Throughout its long history, Singapore has been at the heart of a place where strong ties have been forged. Since the 14th century, merchants from Malaysia, India and China have traded and exchanged their wares in the region.
From a cosmopolitan port city under colonial rule, Singapore later achieved independence and with determination sought to optimize its potential. Leveraging their past trading experience, they transformed their economy to become a leader in the field.
Singapore's leaders naturally recognized the value of being a place where connectivity exists; not only as a place where traders can meet, but also as a place where entrepreneurs can find investors, multinational companies can find workers, and foreign investors can find new customers.
Singapore remains the best place for such connectivity, especially for innovators of cutting-edge technologies that are changing the face of the global economy and the way we live. In the midst of increasingly complex global economic and geopolitical challenges, there is no better place for them to anchor and plan for future growth than Singapore.
Today, nearly half of Southeast Asia's leading tech companies are from around 80 of the top 100 global tech companies, including Google, Facebook and Alibaba, as well as regional leaders such as Garena, Grab and Razer. Singapore's startup community has grown rapidly, doubling in the past decade to around 55,000.
The Reason Why
One of the key factors that makes Singapore attractive is its openness to global talent. The country has long been a welcoming destination for international entrepreneurs and technologists, resulting in an influx of new businesses and a highly skilled workforce.
To encourage this, the Singapore government has introduced several supportive policies. One of these is the ONE Pass, a five-year work visa that allows talented foreign workers from various sectors to relocate to Singapore without having to have a job in the country first.
Singapore has launched several ICT initiatives to drive digital transformation. These include the SME Go Digital program, which helps SMEs improve their digital capabilities; the TechSkills Accelerator, which develops a skilled ICT workforce; and the Open Innovation Platform, which provides a virtual platform to solve business challenges and digitization opportunities by engaging experts.
As part of its strong commitment to innovation, Singapore is also planning the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) Plan 2025. This plan will allocate $25 billion to support the development of a knowledge-based economy and an innovation-driven society. As such, these initiatives provide opportunities for wider technology adoption and programs such as the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy. Singapore is a top choice for related events in areas such as robotics, space and ICT.
Continuing to Innovate
Today, the country is striving to be a leader in the use of AI, having achieved the third-highest adoption rate in the region. A key focus is the development of robotics, supported by the Launchpad Robotics Center, as well as funding of over S$450 million between 2016 and 2019 to expand the National Robotics Program (NRP).
Singapore's space industry is also growing rapidly, offering event organizers the opportunity to participate in an emerging global sector.
In Singapore, many companies are involved in various aspects of the satellite value chain. More than 30 companies, including the Singapore Space and Technology Association (SSTA), Inmarsat, Addvalue Technologies, ST GeoInsights and Astroscale25, have set up operations here.
Innovation has been further enhanced with the launch of the Cyclotron Project, a collaboration between Singapore Space and Technology Limited (SSTL) and Cap Vista, the strategic investment arm of the Defense Science and Technology Agency (DSTA). The project aims to promote the commercialization of start-up space technology companies.
Today, technology is disrupting business and workforce models. That's why it's important for leaders to adapt to new digital infrastructures and partner in an interconnected global ecosystem of connections. Through established connections, organizations can achieve reliable, fast, and secure performance. This is the first step in building a strong innovation ecosystem by understanding where the organization is on the innovation maturity scale.
The global changes brought about by the pandemic have changed consumer behavior, workplace models, and channel partner dynamics, and there is no turning back. This is a new era that must be embraced. To keep pace with global changes and domestic digital advancements, organizations must be ready to embrace government digital initiatives, relief efforts, and forward-looking investments. They must be ready to incorporate these initiatives into their operations and leverage them to support their own digital growth.
To be innovators and transform the market, companies also need to build a broad network of partners. Partnering with startups, investors, universities, researchers, or governments is an important step. On the other hand, technology investments are also an important part of a connected innovation network that allows companies to collaborate directly with customers and adapt to changing conditions.
Ang, Justin. (2023). The Best Port in a Storm: WHy Tech Businesses Are Flocking to Singapore. Infocomm Media Development Authority. imda.gov.sg
Singapore as a Leader in Innovation and Technology in S.E.A. visitsingapore.com
Insider Studios with EDB Singapore. (2023). How Singapore Has Become a Leading Force in Tech Innovation. Businessinsider.com.
EQUINIX. Singapore-A Leading Global Innovation Hub. Economic Development Board. edb.gov.sg