Singapore entrepreneurs eye opportunities amid China’s digitalization

By Zhang Hongpei Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/26 19:13:39

Singapore entrepreneurs eye China opportunities

As China is focusing on the transformation of traditional industries through digitalization and introduction of artificial intelligence, Singapore's leading technology companies are eager to participate and be springboards for Chinese companies entering the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said Singaporean officials and entrepreneurs.

Singapore has been aiming to become a leading node in Asia for the digital economy by promoting the SG:D - the Singapore Digital initiative.

"This is what we focus on: transforming Singapore into a vibrant digital economy and we believe there are similar interests and ambitions between Chongqing and China as a whole," said Tan Kiat How, CEO of Singapore's Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), in an interview during the Smart China Expo held in Southwest China's Chongqing from Thursday to Saturday.

Based on the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative, a government-to government collaboration project between China and Singapore that began in 2015, and the prospects of China's digitalization process, the IMDA brought a delegation consisting of more than 40 Singaporean companies in information and communications technology to the expo.

"We hope more Singapore companies will grow their business in Chongqing and western China, and we also hope that more Chinese companies will partner with Singaporean companies to grow in Southeast Asia, a region with huge potential," said Tan.

Goh Chok Tong, emeritus senior minister of Singapore, said on Thursday that "A vibrant and dynamic ICT connectivity between Singapore and Chongqing will help further boost trade volume between the two countries.

"While e-commerce is gaining a foothold in ASEAN countries, there is still large room for growth as it only accounts for less than 2 percent of total retail sales in ASEAN. Singapore can be a strategic partner and effective springboard for Chinese companies to gain footholds in ASEAN," Goh said in a keynote speech at the opening of the expo.

Nine deals were signed between companies on both sides. For example, Rizon Technologies, a joint venture between Singapore's Y3 Technologies and Chongqing Transport Group, signed agreements to deepen smart supply chain capabilities with three companies including FreshTurf, a Singapore-based company developing an open-source registry for parcels and consumer products on the hyperledger blockchain.

Jarryl Hong, founder of FreshTurf, told the Global Times on the sidelines of the signing ceremony that the company is taking a "learning attitude" in entering Chongqing, from where it aims to expand within the Chinese mainland market.

The blockchain technology, vertically applied in the logistics area, can effectively solve the problem of data privacy for both businesses and consumers since the process involves several nodes, Hong explained.

Another Singapore-based company, veriTAG, known for its patented innovation using dual QR tagging and cloud authentication for food safety, signed four memoranda of understanding at the event to align in blockchain and supply chain partnerships.

Jason Lim, CEO of veriTAG, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview that China's digitization effort has taken years and billions of yuan to reach its current height.

"As the Singapore Digital movement meets with China's digitalization process, Singapore entrepreneurs should study and seek collaboration to bring technologies that are applicable to the Singapore market, meaning there's no need to develop a similar one," Lim said.

Now tapping into both online and physical channels in China, veriTAG aims to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to participate effectively in the China market and China-proposed Belt and Road initiative, he stressed.

Newspaper headline: Singapore entrepreneurs eye China opportunities


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