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E-Commerce Developments in Singapore


Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development Group, IDA Singapore - Speech Launch of World of Sports Website

Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development Group, IDA Singapore - Speech
Launch of World of Sports Website 

1. I am very glad to be here this morning at the launch of World of Sport's online business. It is a pleasure to see an important player in the retail industry making a strategic move into e-commerce. I would like to commend you on your vision and commitment in realising your online strategy today.

2. Singapore believes that the new century will be the Internet century. We are excited by the potential it offers and we are determined to make sure that the nation is ready to compete. This is the basic rationale for the announcement two weeks ago to bring forward the introduction of full market competition in the telecommunications sector  by 2 years, from 1 April 2002 to 1 April this year.

3. This move reflects the dramatic changes in the world landscape in the last few years. Telecommunications, IT, media, entertainment and electronics are converging. The Internet has become very closely inter-woven into the fabric of commerce, industry and our daily lives. The average Internet user can transfer funds, buy goods such as airline tickets and sports goods, participate in auctions and so on by simply pointing and clicking the mouse.

4. Businesses have found the Net to be a strategic asset. They have incorporated ICT into their marketing, financial and corporate communication processes. Globalisation, spurred by the Internet, has also made businesses across all sectors rethink their business strategies.

5. For Singapore to maintain its competitive edge and remain a key player in the global economy, we must encourage the growth of a strong ICT sector. We need to exploit its technology by embedding it into our various economic Transaction processes, such as e-commerce, e-banking, e-purchasing, etc. In short, Singapore has to ride the new wave of progress made possible by ICT and become an active citizen of the global Net-Economy.

6. To achieve this, IDA's strategy is to "dot-com the 3 Ps": the public sector, the private sector and the people sector. One example of the initiatives we have been working on is the decision to lift import controls over cryptography products, which was announced 3 weeks ago. We have recognised that secure transmission of information is important to the growth of e-commerce, and is necessary for our effort to become a trusted hub for e-commerce. Our efforts will also include industry development initiatives to assist promising local enterprises and SMEs, building on our existing $9m LECP(EC) scheme. An E-Commerce Policy Helpdesk has been set up to help provide clarity to businesses. A manpower programme will also be in place to ensure that our people have the skills to compete in this growth business. The Government will take the lead in being a strategic user in conducting business and providing services online.

7. It is the private sector, however, that is taking the lead to explore new opportunities in this area.Most of you will have noticed the huge surge in the number of stories of local start-ups venturing into e-commerce. We at IDA have also begun to hear about many young professionals who are turning their hand to entrepreneurship.The region is also growing rapidly. The latest figures from the Boston Consulting Group show that online retail revenues in the Asia Pacific region grew from less than US $1billion in 1998 to US$2.6 billion last year and are expected to rise to US$6 billion this year.

8. The latest IT Household Survey (193.63KB)  also reflects that readiness of our people for e-commerce. According to the findings, our household PC ownership stands at a high of 59%, higher than many first-world countries. Even more encouraging is the fact that 42% of homes are connected to the Internet. We expect that these numbers will increase significantly, especially in response to recent offers by our ISPs to provide free Internet access. This will create an even larger market for e-commerce.

9. On this note, I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to World of Sports at their launch today. My best wishes for an exciting and successful Internet future.


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