The rise of Singapore as a Global-Asia node of Technology, Innovation and Enterprise


Three key thrusts to drive technology, innovation and enterprise

The Government reaffirmed its commitment to building Singapore as a Global-Asia node of Technology, Innovation and Enterprise, positioning itself as “Asia 101” for MNCs expanding into Asia, and “Global 101” for Asian companies set to go global.

This will be achieved through:

  • continued investment in R&D;
  • introduction of the Global Ready Talent Programme (GRTP); and
  • enhancing global partnerships.

There will also be continued adoption of new technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) across key industries including waste management and household energy.

Forging a culture of innovation

The commitment to R&D investment will foster a culture of innovation and broaden areas of expertise. At the same time, the GRTP will give Singaporeans opportunities to gain overseas work experience and prepare them to make full use of the Global-Asia node, while providing companies with greater access to talent in the technology space.

Enhancing global partnerships will bring the global innovation community together and provide entrepreneurs and companies the opportunity to forge new areas of collaboration with innovation centres worldwide.

New technology, new businesses, new jobs

By being a hub for technology, innovation and enterprise, the Government believes new business and employment opportunities will open up for firms and people in Singapore riding on the wave of the fourth industrial revolution.

There is also significant opportunities to drive the adoption of new technology (e.g. IoT) by attracting firms and people to bring their cutting-edge ideas to Singapore, drawn by enhanced innovation and commercialisation experiences.

There will be further opportunities for firms and people to harness data by adopting new technology to give a significant boost to our Smart Nation.

A missed opportunity to become a truly Smart Nation

The Government’s main focus was to reaffirm its commitment to previous initiatives related to the establishment of a Global-Asia node and the adoption of smart technologies in key industries. While these commitments are key in securing Singapore’s competitive edge, it feels like Budget 2019 was a missed opportunity for Singapore to truly establish itself as a Smart Nation.

Adoption of IoT has generally been slow due to high implementation costs, cyber security threats, complexity of integration and lack of skills. Little has been done to address these concerns in Budget 2019.

We would have liked to see the introduction of:

  • co-funding of R&D related costs incurred under Public-Private Partnerships;
  • tax related measures, such as enhanced tax deductions for IoT expenditure and extension of other tax incentives to cover Smart Nation activities; and
  • a regulatory sandbox environment for IoT related innovations.

Without these measures, Singapore is at risk of losing its competitive edge globally because of an inability to harness the valuable data derived from IoT, which can be used to enrich the nation’s insights.


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