Speech by Minister Josephine Teo at the 2023 Global Digital Economy Conference
Thank you for inviting me to speak at the 2023 Global Digital Economy Conference.
This is the third edition of the conference, and Singapore is honoured to have been invited as the first Country-of-Honour.
Today, there will be many important discussions on the opportunities and challenges of digital technologies.
While countries worldwide would like to benefit from such technologies, most know there is still a long way to go before they are fully embedded in our digital economies.
Within Southeast Asia alone, driven by new internet users and a rising middle class, the digital economy is expected to reach 1 trillion US dollars by 2030.
In an effort to unlock this potential, Singapore is focusing on two areas – one, digital connectivity, and two, AI for the Public Good.
Just last month, Singapore launched a Digital Connectivity Blueprint, which sets out our priorities in ensuring that Singapore’s digital infrastructure is future-ready.
We have invested significant resources so that Singapore can be better connected to our partners around the world.
We will also help our people and businesses to embrace new and emerging technologies with greater confidence and skill.
Another area of focus is AI for the Public Good.
Our government leads the charge in AI experimentation and scaling, as well as responsible deployment, such as for smart cities.
The private sector leads in commercial applications in key sectors like financial services, transport and logistics.
These twin engines allow us to promote trust and accountability while allowing all segments of society to benefit from AI.
We know China has similarly identified AI as an important focus area.
In 2022, China had the world’s largest number of AI patent applications and the highest number of published academic papers and citations on AI.
In May of this year, China has also announced its plans to build AI industrial hubs and tech platforms across the country to support further research and development.
During my recent visit to Beijing, I met many colleagues across government, research institutes, leading technology companies, venture firms and startups who have the vision, capabilities and determination to succeed. I have no doubt many will.
While countries each have their own priorities and approaches, our people and businesses benefit most when our digital economies are connected and interoperable. In this regard, Singapore and China share a common interest in fostering closer international collaboration.
As Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Xi Jinping affirmed in March this year, Singapore and China enjoy an “All-Round High-Quality Future-Oriented Partnership”.
Our bilateral relations have continued to take a long-term and strategic perspective, charting the way for even more mutually-beneficial partnership.
This much valued partnership is characterised by our deep and varied Government-to-Government cooperation projects, such as our work on updating the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, and our exchanges on the Belt and Road Initiative, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.
Digital collaboration is fast becoming a key building block in our bilateral and international economic cooperation.
As technologies progress, so too must our collaboration, to promote interoperability and mutual trust, for the betterment of our people and businesses.
In this regard, Singapore hopes to enhance cross-border data flows and digital trade facilitation through the setting of interoperable standards with like-minded partners.
The unwavering commitment from our top leadership has laid the foundation for us to strengthen partnerships in new areas of the digital economy.
I look forward to hearing about the exciting developments and conversations arising from this year’s Global Digital Economy Conference.
I wish the event every success.