. Such strong collaboration has made us China's 7th largest FDI source and 8th largest trading partner, while China is Singapore's 5th largest trading partner .
The proposed FTA between China and ASEAN will further strengthen the links between our countries in the region. This FTA when realised will bring together China and ASEAN's trading partners to leverage on the consumer power of a total population of 1.7 billion people. This trade pact will in effect become the largest trade agreement in the world.
Promoting Greater Sino-Singapore Economic Cooperation
China has been a keen user of infocomm technology. The pace of penetration of infocomm technology in big Chinese cities like Shanghai has been very rapid. For instance in Shanghai, over the last 5 years, mobile phone users increased more than 5 folds to 11 million, and internet users grew 4 times to 4.3 million. The emergence of a highly-connected and IT-savvy society within China will not only enhance the quality of life for the Chinese people, but will also power its transformation into a digital economy. This will also have profound implications for the regional markets and spur further economic growth for the rest of Asia.
We must also applaud China for its proactiveness in strengthening regional cooperation in bridging the digital divide. The Shanghai Municipal Government is leading China's efforts to cooperate with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs to organise the annual Forum on City Informatization in the Asia Pacific Region (CIAPR), which will be held for the fourth time here in Shanghai a month from now. This initiative provides very useful opportunities for high-level exchanges on how to stimulate economic and social development in the Asia-Pacific and elsewhere through the application of information technology.
Globally, the application of infocomm technology will increasingly have a critical bearing on the success of many companies faced with severe competition. Many Chinese companies are going to be in similar position. In particular, with China's entry into the WTO, we believe Chinese companies will soon have to make more investments in their infocomm system so as to be connected to the global economic system and remain at the forefront of competition.
This impending changes will be another opportunity for China and Singapore to share and learn from each other's experiences in tapping the potential of infocomm technology to enhance economic performance. Singapore infocomm companies' experience and expertise in developing IT solutions for the Singapore government and international clients over the past two decades have been recognised internationally. For example, the World Economic Forum in its Global Information Technology Report for the year 2003 to 2004 named Singapore the second most IT savvy nation in the world after US.
Today, Singapore has nationwide broadband access for our homes, schools and businesses. Over three quarters of our companies use Internet for their business while our mobile penetration rate is over 84%. On the e-Government front, we already have more than 1,600 e-services and we had launched the second phase of our e-government action plan to roll out more advanced and comprehensive integrated e-government services for Singaporeans.
SSC - A New Milestone for China-Singapore ICT Collaboration
We hope that by leveraging on the strong government and economic ties and the deep cultural rapport between Singapore and China, we can catalyze even more opportunities for collaboration between Chinese and Singapore companies. Our mission is to help more enterprises in China tap the full benefits and advantages offered by infocomm technology.
As an further endorsement of our strong commitment to work with China as a long-term infocomm partner, I am pleased to announce today that the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore and Singapore infocomm Technology Federation have committed close to 15 million Renminbi to establish a Singapore Solutions Centre in Shanghai.
This centre will showcase Singapore infocomm companies which have contributed significantly to our infocomm development and regional hub status in sectors as Transport, Logistics, Healthcare and Financial Services. The 19 companies participating in this initiative are led by cluster leaders who have extensive knowledge and experience in these four domains. All companies within the Singapore Solutions Centre or SSC will offer a complementary suite of integrated solutions that have been tried, tested, and in some cases, won awards in Singapore and overseas. The SSC will offer many Chinese companies easy access to these tested, proven and highly-acclaimed infocomm competencies accumulated by 19 of our leading industry players.
One of our cluster leaders Singapore Computer Systems, has recently secured a contract valued at more than 10 million Renminbi with Beijing TongRen Hospital. With the implementation of SCS' solution, TongRen will be one of the first hospitals in China to deploy a fully computerised hospital information and management system. This new partnership augurs well for the SSC. It provides a good start for the SSC. I hope it will lead to more new opportunities for collaboration between our companies.
This new venture will add momentum to the continuing and fruitful collaborations between China and Singapore. On this note, I would like to thank Director-General Fu and the Shanghai Municipal government for giving the Singapore Solutions Centre their full support.
The Singapore Solutions Centre will usher in a new era of cooperation between the enterprises of our two countries. I congratulate the SiTF, IDA, the 19 cluster members and many others who have made this project possible.