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Singapore to facilitate business opportunities with the ASEAN Smart Cities Network

According to Straits Times, Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said the ASEAN Smart Cities Network will facilitate business opportunities for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the region.

As the Chair of ASEAN in 2018, Singapore is building the ASEAN Smart Cities Network to connect people and economies seamlessly.

Innovation can accelerate ASEAN’s regional economic integration and enhances regional connectivity so that ASEAN can remain competitive and prosperous as well as exploring new opportunities harnessing digital technologies. According to Channel NewsAsia, ASEAN’s digital economy is projected to grow by 500%, to around US$200 billion (S$272 billion) by 2025.

At the same time, innovation is also core to the region’s collective resilience in tackling emerging security challenges such as cybersecurity, transnational crime and terrorism.

At a lecture two months ago, Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan also highlighted the importance in building cyber capabilities. He urged that ASEAN “need to step up, and to step up urgently, collaboration on cybersecurity, because you can’t have a smarter world, you can’t have e-commerce, you can’t have seamless digital transactions if you don’t have cybersecurity. It’s the flip side of the coin.”

In November last year, at the closing ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit, Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong first shared Singapore’s priorities as the incoming Chair of ASEAN. To keep ASEAN a central force that can deal with the challenges and opportunities, the key theme of Singapore’s Chairmanship is “resilient and innovative”.

The ASEAN Smart Cities Network is an effort to not only ride the digital wave, but also step up engagements across Southeast Asia and beyond. Collaboration will target digital connectivity through countries’ sharing of best practices in terms of technology, urban governance, and sustainable development.

Earlier this year, Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan shared that ASEAN is working with India to link cities into the Smart City Network, as it is also in line of India’s national goal of 100 Smart Cities.

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