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

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

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.