Speech By Mr Lawrence Wong, Senior Minister Of State For Information, Communications And The Arts At The Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) 30th Anniversary And SiTF Awards Ceremony

30 August 2012 - Speech By Mr Lawrence Wong, Senior Minister Of State For Information, Communications And The Arts At The Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) 30th Anniversary And SiTF Awards Ceremony On Thursday, 30 August 2012, 7.10pm, At Marina Bay Sands

Speech By Mr Lawrence Wong, Senior Minister Of State For Information, Communications And The Arts At The Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) 30th Anniversary And SiTF Awards Ceremony On Thursday, 30 August 2012, 7.10pm, At Marina Bay Sands

Mr Eddie Chau, Chairman, SiTF
Ms Shirley Wong, Organising Chairperson
Distinguished guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

1. I am pleased to join you this evening at the SiTF's 30th anniversary gala dinner and SiTF awards ceremony.

A Connected Singapore

2. We started our infocomm journey in the 80s. Back then, we were taking a plunge into the unknown as we did not know how things would unfold. Year by year, we had to track closely the changes around us, and respond promptly to new opportunities and threats. We put together infocomm masterplans, and kept updating them. The current version - Intelligent Nation 2015 - is the sixth masterplan! It reflects our continued adjustments to a rapidly changing environment, but also our commitment to exploit IT to improve our lives.

3. Today, Singapore ranks favourably in global infocomm rankings, with pervasive usage of infocomm by both businesses and individuals. At homes, for example, close to 85 per cent of households own at least one computer. In fact, Singapore's mobile phone penetration rate was at 149.6 per cent in 2011! And this does not even include tablets yet!

4. We are becoming a highly connected society with mobile applications increasingly integrated into our lives. Since 2006, there are 7,500 Wireless@SG hotspots and 2.1 million subscribers, with 25.2 usage hours per user per month. Given our high wireless broadband penetration and many sophisticated users, we envisage a continued increase in the use of Wi-Fi to access the Internet and services. So I am pleased to announce that IDA will be issuing a Call-For-Collaboration tomorrow to invite the industry to submit proposals for the next phase of the Wireless@SG programme, as IDA explores the feasibility of extending the Wireless@SG programme until 2017. I look forward to your active participation in the Call-for-Collaboration, and to innovative ideas that will enhance the connections among our people.

Building on our Strengths in the Infocomm Industry

5. While we have achieved much, we cannot be complacent about our current position. Over the coming years, we must continue to evolve and update our plans to tackle new challenges and opportunities ahead. This will require all parties - the government, ICT companies, and the SITF - to work together for a common purpose.

6. First, we must continue to build our innovation capabilities and entrepreneurship ecosystem. Nowadays, companies cannot just create and develop ICT innovation on their own. Rather they have to collaborate with others to tap on the best ideas. Procter & Gamble, for example, has collaborated with external sources for innovative ideas and technologies, by engaging research institutes, suppliers, user sectors and customers in product innovations. IDA has also been facilitating co-innovation platforms with Global Lead Users, such as Citibank's Citi Global Transaction Services Centre of Innovation, to drive innovations in Mobile Solutions and Predictive Analytics.

7. Entrepreneurs are tapping more and more on ICT in all aspects of the business cycle. They develop new business models or products from the ground up; and rely on the Internet, application stores or IT devices to reach global markets. To help our entrepreneurs, IDA has initiated the iStart Programme for local infocomm start-ups to gain access to market connections, funding investments, and high quality international mentors. Another programme iBEST aims to anchor high potential international venture capital-backed start-ups to set up engineering centres in Singapore. Since 2008, iBEST has attracted more than 100 foreign start-ups from countries globally, including the United States and China. SiTF has also offered its expertise to put in place the "123 Jumpstart" platform that provides start-ups with a broad range of resources such as mentorship, to help build critical skills for success in start-ups.

