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Leong Keng Thai, Acting Chief Executive/Director-General (Telecom), IDA Singapore - Closing Remarks IX2002 Opening Plenary Programme, Suntec Singapore Singapore, 17 June 2002

Leong Keng Thai, Acting Chief Executive/Director-General (Telecom), IDA Singapore - Closing Remarks
IX2002 Opening Plenary Programme, Suntec Singapore
Singapore, 17 June 2002

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Willie started off the plenary session using the 3Cs to describe convergence and I would like to wrap up this morning's plenary session with the 3"C"s as well.

The first "C" being "Connectivity". Over the years, Singapore has put in place an infrastructure that enables everyone to be connected be it at home, school or work. We've achieved over 99% broadband coverage locally and have established good regional and international connectivity to more than 30 countries. Singaporeans to a large extent are connected and that is shown by our Internet penetration of over 48%, and 1 out of every 2 Internet users are on broadband. Our mobile penetration rate of 73% is also one of the highest. But the state of connectivity is just the first phase of getting everyone on board.

As we move on to our next phase of economic transformation - to remake Singapore into an economy powered by knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, the key is how businesses and even consumers can leverage on the use of Infocomm technologies to stay competitive and relevant in this increasingly globalised world. The advent of convergence as Willie has mentioned in his speech this morning will present a multitude of opportunities not only for businesses in the media, communications and IT sector but also for the other business sectors to develop new services or have a new channel to reach out to a bigger market. I think we have gained some insights from the speakers this morning on some of those possibilities.

The second "C" that I am referring to is the ability to be "Connected" and this does not refer to the physical connectivity that we have today but the connections or relationships that we can build within the region. Asia's potential is tremendous and it is Asia's own responsibility to work together to develop that potential, be it with the government or the industry. Earlier this morning, Acting Minister David Lim spoke on efforts required to build a pan-Asian market. We need to see how we can link up Asian cities and tap on each other's strengths in the Infocomm industry to work towards building win-win collaborations to create opportunities for Asia. There is a need for Asian cities to leverage off each other's strengths to generate mutual competitive benefits of our region. The industry can lead the way in some of these efforts to build the links. Our panelists this morning at the Connected Asia Panel have shared their visions and thoughts on this. I hope that you have found the discussions useful and enlightening as much as I did.

The third and final "C" is the need for "collaboration". In the new economy, the ability to constantly change, innovate and create value will determine one's competitive advantage and survival. Collaboration may be a means for companies to partner and leverage off each other's strengths to expand market share; develop new products and capabilities; and shorten learning cycles. It can also mean governments working together with different countries to leverage on each other's resources; private sector working with the government to develop new strategies; or working through business networks and industry associations to establish business opportunities and new markets. This conference is a good example of an industry collaboration where different companies and industry leaders came together with an industry association and pooled their resources to create a regional conference as a platform to exchange ideas and build better relationships.

At this juncture, I would like to extend my congratulations to Willie and his team at the SITF for their commendable efforts in putting this conference together. I would also like to thank all the distinguished speakers, especially those who have flown in from US, Europe and the region to make this event a success. This industry-led event is testimony to our efforts to build a more Connected Singapore and Asia.

I would like to end, since it is world-cup season, with a quote from Peter Reid, an English football club manager. He says that, "In football, if you stand still you go backwards". It is no different for Singapore where we cannot afford to stand still. In moving ahead, we will have to leverage on our connectivity to develop competitive advantages and new business opportunities; we need to work together with the region to help grow the Infocomm Industry in Asia and be able to collaborate with partners to leverage on the opportunities of the new economy.