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Launch of the Asia Pacific Headquarters of Sterling Commerce

Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister-of-State for Communications & Information Technology, and Trade & Industry - Speech at launch of the Asia Pacific Headquarters of Sterling Commerce

Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister-of-State for Communications & Information Technology, and Trade & Industry - Speech at launch of the Asia Pacific Headquarters of Sterling Commerce
Singapore, 20 July 1999

Mr Don Bryan, Vice President, Sterling Commerce
Mr James Kang, Regional Managing Director
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good evening

1. I am very happy to be here to celebrate the launch of Sterling Commerce's Asia Pacific Headquarters in Singapore. Sterling Commerce is a Fortune Global 500 company. It is one of leading global providers of business-to-business e-Commerce software and value-added services in the world. The decision by Sterling Commerce to locate its Asia Pacific HQ here in Singapore is a strong display of your confidence in Singapore, and a strong endorsement of Singapore as an emerging e-Commerce hub. On behalf of the Government of Singapore, I welcome you to Singapore, and we look forward to strengthening the partnership between Sterling Commerce and Singapore.

2. E-commerce is growing fast. On a global scale, the number of Internet users is expected to reach 300 million, and e-Commerce is projected to exceed US$1 trillion by the year 2002, which is only three years from now. We are seeing the same trend of rapid growth in Singapore too. In a survey conducted by the Department of Statistics recently, it was revealed that the revenue for business- to-business e-commerce (including both Internet and closed networks) had broken the S$1 billion mark to reach $1.2 billion in 1998. We can expect the volume and total value of e-Commerce transactions to growth strongly in the coming years.

3. Recognising the huge potential of e-Commerce, the Singapore Government has taken concrete steps to position Singapore as a global node and regional hub in e-Commerce. We launched the Electronic Commerce Masterplan last year and are making good progress in implementing the plan. We have updated our legal framework through the passing of the Electronic Transaction Act. We are also strengthening our infrastructure services for e-Commerce, as well as enlarging our pool of IT and e-Commerce manpower, both local and foreign talents. All these initiatives are aimed at creating a conducive environment to support the global expansion of e-Commerce in the Asia Pacific region.

4. Besides strengthening our capabilities in the cyberspace, we are using IT to strengthen the physical aspects of e-Commerce as well, such as physical delivery of goods. This is why we launched the IT masterplan for the logistics industry last week. The goal of the industry is to offer new and better services to create a coherent and integrated environment that will support the full value chain of e-commerce activities, from initial orders and requests, right through to delivery of the items at the customer's doorstep.

5. At the national level, we are now formulating the ICT 21. Our vision is to transform Singapore into a dynamic and vibrant global Info-communication technology capital with a thriving and prosperous Net Economy by the year 2010. We want to harness the full potential of ICT in each and every major economic sector, and position Singapore as a global e-commerce hub in the Asia Pacific.

6. Sterling Commerce's decision to use Singapore as its home base in Asia is fully in-line with our ICT 21 vision. We welcome your establishment of a R&D laboratory to develop e-commerce products and solutions for the global market; the relocation of Commerce Services Group to Singapore and the establishment of a call centre; and the co-development of an XML/EDI pilot with the Singapore Article Number Council to introduce new industry standard to vertical markets such as the pharmaceutical, petro- chemical, electronics and retail. Your expertise and capabilities will certainly help jumpstart e-commerce in many industries in the region. This is a fine example of the type of win-win partnership that Singapore seeks with global players.

7. In closing, I would like to congratulate the management and staff of Sterling Commerce on the launch of their Asia Pacific HQ here in Singapore. We wish you every success in the exciting years ahead. Thank you.