David Lim, Acting Minister for Information, Communications & The Arts and Senior Minister of State for Defence - Address Celebratory Cocktail Reception, Equinox, Swissotel the Stamford Singapore ...

David Lim, Acting Minister for Information, Communications & The Arts and Senior Minister of State for Defence - Address Celebratory Cocktail Reception, Equinox, Swissotel the Stamford Singapore

27 January 2003

Mr Akinobu Kanasugi, Executive Vice President NEC and President of NEC Solutions,
Mr Noel Hon, Managing Director of NEC Singapore,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening.

Let me begin by extending my hearty congratulations to NEC for 25 years of successful operations in Singapore. I am delighted to join you in your celebrations, and to wish you another 25 years and more of success.

Secondly, may I congratulate Mr Kanasugi, on his imminent promotion to the position of President NEC. I understand that NEC Singapore operates under NEC Solutions, and they would be doubly proud that the President of their Division will be the President of the company.

Thirdly, I am delighted that NEC Singapore has been conferred the International Headquarters Award. May I congratulate NEC, especially Mr Noel Hon and his team, on this significant award, and I look forward to presenting this award to you officially later on.

Under the IHA award, NEC will be undertaking a number of new activities to expand its operations in Singapore, serving not just the Singapore market, but also operations and customers worldwide.

This award is significant to both NEC and Singapore for a number of reasons :

Firstly, it shows that NEC is satisfied with their 25 years in Singapore. Over the years, NEC Singapore has extended its regional operations, and today provides technical support to South and South-East Asia. It has also deepened its capability, moving beyond sales and service support, to product development and R&D. In the commercial world, every business welcomes a repeat customer - its not just getting new customers that is important, but being able to delight your customers so much, that they will want to stay with you. This is just as applicable when it comes to attracting investments. Singapore welcomes NEC as a repeat investor. We are delighted to have met your needs.

Secondly, its shows NEC's continued confidence that the infocommunications industry will grow. Although the dotcom bubble has burst, infocommunications remains a critical industry in the era of globalised knowledge-driven economies. I am glad that NEC has separated the hype from the reality, and continues to focus on areas where ICT can create real and lasting values for industry and consumers. Singapore is happy to be a partner with you in your endeavours.

Thirdly, the IHA award shows that Singapore continues to be useful and relevant to investors. Like everyone else, Singapore is affected by globalisation, and the rapid development of China. We have to restructure our economy to meet new challenges. Unlike others, we do not have a large domestic market to cushion the impact of change. But our small size is also our advantage. Being small, we can make the changes more rapidly, and move more quickly to reset our basic competitive parameters, and to build new industries.

The range of activities that NEC Singapore will undertake under the IHA reflects what Singapore believes to be our continuing competitive advantage for investors. Each of the initiatives announced by NEC tonight demonstrates aspects of this strategic fit between NEC and Singapore.

Take firstly, the Global NEC Partner Site Centre of Competence. The software systems that support the Global NEC Partner Site program were all developed in Singapore. The new Centre of Competence to be set up will develop more modules and provide implementation/support services to all sites worldwide. This project demonstrates both Singapore's established competency in software development, and our dense network of reliable and high-speed connections to the world. Singapore will continue to upgrade our capabilities and connectivity to serve the needs of investors like NEC.

Another example is NEC's Biometrics Centre of Competence which is well positioned to take advantage of both our sophisticated end-user markets for advanced info-communications technology solutions, as well as our community of scientists and researchers in the medical life sciences. In the 1990s, companies co-located their design and manufacturing activities to deliver products that better reflected market preferences. Today, companies are bringing their R&D activities into advanced end user markets, so that their R&D teams and their customers can work closely together to formulate new solutions. Singapore offers investors a highly developed customer base in ICT products across a wide range of industries. And we are happy to say that increasingly, the community of scientists and researchers have grown. We welcome NEC to bring some more.

A third example is the Hospital Information Systems Centre of Competence, which will convert NEC's electronic medical records system from Japanese to English. This software translation will enable NEC to market this product worldwide to healthcare providers. But even more significantly, this system will also undergo an initial deployment in Singapore, leveraging on Singapore's well-developed healthcare industry. We see this as another example of how Singapore can be a "living laboratory" for our corporate partners, not just to do technical trials within the confines of a test center, but to do actual, smaller-scale deployments in a dynamic, real-world environment.

The ICT industry remains a key industry for Singapore. The Infocommunication Development Authority of Singapore, as well as the EDB, A*STAR and other related agencies, will continue to promote this industry by working closely with our investor partners to ensure that we will have the talents, infrastructure and connectivity to enable companies to serve their markets both in and from Singapore. Our partnership with NEC demonstrates the value we place on long-term relationships, and our determination to continue to delight our investors so that they will continue to invest and grow with us.

On this note, ladies and gentlemen, let me once again congratulate NEC Singapore on their 25 years of sterling achievements, and on the conferment of the IHA tonight.

In closing, let me say that I am also very touched and happy to note that NEC is not just a commercially successful company, but also a good corporate citizen and a company with a heart. I commend NEC Singapore for its special contribution of $25,000 to the Singapore Children's Society in celebration of its 25 years in Singapore. Thank you for your generous contribution to the Singapore community.

Thank you.