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Singapore Paves the Way as Trusted Global E-Commerce Hub

Six strategic thrusts to dotcom the private sector, which constitute the core of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore's (IDA) Infocomm21 blueprint, are vital to the development of e-commerce (EC) in Singapore, reported Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Mr Yeo Cheow Tong.

Singapore, 1 August 2000 | For Immediate Release

Six strategic thrusts to dotcom the private sector, which constitute the core of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore's (IDA) Infocomm21 blueprint, are vital to the development of e-commerce (EC) in Singapore, reported Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Mr Yeo Cheow Tong. Speaking to infocomm industry leaders at IDA's Infocomm21 Leadership Dialogue, the Minister emphasised the importance of initiatives in infrastructure, manpower and consumer education to the country's efforts to become a regional and global infocomm hub.

Today's event, held at the Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre, focused on generating industry feedback about the ambitious plan. A comprehensive Infocomm21 report will be issued in about one month's time, after the feedback has been analysed. Today's speech carried the final announcement in a series of Infocomm21 initiatives launched since January 2000. The announcements were: the liberalisation of the telecommunications market, helping Singaporeans go online, developing infocomm manpower and talent, building Singapore's infocomm industry, and gearing Singapore up to be a leading eGovernment.

The six strategies announced today seek to develop Singapore into a trusted global hub in the net economy, where online EC transactions1 and net-savvy talent are pervasive, leading the way to foster an online e-lifestyle.

Strategy I - Laying a Robust Foundation for E-Business

The telecommunications industry is a major supporting component to EC delivery. To enable Singapore to be the EC hub in this region, the Singapore Government is committed to make continuous revision of tariff or pricing regulation to make EC infrastructure services more affordable.

To put in place a secure, trust-worthy and safe environment for EC activities, a clear and transparent policy and regulatory framework is necessary to build greater trust among companies to allow for electronic transactions. This will also create higher levels of confidence for online businesses against fraud and abuse. The government aims to facilitate a well-defined, common and consistent EC framework, in which the legality of cyberspace activities is made clearer for a pro-EC environment. The framework focused on four areas, including Media Commerce; Cyber-Security; Privacy Protection; and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR); and will be developed in consultation with the industry and public.

The government will look into distinguishing the content or application providers from those who merely host content on behalf of others, with the aim to exempt liability of the content "hosters" for the content that belong to their customers. This is to encourage data hubbing centres to be based in Singapore, without the fear of being held accountable for undesirable content created by others. This is part of a larger policy review of online content. The Electronic Transactions Act (ETA) will be reviewed to incorporate the latest global legal developments. To ensure that personal data is protected, the National Internet Advisory Committee (NIAC) has drawn up an EC consumer data protection code. IDA is also studying the experiences of other countries on co-regulation for privacy protection and will be recommending a suite of responses to deal with these challenges in a more holistic manner. We will continue to work with lead governmental agencies to ensure that our legal framework for intellectual property is adequate to address both industry and consumer concerns.

IDA will continue to implement and enhance critical EC infrastructure services, such as secure and reliable payment, digital delivery, security services, directory services and business commerce solutions. IDA will facilitate the industry's development and deployment of new, innovative and leading edge infrastructure services, such as wireless mobile commerce. We will also encourage the development of third-party application services, which are essential to enable successful EC penetration in Singapore. These services include Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) portals, Application Service Providers (ASP) and Incubators.

Strategy II - Catalysing the Digital Transformation

Acting as a catalyst, IDA will take both a broad-based and a sector-specific approach to promote EC penetration and adoption in the industry.

Under the broad-based strategy to encourage a wide range of brick-and-mortar companies to go online, IDA will support the Singapore Productivity and Standards Board (PSB) to build up the Small and Medium Enterprises' (SMEs) EC capabilities. To encourage sector-specific adoption of EC, different strategies have been developed for key economic sectors that contribute to Singapore's growth. These sectors are trading, manufacturing, logistics, financial vertical sectors and the e-learning horizontal sector.

IDA, together with Trade Development Board (TDB) and other government agencies, will seek and encourage B2B exchanges within and outside the region to use Singapore as a hub. These agencies will also develop electronic trading platforms with companies in key marketplaces. This will be done through strategic alliances with technology and service providers as well as co-funding their development. IDA and TDB will also support Singapore Commodity Exchange's efforts in the development of an electronic marketplace for rubber and other commodities within the next six months.

Under Economic Development Board's (EDB) Industry 21 blueprint, IDA is working with EDB and the industry to define and adopt common IT standards to enhance seamless B2B documents exchange among companies for the electronic cluster. For the chemical cluster, IDA is working with EDB and Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) to enhance Jurong Island as a world-class petrochemical hub through extensive use of infocomm technology. The areas identified are electronic procurement, inbound and outbound chemical logistics, e-learning and multi-media services.

In TDB's Logistics IT Action Plan, IDA and TDB will channel efforts to upgrade the infocomm capabilities of the logistics industry via piloting and deploying emerging technologies that will improve productivity and reduce overall business cost.

Financial Vertical Sectors
IDA will work with Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore Exchange (SGX), EDB and National Science and Technology Board (NSTB) to spearhead e-finance programmes, which include e-capital market; e-banking and e-insurance; and outsourcing processing centre for regional financial markets. The aim is to establish Singapore as a regional e-finance hub.

