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Singapore expands its Global Innovation Alliance to Beijing to help Singapore tech companies access opportunities in China

Above image: IESingapore – CapitaLand Tech & Innovation Summit in Beijing/ Credit: Capitaland (from CapitaLand’s Twitter page)

Singapore’s Minister for Finance, Mr. Heng Swee Keat (third from left), officially launched the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) (Beijing) in Beijing, China today, at the International Enterprise (IE) Singapore – CapitaLand Tech & Innovation Summit 2017.

The GIA was a key recommendation in the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) 2016 report. It aims to strengthen linkages and partnerships with leading innovation hubs around the world, increasing access and opportunities for Singapore students and enterprises. The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) set up a GIA Programme Office (GIA PO) to coordinate the overall initiative with other government agencies.

Led by IE Singapore, the GIA (Beijing) effort strengthens connections between Singapore technology companies, entrepreneurs and investors within China’s established digital ecosystem of accelerators, incubators, tech giants, start-ups and venture capitalist funds. This is expected to help more Singapore tech companies access opportunities and find business partners in China, strengthening Singapore’s vibrant local tech sector.

Mr. Ho Chee Hin, IE Singapore’s Group Director for China, said, “China is a huge market that acts as an attractive end market for Singapore tech companies and partner for co-creating solutions. With China’s innovation ecosystem now a hotbed for technologies and innovation, Singapore companies should consider sourcing for technologies here and adapt them for Asia.”

With the GIA (Beijing), IE Singapore will look to establish launchpads for Singapore companies to connect with the business and innovation community in China.

This includes access to talent, capital, customers and partners in major innovation hubs within China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Suzhou and Wuhan. In line with this, IE Singapore signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with  AIRMaker (accelerator), NTUitive (enterprise arm of Nanyang Technological University) and 36Kr (top Chinese media platform) in September this year.

This supports Singapore tech companies through customised accelerator programmes to understand the market, test-bed products and partner with Chinese companies to implement solutions. To date, 32 Singapore startups in fintech, medtech and Internet of Things (IoT) have participated in business missions organised by IE Singapore and partners to showcase and pitch their products and services in China.

Today, IE Singapore signed a MOU with Singapore-based real estate company, CapitaLand, and leading Chinese co-working space operator UrWork to customise accelerator programmes to facilitate exchange of ideas between Singapore and China start-ups.

IE Singapore has also partnered CapitaLand on a Tech & Innovation Summit 2017 in Beijing, where CapitaLand can tap new innovative solutions pitched by Chinese and Singapore start-ups. The pitch competition is based on CapitaLand’s three main scenarios of work, live, and play [working, shopping, living]. Winning teams get to testbed solutions at CapitaLand’s office buildings, shopping malls, residential and integrated developments in both China and Singapore.

The session will see nine start-ups pitch to nearly 300 representatives including Chinese government agencies in Beijing, incubators, accelerators, co-working space operators, venture capitalists, research institutes, as well as corporations and technology companies.

Of these, three of the start-ups are from Singapore:

  • M-DAQ is a fintech company that aims to disrupt multi-currency conversion through its unique algorithms to offer a volume weighted average price for foreign exchange. Its main application scopes are e-commerce/ payment gateway, cross border mobile wallet and international securities trading.
  • Smart Clean provides end-to-end automatic solutions for Facility Managers, with real-time monitoring and alerting by intelligent algorithms that evaluate toilet cleanliness, standardises cleaning operations and ensures clean toilets at all times.
  • ViSenze is an artificial intelligence company that develops advanced visual search and image recognition solutions to help businesses in e-commerce, retail, content publishing and online advertising.

During the last decade, China has created one of the largest digital economies leading in ecommerce and mobile payments. One in three unicorns in the world is a Chinese company, commanding 43% of the global value of these unicorns.  Local governments across China are promoting innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialisation of research and development.

IE Singapore is involved in several initiatives to help local companies gain access to Chinese markets, as well as technology. In August 21 2017, IE Singapore and Ascendas-Singbridge launched the Singapore Manufacturing Innovation Centre (SMIC) in Guangzhou, a one-stop shop to facilitate partnerships between Singapore Industry 4.0 technology solutions providers and Chinese enterprises looking to adopt such solutions. On November 2, 2017, IE Singapore announced the successful facilitation of a partnership between Surbana Jurong (SJ) and two SMEs, iFocus Pte. Ltd. (a hardware company) and S3 Innovate Pte. Ltd. (a data visualisation company) to clinch their first lift monitoring project in Guangzhou city. 

Yesterday, Collaboration in the areas of professional services, innovation and urban renewal, which would enable Singapore companies stand to capture greater trade flows and opportunities, were discussed at the 11th Singapore-Jiangsu Cooperation Council (SJCC) meeting in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore and NUS (Suzhou) Research Institute (NUSRI) is launching BLOCK71 Suzhou today, to help Singapore companies and start-ups access the innovation ecosystem in Jiangsu.

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