Singapore plans to enhance the country’s digital economy as part of the five-year Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) plan, using more funding allocated to develop the industry of online economy, according to Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat. The plan includes working with companies to reinforce the country’s talent pool in the technology industry and the renewed interest in cybersecurity since more transactions are now taking place online.
During his talk at the two-day Fortune Global Forum held on October 26 to 27, the Deputy Prime Minister mentioned a significant amount from the $20 billion RIE2020 plan covering Singapore’s R&D strategy from 2016 to 2020 was allocated on digitization. But for the upcoming RIE2025, which is still being worked out, it will add more budget for the digital economy development. According to Mr. Heng, this initiative will be critical for the country’s future.
The Deputy Prime Minister discussed digital economies together with Grab chief executive Anthony Tan. They covered all the challenges encountered by digital transformation and the country’s possibility to forge a connection with the rest of the world. When talking about the challenges of assisting small businesses to enter the digital market, Tan shared that Grab experienced difficulties teaching farmers and wet market merchants in the region all the conveniences that their technology can offer.
The ride-hailing company that eventually ventured into food delivery and digital payment services provided these small business owners with the necessary tools to correct the photographs of their items for sale automatically to make them look more appealing for their target customers. They also offered micro-loans not typically provided by traditional industries.
Mr. Heng pointed out that the digital revolution means countries all over the world have more opportunities to connect and interact with each other compared to the past. He also mentioned several examples of digital economy agreements between Singapore and other countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Chile. It opens more opportunities for the island nation to expand its economy globally. The government official also spoke about the need to improve the cross-country data flows intended for financial services.
This development in the digital economy will help small countries like Singapore to go beyond its size and geography. It can also help local enterprises penetrate global markets without going out of the country.
According to Heng, all the data that propels plenty of transactions, including those in digital finance, will become critical in the coming years. “During a global financial crisis, trade came to a halt because no one could trust anyone else… If we can do better cross-border data flow of financial services, you can allow for better risk and business decisions, and that would allow for trade to continue to flow,” the Deputy Prime Minister stated.
Also, Singapore upgraded its trade platforms and strategized with other countries to develop digital technology advancements to help improve city management. He shared that forging a better global connection and improving local digital transformation can help play a huge role for the betterment of the global economy.