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Growth Of Interactive And Digital Media In Singapore

6 September 2007 - Speech By Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Second Minister For Information, Communications & The Arts At Official Opening Of Games Convention Asia 2007, Suntec International Convention And Exhibition Centre.

Speech By Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Second Minister For Information, Communications & The Arts At Official Opening Of Games Convention Asia 2007 on 6 September 2007, Suntec International Convention And Exhibition Centre.

Mr Leong Keng Thai, Director General of the IDA,
Mr Edward Liu, PBM, Managing Director of Conference & Exhibition Management Services Pte Ltd,
Mr Wolfgang Marzin, CEO & President of Messe Leipzig GmbH, Germany,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

1. A very good morning to all of you and especially a warm welcome to those of you who have come from overseas. Now I am delighted to be here at the first-ever Games Convention Asia. It is always nice to be at the inaugural, first such conference. I believe you would have aimed to attract some 53,000 members of the public as well as trade visitors over the next few days. You have over 80 exhibitors from 13 countries. I think this is a very good start.

2. The games industry - I think I don't need to preach to all of you, you know this is a high growth industry. Worldwide, we estimate that it is worth about US$48.9 billion, and there is much growth. And the Asia Pacific region itself contributes about 40% to this growth figure. In Singapore, we have two straightforward objectives in this area.

Digital Media and Entertainment in iN2015

3. First, we intend for Singapore to be a centre for the creation and the commercialisation of digital media and entertainment technologies. And second, to be a global node that provides core services for storing, trading and distributing digital assets. In Singapore, you will find that there is more than one million square feet of data centre space available for you to host your operations. We have 28 Tbps of submarine cable capacity, and we are interconnected to more than 100 countries. By 2012, we will also put in place a national next-generation broadband network that will provide end-to-end users with broadband capacity of one Gbps or more.

Singapore's Efforts in Interactive and Digital Media

4. The Singapore Government has also committed half a billion Singapore dollars (~US$330 million) to fund the Research & Development (R&D) in Interactive Digital Media (IDM) over the 3 next five years. And with this programme, we hope to achieve a value-added contribution of S$10 billion to our economy, and to create 10,000 new jobs.

5. One of the initiatives under this programme is the programme which we call GAMBIT, the GAMBIT game lab. GAMBIT stands for Gamers, Aesthetics, Mechanics, Business, Innovation, and Technology). This has been a joint initiative which we have run with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and in fact, our first batch of university and polytechnic digital media students have already returned from their internship at the GAMBIT game lab. And we look forward to seeing the output of their research.

6. In fact, three of these student projects will be showcased at this convention, and what is encouraging is that a few of these projects already show commercial potential. And we will continue to invest in these partnerships with world-class institutions in order to strengthen Singapore's position as a nexus in the East and the West IDM research.

7. Earlier this year, the IDM Programme Office also issued an open call to our institutions of higher learning for R&D proposals in this area. To date, we have received 50 proposals, and we expect to put in about S$20 million to fund 14 projects. And these 14 projects cover a wide range - games, computer graphics and image processing, virtual augmentation and mixed reality. All these projects will involve some 400 researchers and more.

8. We also want to congratulate the winners of the Singapore Games Creation Competition. This was a competition organised by the Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP). It was initially targeted only at tertiary students or secondary school students, but we have also now opened it for members of the public. I am glad that we see increasing numbers participating. The NYP also organised a Codea- thon challenge, a non-stop 30-hour programming event that started two days ago. And I understand that 70 people took part in this, and I look forward again to seeing their output.

Games Exchange Alliance

9. In the area of games distribution channels, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has initiated the Games Exchange Alliance (GXA). In fact, I think you can the members, who will come up very shortly. This is an alliance which will help games and their companies cross the last-mile commercialisation hurdles to place game titles into the hands of Asian gamers. The GXA will sign a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) with the various Asia- Pacific game associations to facilitate business collaborations amongst the members. And in this way, we hope to provide game service providers, publishers, content developers and solution providers with market access to over 13 key Asian markets, including China, India, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Australia and beyond all that.


10. So ladies and gentlemen, let me again conclude by thanking all of you for being here. This is a high growth area. Singapore intends to be part of the action, and I hope you will exploit opportunities that will be available for you to network and exchange ideas. But don't also forget that Singapore is not just about games. There are other entertainment forms available, including food. So please use this opportunity to feed yourself both intellectually as well as on the gastronomic front. On that note, let me again thank you and wish you all the very best.

11. Thank you.