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eBids - Accelerating e-Commerce Development & Growth in Singapore

Mr Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister for Communications & Information Technology Address - Official Launch of BecomeCo., Suntec Singapore

Mr Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister for Communications & Information Technology
Address - Official Launch of BecomeCo., Suntec Singapore
Singapore, 19 October 2000

1. I am very happy to be here today at the launch of the BecomeCo programme, which is designed to be an e-commerce, or EC, accelerator. Through this program, Commerce Exchange will provide ready e-infrastructure and e-business solutions to their customers and speed up the transformation of local enterprises from the traditional to the Internet way of doing business. This will facilitate the entry of SMEs into the global eMarketplace, so that they can quickly participate and benefit from EC.

2. About two months ago, I had announced strategies to "Dotcom the Private Sector" as part of the Infocomm21 Strategic Plan. In particular, I highlighted that enhancing the e-Business infrastructure and the broad-based adoption strategies of local enterprises are vital if we are to increase the local online EC transactions.

3. The Internet Revolution has created a new business environment. For many local enterprises including new start-ups, e-Business provides new and challenging opportunities with tremendous business benefits and potential. For example, e-Business can be used to reach out to new international markets, optimise business processes, improve customer relationships, and reduce business costs. All these can potentially translate into real commercial value for companies.

4. Goldman Sachs Global Equity Research estimated in June this year that B2B E-Commerce in Asia is expected to reach S$ 765 billion by 2005. With Singapore voted as having the best EC infrastructure within the region by the World Competitiveness Yearbook, Singapore is well positioned to take advantage of the boom in B2B e-Commerce and significantly boost our EC transactions and transaction value.

5. In order for Singapore to achieve our goals and strengthen our position as an e-Business hub, local enterprises must recognise the need and the urgency to go online.

6. On its part, the Government has been very pro-active in promoting and encouraging local EC adoption. As early as in November 1998, the Government launched the S$9 Million Local Enterprise Electronic Commerce Programme or LECP (EC) to jump-start the mass adoption of EC for 500 local enterprises. This incentive programme has been very well accepted and utilised by the industry, and had helped to accelerate the adoption of EC in Singapore. Today, I am happy to announce that this programme has achieved its goals and objectives. It has approved and assisted more than 500 local enterprises in their EC adoption.

7. However, we will need to continue moving ahead quickly in this area. Based on industry feedback, the major concern faced by the local SMEs are the costs of investment, security and reliability of EC. We must address these issues if we are to realise our vision of becoming a major international e-Business Hub.

8. The Government has therefore decided to introduce a new incentive programme called e-Business Industry Development Scheme or eBIDS for short. This is an enhanced scheme that will further strengthen the adoption of e-Business and increase EC transactions between businesses in Singapore. eBIDS will come into operation on 1 December 2000, with a S$30 million fund to assist and ease the problem of costs in e-Business knowledge acquisition, technology transfer and e-Business value creation.

9. There are two major components within eBIDS. One component will continue supporting the Local Enterprise's e-Business infrastructure needs. The objective of the other component is to increase the number of companies doing online business, the number of transactions and the total EC value for Singapore.

10. The first component will be managed by PSB. In essence, it will build upon the existing Local Enterprise EC Programme. Whilst the current Programme funds only one EC project per company, capped at $20,000, the new component will allow for greater flexibility. Local enterprises can now apply for multiple rounds of funding for several EC projects, provided the total funding per company does not exceed $20,000.

11. The scope of funding will also be expanded to include the provision of applications through the Application Service Provider, or ASP, Model. It will fund applications such as customer relationship management, electronic resource planning and supply chain management.

12. While the infrastructure needs are being fulfilled, it is critical that we use this infrastructure effectively. The second component of eBIDS will target companies that already have existing EC capabilities and wish to further expand on them. This will include EC exchanges and hubs. This component of eBIDS seeks to encourage e-business value creation. It will provide incentive grants to e-business projects, aimed not only at increasing EC transactions, but also at increasing e-business value and bringing more companies online. IDA is prepared to fund companies proportionately based on the total EC value created, up to a maximum of $500,000. The funding will be tied to the actual online transaction value brought about by the proposed project, and will be limited to one e-business project per year per eligible company. IDA will manage this programme.

13. With eBIDS, we expect to see e-Business continuing to grow strongly. This will no doubt contribute positively to Singapore's position as a major e-business hub. I would urge and encourage the industry to continue working closely with the government on strategies and programmes to remove barriers, promote e-Business opportunities, and facilitate companies in their transformation into the new online economy.

14. With that, let me end by extending my heartiest congratulations to Commerce Exchange for the launch of its program today. The company is targeting to bring up to 10,000 local enterprises' onto the EC platform within the next 2 years. This ties in very well with our plans to dot-com the private sector. I wish you success in the exciting years ahead.