Speech by Minister S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, at the National Infocomm Media Award

Colleagues from IMDA and CSA
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Building our Future Economy in the Infocomm Media Sector


  1. First, I must say that I am delighted to join you this afternoon for this ceremony, the National Infocomm Media Award Ceremony.  We are here today to celebrate the achievements of 54 polytechnics, undergraduate and postgraduate scholarship recipients.  This includes 21 recipients of the National Cybersecurity Postgraduate Scholarship jointly awarded by IMDA and the National Research Foundation.  Also here with us are students from among the 800 selected this year for the Industry Preparation for Pre-graduates (“iPREP”) Programme.

  2. I want to start by offering my heartiest congratulations to all of you on your accomplishments.  These scholarships are an important acknowledgement of what you have accomplished and more importantly it is the foundation for what more you can do in this journey. And equally, I think it is also appropriate that we acknowledge your parents and family members. I would also like to congratulate your families, who have rendered you unwavering support throughout your life journey and they deserve to share in this accolade that you receive today and in the future.

  3. Bright future ahead in the Infocomm Media sector

  4. It is self-evident that the infocomm media sector is key to Singapore’s digital transformation and the digital economy.  We need a globally competitive infocomm media sector because it is a means to foster greater inclusivity in our economy, it is a way to enhance our public services so that we can deliver high quality of service for our citizens, it is a way to ensure our competitive economy and also it is the basis to foster greater innovation.

  5. In terms of the sector itself, the infocomm media holds much promise, especially for those of you who have chosen to focus on it as your career choice. About 200,000 infocomm and media professionals are employed in our economy today, and we can expect the demand for these professionals to continue to grow as the global economy becomes increasingly digitalised. In response to these growing numbers, we need a focused effort to develop a deep pool of infocomm media talent to lead the change in the digital future and seize new business opportunities.

  6. To this end we are bringing the different scholarships offered by IMDA under a single brand, the Singapore Digital Scholarship.  This will ensure alignment in our efforts to nurture a pipeline of future infocomm media leaders, and build a strong foundation for our digital economy.  In fact, our past scholars have already made significant contributions to the sector. 

  7. Anthony Chow was our undergraduate scholar in 2006.  He is now the CEO of his own start-up, Igloohome, which designs versatile and secure smart lock solutions.  His company has gone on to secure partnerships with global companies like Airbnb and today distribute their products to over 80 countries.

  8. Alvin Lee studied at the prestigious Beijing Film Academy.  His film “Seed” beat 10,000 entries to win Best New Director at the China Short Film Golden Hummingbird Awards in 2016; China’s national-level award for short films. 

  9. We will continue to nurture our talent and help many others like Anthony and Alvin fulfil their aspirations.  From next year, IMDA will double the number of scholarships given across polytechnic, undergraduate and postgraduate levels.  We will also extend the Singapore Digital Scholarship and iPREP to polytechnic students in Arts, Design and Media.

  10. Developing horizontals, deepening capabilities, and thinking ‘global’ to keep at the forefront 

  11. Technology has transformed the way businesses operate, and allowed big and small firms alike to expand into the region and global markets.  To do well, companies and industries have to adapt with new business models to provide enriched user centric, seamless services for the consumer.  Take for example, home-grown concierge and delivery service honestbee.  It has made fresh grocery shopping and even laundry cleaning “a click away” for time-starved consumers.  Only in its 3rd year of operations, honestbee has a presence in 8 countries across the region.

  12. Infocomm media is a horizontal that cuts across different sectors.  To thrive in the digital economy, we must be prepared for the pervasive use of infocomm media across all industries.  I am therefore glad that our scholarship recipients today embody this diversity and synergy.  For instance, Bryan Low will be pursuing a degree in biological sciences at the Imperial College London.  He is interested in health-tech and hopes to exploit technology to push new frontiers in the healthcare sector. 

  13. In addition to building our horizontals, we also want to strengthen our verticals.  A new study released on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN held two weeks ago noted that Singapore’s digital transformation is taking place at a faster rate than other ASEAN countries.  

  14. We must continue building deep capabilities in emerging digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Immersive Media and Internet-of-Things.  To this end, the Singapore Digital Scholarship will support postgraduate studies in these specialised infocomm media areas, to build local expertise in deep technology.

  15. Sean Pea is one of our postgraduate scholars today.  He has been passionate about cybersecurity since his teens, and will be pursuing his masters in infocomm security.  Sean’s passion has taken him to jobs in growth areas of our economy.  He was a Computer Security Researcher at a national research lab and is now Head of Threat Analysis at a global AI company for cyber defense.

  16. Beyond building deep capabilities, we need to adopt a global perspective, and collaborate and learn from others to succeed in today’s dynamic and complex landscape.

  17. I am happy to share that IMDA partnered Huawei to send 10 iPREP students to China this year, for the Huawei Seeds for the Future programme.  It is a global campaign to develop technology talent, enhance knowledge transfer and promote greater interest and understanding of the telecomm sector.

  18. Au Ling Wei from SMU Information Systems, benefitted from this programme.  He learned more about how mobile phones work through hands-on experience setting up a 4G base station.

  19. So to equip more pre-graduates with industry-ready skillsets, I am pleased to share that iPREP will be opened to all infocomm media tertiary students from next year.  In addition, iPREP will go beyond courses and certification to fund overseas exposure such as competitions and study trips. This will benefit about 2,500 students over the next two years.

  20. IMDA will also curate a host of regional and international learning opportunities for scholarship recipients.  I want to encourage you to take the initiative and seize these and other opportunities, to discover your passion, and pursue new pathways to learn and grow within this very diverse and exciting sector.  One such example is James, who has chosen to study Games Development & Technology at Nanyang Polytechnic.  As a tech enthusiast, he is constantly motivated to apply his programming skills to help others.  In secondary school, he developed a mobile application to help his schoolmates who found lost items connect with the owners of those belongings for quick retrieval.  James also won himself a scholarship from Apple to attend the Worldwide Developers Conference, which attests to his passion and technical capabilities.

  21. Conclusion 

  22. There are many exciting and rewarding journeys that await as you seek out your passions within this infocomm media sector. It is going through tremendous evolution, but in that evolution we find new opportunities which can sustain Singapore’s competitiveness and exciting career pathways.  Today is just the first step in that exciting journey forward.  There may be some setbacks along the way, but I assure you and I encourage you that if you can draw on the support of your friends, your family and also draw inspiration from your own passion and your conviction to pursue a career in this sector, you will succeed and you will find yourself a very exciting future within the digital economy. I want to wish all of you every success, and I look forward to your contributions to Singapore.

  23. Thank you.



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