Singapore still has much to do before becoming a global digital hub, in a frank assessment by the top executive of Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF).
"Applications, content and talent are three areas Singapore is trying to pick up," said Eddie Chau, chairman, SiTF, at a panel discussion at the Asia Pacific ICT Summit (APICTS) yesterday. However, infrastructure is an area that Singapore is strong in with its broadband networks and data centres, he added.
While Singapore is not "the digital hub", the island nation is definitely an important digital hub within the region, said Ronnie Tay, CEO, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA).
Tay also outlined the various initiatives set up by IDA to help local technology companies grow their expertise and extend market reach to the region. The regulatory body has in place programmes designed to cultivate ecosystems for technologies that have strong market potential.
Recounting remarks made by an analyst, Aubeck Kam, CEO, Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA), said Israel startups possess the best technology, but Singapore has one of the most diverse and supportive ecosystems in the world. More crucially, Singapore companies "have to find our own ways" to grow, said Kam.
In its journey towards a global digital hub, Singapore companies have to recognise their own strengths and find their unique paths to grow. "We do not have manpower like China but we can become architects rather than the ones handling the coding," Chau said.
Responding to a comment from the floor on Steve Wozniak's comments that Singapore will not be able to create a company similar to Apple, Chau replied that every country has a different development curve, and there are talents in Singapore that can produce, not necessarily an "Apple", but "Orange, Rambutan or Papaya".
Chau gave the example of how property developer Capitaland's successful shopping malls concepts like food courts are being replicated by rivals overseas. And local technology companies can be inspired by the unique Singapore flavour, he added.
"We can build up our own unique strengths. And pick our battles to fight," said Chau.
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