8. All these efforts have yielded good results. According to a recent survey, Singapore was ranked seventh among global startup ecosystems - the best showing within Asia. With startups forming an increasingly significant role in the ICT and media converged landscape, the Media Development Authority (MDA) has launched i.JAM Reload to enhance the current i.JAM funding scheme, where start-ups can seek funding to help bring their innovations to the market. On top of the seed funding of $50,000 per project, high-performing startups can also look forward to receiving up to $200,000 from incubators which will provide a broader range of resources including training and test-bedding. I am pleased to note that SITF is one of the 10 new incubators participating in the scheme.

9. Second, we need to continue to push on the productivity front. IDA launched an Infocomm Industry Productivity Roadmap in March this year to increase productivity in the ICT sector. Initiatives under this roadmap are targeted at gearing our infocomm companies towards more scalable product or cloud centric business models, as well as enabling the adoption of productivity tools in their business.

10. For instance, IDA has partnered the Workforce Development Agency and SITF to organise a series of Infocomm Productivity Masterclasses and training sessions to help enterprises reshape their business models in areas such as product management and agile software development. To encourage higher adoption of productivity software tools by local infocomm enterprises, IDA's iSPRINT scheme's funding quantum has also been recently enhanced for the enterprises to receive up to 70 per cent of financial support when they adopt specialised software like productivity enabling tool.

11. At the same time, we hope to nurture more multi-disciplinary Infocomm talents to meet manpower demands by businesses. Last year, IDA launched the MDEV2.0 Roadmap to train and groom up to 18,000 infocomm professionals and school students. The SiTF Academy has also partnered training providers to train infocomm professionals and graduates in cloud, mobile development and green IT.

12. This evening, I am also pleased to announce that SiTF, in collaboration with IDA, has launched the Productivity and Productisation Programme Office to provide advisory and business matching services, offer cost-effective shared resources, and conduct workshops to help our ICT enterprises transit towards more productive business models. I encourage all ICT enterprises to leverage this newly available resource to explore ways to improve productivity.

13. Finally, we must move more aggressively to expand our international networks. By 2020, almost half of the world's population will be living in Asia, and a quarter of global consumer spending is expected to come from this region. Singapore should take advantage of our proximity and ability to understand emerging Asian markets to grow our ICT footprint regionally.

14. For instance, SiTF and IDA have partnered to set up the Infocomm Singapore Centre or ISC in Shanghai, to help facilitate partnerships between Singapore and Chinese infocomm companies. To date, ISC has signed Memorandum of Understandings with more than 15 cities in China to promote Singapore-made ICT solutions and to help our local enterprises establish business presence in China. IDA has also introduced programmes for budding ICT enterprises to undergo tailored immersion programmes in key markets, particularly in Asia, and this has already benefitting over 30 start-ups.


15. There is an exciting future ahead in the infocomm industry and I encourage everyone, including SiTF, to continue with greater collaborations to seize the opportunities in the ICT landscape.

16. The SiTF Awards is organised with this objective in mind, as well as to promote creativity in the ICT industry. The Awards started in 2009 with just five categories, and has since expanded to 12 categories this year. Nearly 300 submissions were received this year, a reflection of the growing activity level and excitement in this area!

17. I would like to congratulate all the winners of this year's SiTF awards and wish all of you an enjoyable dinner ahead.

18. Thank you.

Note to Editor

1 Examples are the World Economic Forum Global IT Report 2010-2012, where Singapore is ranked 2nd for three consecutive years; Waseda University eGovernment International ranking 2010-2012, where Singapore clinched the top position for three years in a row.

2 Source: Annual Survey on Infocomm Usage In Households And By Individuals, IDA.

3 Startup Genome, a US-based global research project to measure global tech entrepreneurship, has compiled a ranking of the world's top 25 startup ecosystems. Silicon Valley clinched the top spot, followed by New York City, London, Toronto, Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, Singapore, Sao Paulo, Bangalore and Moscow.

4 "Rapid Market Growth Forecast", Ernst and Young, Summer Edition, July 2012