Yong Ying-I, Chief Executive Officer, IDA Singapore - Speech Java Tarik II Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony, Sheraton Towers Hotel

Yong Ying-I, Chief Executive Officer, IDA Singapore - Speech
Java Tarik II Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony, Sheraton Towers Hotel

Singapore, 27 January 2000

1. First, let me thank Sun Microsystems for inviting me to speak at today's signing of the Java Tarik II MOU between Sun Microsystems, Nanyang Technology University and IDA.

2. As the newspapers have put it, this has been a tumultuous week for infocommunications. As this is my first speech since our announcement last Friday that full market competition in telecommunications would be brought forward by two years, to 1 Apr this year, I thought I should begin with a few words about our rationale for this move, and how it relates to Singapore's broader ambitions on infocommunications.

3. The liberalisation of basic telecommunications services is driven essentially by Singapore's desire to be one of the largest infocommunications hub in Asia. For us to achieve this, we have to be an attractive location for businesses across the entire spectrum of the digital value chain. We aim to be a choice location in Asia for content creators, content aggregators, access providers or portals, communications infrastructure providers, web infrastructure service providers, software developers, systems integrators, as well as for supporting services like legal and financial services. We must be attractive to all these components, because the cluster effect is critical to growth. Each of these relies on a globally competitive telecommunications environment as the critical backbone for their businesses. It is to support these industries that we need an open and globally competitive telecommunications industry, with global players offering a wide range of innovative, high quality and cost-effective services.

4. Our next step, post-announcement, is to market Singapore aggressively to potential investors across the infocommunications industry, and to help grow our local players. In other words, we will actively sell Singapore to the portals, the web server farms, the content creators, packagers and aggregators, and the delivery platform companies. Indeed, the Economic Development Board of Singapore (EDB) & IDA officers met bright and early at 7.30 am on Sat morning to coordinate our marketing plans. An IDA team left for the US on Sunday, armed with details of our liberalisation announcement.

5. We will also work aggressively with companies located here, both foreign and local, to help them grow their businesses. A core part of the strategy is to leverage the strengths of global players to help local enterprises in a win-win partnership. This leads me to the Java Tarik II MOU being signed today. This MOU builds on the successful collaboration between Sun and the government in building capabilities in Java under the Java Tarik I MOU between the then National Computer Board (NCB), the Information Technological Institute (ITI), the forerunner of Kent Ridge Digital Lab, and Sun. I am pleased that the Java Tarik I initiatives are progressing well. For example, the Asia Java Fund has already grown to US$58m; the Java Competency Centre has expanded in scope, with a doubling of technical manpower from 7 to 15 engineers; and last but not least, currently 14 local partners have already joined Sun's very active LIUP partnership.

6. As Singapore strives to become the ICT hub for online business and e-commerce, we need to form more such collaborative partnerships with the industry. Singapore has succeeded in computerising the nation. We now need to see Singaporean businesses and Singaporeans go online. To reach this next level, it is important that Singapore-based companies possess world class capabilities in the delivery of quality services via the Internet. This is good business: the Application Service Providers (ASP) market promises immense growth potential. Datamonitor forecasts a global ASP market of US$5.1 billion by 2001.

7. I am therefore delighted that the initiatives under this MOU will help Singapore build up capabilities to provide quality services online, and will transfer skills and best practices in ASP services. It will also improve the chances of start-ups to successfully commercialise their online businesses by designing comprehensive programmes to help them from start-up to commercialisation. It will also provided the needed facilities for developing innovative ASP and e-commerce solutions. I am grateful to NTU for participating in this collaboration, as we believe that close academic-industry collaboration is a core component of successfully transferring skills.

8. IDA and SUN will also jointly offer five scholarships for students to pursue ICT-related degrees at a local institute of higher learning and to undertake research projects at the Competency Centre.

9. The Java Tarik II is a fine example of the multi-party collaboration and strategic alliances needed for survival in the new networked economy. In the new networked economy, no single entity can thrive in isolation. As companies focus on core competencies for greater efficiency, they will need to rely on their value chain partners to create greater value and sustainable advantages, be it better channel management or access to a bigger customer base.

10. Let me take this opportunity to urge other industry leaders in the audience, especially the MNCs, to help us further develop Singapore's strategic ICT capabilities. It is a win-win partnership. While local ICT players can gain immensely from your technical expertise and marketing reach, you can also reap benefits from the innovative solutions of the local firms and research community. On our part, IDA will do our utmost to help foster such collaboration.

11. To conclude, my thanks and congratulations to Sun Microsystems and NTU for collaborating with IDA on Java Tarik II.

12. Thank you.