Mr Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, Industry Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore Appreciation Address - The e-Celebrations 2003 Finale, Suntec Tropics Atrium

Mr Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, Industry
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Appreciation Address - The e-Celebrations 2003 Finale, Suntec Tropics Atrium
Singapore, 18 March 2004

eClasp sponsors,
eCelebrations co-organisers,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon

Growing Base of Online Shoppers Comes Next

1. The tagline "A Season of Celebrations" was used for the fourth e-Celebrations campaign launched in June last year. From this, we organized 4 thematic seasons - Security & Trust in July; Telecommuting in August/September; Q-Busting in Nov/December; and last but not least, digital fun taking place in the 2 months until now. Today, I am pleased to share and celebrate with you the achievements of this 12 months long campaign and thank more than 100 organizations that have partnered with IDA further develop Singapore's e-inclusive society through the last year.

2. e-Celebrations has made good progress in spearheading our e-inclusion movement. Last year, IDA carried out a survey on Singapore's Infocomm Household Usage patterns. Let me share with you some interesting findings from this survey. 74% of households owned at least one computer. This is a significant rise of 15% from 1999 when it was 59% of households. At least two out of three of Singapore households have Internet connectivity, a 50% increase from 1999 when two out of five households had internet connectivity. But the most encouraging news is that more than half of our population, or 2.1m people, are Internet users. The number of Internet users has increased 30% annually since 1999!

3. Moving forward, IDA will focus on usage in our efforts to get people to embrace and benefit from an e-lifestyle. After all, the achievement of a connected nation is measured not just by the number of machines and lines but also by the number of people who actually use them and the extent of usage.

4. Last year, Singapore was named the second most networked-ready nation in the world. But many Singaporeans still have some ways to go in being savvy Internet users. While our level of awareness of Internet applications and services rates highly, averaging 85% in 2002, usage of internet applications is not as broad-based. We all know that many users broadly used email, but only one fifth of users tried online shopping, two-fifth picked up online games and half of the users tried downloading software and content across the internet. There is still room for growth even though these figures have moved up over the past four years.

5. Last year with the invasion of SARS, many Singaporeans discovered the usefulness of the Internet. For those on home quarantine, telecommuting made it possible for them to continue to work from home. For those with broadband connectivity, working from home was a relative breeze. Those who were unable to travel to important meetings in affected countries soon found teleconferencing to be a way to continue with their work. For teachers and students, lessons continued as usual through online learning. For those who need to shop, online shopping enabled them to shop while avoiding unnecessary physical contact.

6. Although SARS caught Singapore by surprise, many adapted quickly because they were able to use the Internet - to be connected anytime, anywhere. Unfortunately those who were not Infocomm literate had their lives almost completely disrupted.

Discover Better Ways to Do Things

7. While the government has a role to play in providing opportunities to connect everyone, individuals must also help themselves by learning core Internet skills. One way is to participate in The Great Singapore Surf that will be taking place this coming weekend at the Nanyang Polytechnic. In fact, about 7,000 people have already signed up for the training. This 7-hour training will be a good starting point for those who lack the skills to get online. Being Infocomm literate opens the door to new horizons and exciting ways to do useful things in a more efficient and effective way. For example, every November, parents like me perform an annual ritual. Armed with booklists, we go to our children's schools to queue in long lines to buy our children's books and then lug them home. If we cannot find the book, then we end up searching all over town to buy it. During the Q-Busting month last Nov/Dec, e-Celebrations put an end to this ordeal by partnering with textbook stockists to offer online textbook purchase. I don't know about other parents but this is one big welcoming move to me and I sure am glad to be connected!

8. Moving on, IDA will identify gaps or obstacles why some Internet users are slow in becoming savvy users and why non-Internet users shy away. IDA will then take steps in removing their barriers to becoming connected.

e-Celebrations 2004 to Draw More Online Shoppers

9. One key area that IDA will look into is online shopping. We found that most Internet users steer clear from online shopping because they are concerned about personal security and trust. e-Celebrations 2004 will focus on helping Internet users better understand the processes of online transactions and their rights as online consumers. Together with the National Trust Council, we have developed the TrustSg seal to instill online consumer confidence. The TrustSg seal is a quality mark put up by online merchants who have passed a test to show that they have put in place established best practices to deliver customer satisfaction and quality service. IDA has been working closely with the National Trust Council and TrustSg merchants to ensure that every TrustSg customer is a happy customer. This campaign will kick off next week. Through public education on TrustSg, IDA will address consumers' concerns about security and trust. In order to succeed, we need merchants who subscribe to e-business best practices to offer quality products and services to draw more online shoppers. If you already have an online shopfront, I urge you to seek TrustSg accreditation and join IDA in developing a TrustSg Mall that offers great shopping experience in a trusted environment. You may contact CASE and CommerceTrust to get certified to use the TrustSg mark.

10. e-Celebrations have been IDA's vehicle to promote e-lifestyle but sponsors and co-organisers are key to the success of this campaign. It is only with the strategic alliance and support of organizations like yours that enable e-Celebrations to provide engaging activities, encouraging everyone to actively live an e-lifestyle. Much of our success in building an e-inclusion society goes to our eClasp sponsors and co-organisers, so I would like to take this occasion to thank you for your significant contribution to the e-inclusion movement.

11. With this, I invite you to relax and enjoy the Digital Fun exhibition. There is an activity to suit every digital enthusiast - try your hand at digital photograph enhancement, be inspired by local animation creators and for the ladies among us, take up the challenge of beating the guys in online games by joining an all-female online games clan! It's a season for celebrations and going digital is one sure way to have fun.

12. Thank you.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023