Mr Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore made a speech on 25 May where Singapore was hosted as Country of Honour, at the Pujiang Innovation Forum In Shanghai. The Minister spoke on how Asia is rapidly advancing in Technology. He highlighted examples in China and areas where Singapore had also accelerated.
China companies at the forefront deploying technologies
The minister mentioned how many Chinese companies are now at the forefront of deploying technology, making dramatic changes to how people live, work and communicate with one another. These include China’s “BAT” – Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. Baidu is one of the top online search engines in Asia; Alibaba – the world’s top e-commerce retailer; and Tencent – an internet company with one of the largest social networks, linking billions of people across the globe. Just two days ago, the CRRC Qingdao Sifang unveiled a prototype of the magnetic levitation train with speeds of up to 600km/h.
The Minister said that in order to harness the opportunities that technology is opening up. Let me share three key thrusts that Singapore is taking to harness the potential of technology: First, to take a holistic, integrated approach to technology and innovation; Second, to address issues that are most critical to our people; and third, to take concrete action towards collaboration.
Holistic and Integrated approach to technology and innovation
The first stage mentioned was to take a holistic and integrated approach – linking our basic research and development, with innovation and enterprise development, and in the deployment and diffusion of technology.
“Like China and many other nations, Singapore is a firm believer that technology and innovation are key driving forces to our future. Our national R&D effort started in 1991, with our first five-year National Technology Plan. We are now investing in our 6th plan to build our R&D base.”
The Singapore government invests about 1% of GDP in research and development and this has catalysed private sector spending of more than 1% of GDP. We are taking a further step to look at development of start-ups, which is now a major force in innovation. This is a total of about 2% of GDP invested in supporting research and development– similar to China and other OECD nations.
He said for Singapore’s innovation to flourish, having people with the right skills are most important. Singapore invests heavily in growing our talent from young – building up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and also the arts as a foundation.
Shanghai companies partner with Singapore
To enable people to broaden their networks and horizons, the Singapore government encourages them to gain overseas experiences.
“The launch of our Global Innovation Alliance links Singapore with innovation nodes around the world. I am happy to welcome Shanghai as our latest alliance partner, with the signing of the MOU between Enterprise Singapore and Xnode yesterday. I am confident that Shanghai will be a key partner in these efforts.”