Speech by Mr Lui Tuck Yew at the Opening of BookFest@Singapore 2009

11/12/2009

SPEECH BY MR LUI TUCK YEW, ACTING MINISTER FOR INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF BOOKFEST@SINGAPORE 2009 ON THURSDAY, 10 DECEMBER 2009, 6.45PM AT SUNTEC SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE

Mdm Zhang Xiao Kang
Ambassador, Embassy of the People's Republic of China

Mr Chen Jiang
Cultural Counsellor, Embassy of the People's Republic of China

Mr Chou Cheng Ngok
Chairman, Popular Holdings Ltd

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies & Gentlemen,

Good evening and a warm welcome to all. Since its inauguration in 2006, BookFest@Singapore has received overwhelming response and support. It has successfully established itself as a key event for Singapore's publishing industry.

Global Outlook of the Publishing Industry

2.     The global book publishing industry is expected to grow 2.8% annually, to be worth US$129 billion by 2012. This is in accordance to PriceWaterHouse Coopers' Global Entertainment and Media Outlook report for 2009 to 2013. In particular, the Asia-Pacific region is projected to be the fastest growing market for book publishing, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.9% per year, to be worth US$29 billion by 2012. China, in particular, recorded double-digit gains in 2007 and is expected to be one of the fastest-growing markets in the next five years with a CAGR of 5.2%.

Singapore as a Potential Gateway and Partner to the Chinese Publishing Market

3.     Singapore's strategic location, its excellent facilities, comprehensive infrastructure, and strong IP protection regime make us one of the world's more attractive business locations for publishers.Singapore is the preferred destination for many international publishers and more than 3,000 publishers and printing firms are based in Singapore.We are a convenient one-stop centre which offers a full range of printing and publishing services to meet the needs and demands of leading publishers, literary agents, international distributors and printers.

4.     Increasingly, China is becoming a prominent player in the publishing market.To better position itself as the gateway to the Chinese publishing market, our publishers should better understand the latest publishing trends and opportunities in Chinese-language publishing. After the signing of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, an increasing number of Singapore companies have begun to tap on the publishing opportunities in China.They have also sought to establish stronger partnerships and forge greater collaborations with Chinese publishers.Through the BookFest@Singapore event, Popular has strengthened itself as the leading exporter of Chinese books.Last year alone, Popular's total purchase constituted 5.32% of the book exports from China.

New Business Models for Companies' Sustainability

5.     To maintain growth, the publishing industry must identify new and innovative possibilities. Publishers, in particular, print publishers who are used to the traditional value chain of publishing are now required to rethink how to attract and keep customers. With the rise of digitisation, publishers and distributors worldwide are exploiting new business models and content applications. Increasingly, many are exploring partnerships with innovative technology, or solution providers and even platforms such as the Sony Publisher Portal to expand companies' revenue streams.

6.     And while sales of e-books still account for a small portion of the US$35 billion-a-year book market in the States, sales are doubling each month even as the overall book market is witnessing a decline. Gadgets to facilitate the consumption of e-content such as Sony's e-Reader and Amazon's Kindle are becoming more affordable, and thus, widespread.

7.     To spur the development, delivery and managing of innovative applications and content on the e-book platform, the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) has established a FutureBooks partner network in October this year. This network will be championed by major industry players such as Creative Technology and SPH, together with other key industry members like Personal e-Motion (PEM), and Popular e-Learning Holdings. Together with MDA, the partner network invites companies with innovative ideas for applications, services and business models to leverage the technology, global distribution network as well as educational content offered by the partner network members.

Greater Emphasis on E-Learning and Multi-Platform Content at BookFest@Singapore 2009

8.     At BookFest@Singapore 2009, we will witness how the future of publishing is moving ahead, driven by technology and how it can potentially revolutionise the consumption of content, in the same way the Internet did for us. The Popular Digital Media Group (DMG) will be introducing a new suite of e-learning applications targeted at primary schools. These interactivity and communication-rich programmes will immerse children in various learning environments and go beyond basic curriculum requirements. More details about this exciting new programme will be shared by Popular.

9.     To bring e-learning to the next level, MDA recently embarked on a new initiative in late October called, Media in Learning. Through this initiative, MDA would support the development and deployment of up to 24 game titles over the next three years to aid effective learning in not only traditional school-based education, but also other domains such as retail and healthcare.

Content Development Initiatives - Call for Proposals from SPINE

10.     As the lead agency for the media industry, MDA continues to support the print and publishing with a comprehensive suite of initiatives. Earlier this year, MDA launched the scheme, Spearheading Publishing Innovation for New Enterprise, or SPINE in short. The scheme encourages the creation and development of original publishing Intellectual Properties into brands and franchises, which live on multiple media platforms. After the first call for proposals, MDA selected three multi-platform publishing programmes from three distinctly different companies: Communication Resources, Scrawl Studios and World Scientific Publishing Co.

11.     Through support from SPINE, Communication Resources plans to develop a digital extension both online and mobile for its flagship magazine, August Man, to offer an interactive and multimedia experience for readers, and an additional platform for their advertisers to reach the target audience. On the other hand, Scrawl Studios, in partnership with Popular E-Learning, plans to develop a suite of interactive e-learning content featuring NanoBoy, based on an animation TV series produced by the company.

12.     Also with SPINE's support, the World Scientific Publishing Co will be adding a new series of Major Reference Works to their library of Science, Technical and Medical titles.These publishing companies will capitalise on their core competencies and assets to develop and expand the businesses into relevant and critical multimedia platforms and markets. In this way, they can increase their competitiveness in the international market.

13.     Our local companies are gearing themselves up and using various media platforms to increase their visibility and marketability of their publishing Intellectual Properties. I would like to announce that SPINE is calling for proposals again and I am looking forward to the creation of more innovative products and content offerings from our publishers as they utilize new business models, various technologies, content applications and services available.

Conclusion

14.     There is tremendous growth opportunity for the printing and publishing industry both locally and internationally. Besides creating business opportunities, BookFest@Singapore is an excellent platform for new business co-operations and collaborations between local and regional companies.

15.     Finally, allow me to extend my heartiest congratulations to Popular Holdings on its 85th anniversary. As a home-grown company, Popular has achieved much success in the last 85 years. It is now a thriving publisher and distributor, not just within Singapore, but in regional markets as well. I hope to see the company achieving even greater success in the future, becoming even more globally integrated to overseas publishing markets.

16.     On this note, I wish you all a very exciting and rewarding week ahead. It is now my pleasure to declare BookFest@Singapore 2009 open.

17.     Thank you.

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