E-Learning Horizontal Sectors
IDA together with other key government agencies will build Singapore's workforce capabilities and sharpen its business competitiveness through facilitating pilot e-learning programmes for the key economic sectors. In addition, an E-Learning Standard Technical Committee for Singapore will be formed. A first in Singapore, where publishing industry partners, infocomm companies, user agencies and learning service providers work together to achieve interoperability and reusability of e-learning resources. This committee will represent the local e-learning industry for communications with e-learning standards bodies in other parts of the world, as well as support e-learning collaborations in the industry.

IDA will also work with companies on projects that involve innovation and develop new capabilities within the e-learning industry. To encourage innovations, IDA will provide assistance through the various incentives schemes, such as the Innovation Development Scheme (IDS) and Education Local Industry Upgrading Programme (Education LIUP). This initiative complements EDB's existing programmes to attract world-class universities to set up a Singapore presence and develop Singapore into the e-learning hub.

Strategy III - Spurring Consumer Demand

The government aims to promote the development of trust marks to enable the widespread adoption of B2C EC transactions anytime, anywhere. IDA will work with key government agencies, such as Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and PSB to implement a two-pronged approach in enabling Singapore to be a trusted global e-consumer hub.

To promote a B2C eMarketplace, educational and awareness programmes will be implemented to proliferate online customers, which include regular online fairs and e-consumer events.

To build consumer confidence, IDA, with STB and PSB, will drive programmes to educate businesses on ethical best practices and review EC privacy and security policies. Merchant accreditation through the use of trust marks, trust labels and third party certification processes will be provided. IDA aims to achieve 2000 trust marks for local online B2C e-tailers over 2 years.

Strategy IV - Branding Singapore as a Trusted Global "" Hub and an E-Business Thought Leadership Centre

To ensure high local hub activities and elevate Singapore as a centre for thought leadership, the government will groom promising local enterprises and work closely with them to identify market opportunities in the region, as well as to facilitate their expansion into the regional and international markets.

IDA will concurrently work with other governmental agencies to attract world-class international EC companies to hub in Singapore. The government will facilitate strategic alliances amongst the overseas and Singapore-based companies to jointly establish EC infrastructure and application services in Singapore.

To jumpstart e-business ventures in the region, IDA will partner industry players to set up business centres in strategic countries. These centres serve as one-stop points-of-presence, providing suite of associated business related services, offering business intelligence of the environment and facilitating business matchmaking. Overseas companies can also set up business links through these centres to enter the Singapore market.

Recognising human capital, knowledge, skills and ideas as key drivers in the new online economy, IDA will organise and support industry networking sessions to enable dotcom technopreneurs to interact and share experiences.

The government will actively work with industry partners and universities to promote Singapore as the thought leader for e-Business. Programmes in the pipeline include the establishment of EC Centres of Excellence, development of case studies and research in e-Business best practices and business models, seminars to study successes and pitfalls of EC, and blueprint on EC indicators. For example, IDA co-partnered with Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Consultants Singapore to produce a report on Thought Leadership in e-Business. Titled "Developing the Electronic Business Value (EBV) Framework", the report serves as a guide to assist companies in identifying and prioritising the potential EC opportunities.

Strategy V - Attracting Top Talents

To support the increasing growth of EC, changes to the infocomm job market have created an impact to the domestic labour environment. In March 2000, the Manpower Development strategic thrust under Infocomm21 was announced. This aims to produce and attract sufficient highly skilled manpower in the infocomm industry.2

Strategy VI - Fostering an E-Lifestyle and Bridging the Digital Divide

To help Singaporeans go online, S$25 million has been set aside to enable every citizen to be adept in using infocomm technology, so as to reap the benefits of an enhanced e-lifestyle. The announcement made in March 2000 centres on five strategic thrusts: improve access for all; change mindsets; promote online culture; nurture e-Ambassadors and spawn e-Communities; and develop multilingual Internet content.2


With expected strong EC growth to continue and accelerate, IDA will work with the private, public and people sectors to make the " the Private Sector" a success. The private sector will provide the infrastructure services, B2B and B2C offerings, while the public sector drives both the Government-to-Business (G2B) and Government-to-Consumer (G2C) initiatives. These strategies put in place will allow the people sector to be infocomm-savvy to participate in B2C, G2C and Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) online activities.

For more details on the above strategies, please refer to the fact sheet in the press kit - Infocomm21: Dotcom the Private Sector.

Notes to Editor:

1 E-Commerce transactions: The broad definition of Electronic Commerce transaction is the sale or purchase of goods or services, whether between businesses, households, individuals, governments, and other public or private organisations, conducted over computer-mediated networks.

2 Infocomm21 is IDA's blueprint for harnessing information communication technologies for national competitiveness and improving our quality of life. The blueprint articulates the vision, goal and strategies that would facilitate the development of our infocomm industry over the next five years, and move Singapore into the ranks of the 'first world economies' of the Net Age. More information on Infocomm21 can be located at under Infocomm21.

About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is a dynamic organisation with an integrated perspective to developing, promoting and regulating info-communications in Singapore. In the fast-changing and converging spheres of telecommunications, information and media technologies, IDA will be the catalyst for change and growth in Singapore's evolution into a vibrant global info-communications technology centre. For more information, visit


For media clarifications, please contact:

Ms Jennifer Toh
Assistant Manager, Corporate Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: +65 211 0508
Fax: +65 211 2227

Ms Chia Sher Ling
Manager, Corporate Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: +65 211 1840
Fax: +65 211 2227

Ms Dulcie Chan 
Manager, Corporate Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: +65 211 1999
Fax: +65 211 2227