Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. I am happy to join you all today at ConnecTechAsia, the brand new umbrella event encompassing CommunicAsia, BroadcastAsia and the new NXTAsia. As Singapore works towards becoming a digital economy and realising our vision of a Smart Nation, we look forward to learning more about the emerging infocomm media technologies through interactions with the businesses here today.
ASEAN’s Growth and Potential
2. This is truly an exciting time to be in Asia, especially Southeast Asia which remains one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. Over the last decade, we have achieved an average annual growth rate of 6%, higher than the global average of 4%. This trajectory is expected to continue until the end of the decade and beyond, with an annual growth forecast of around 5% with ASEAN predicted to be the fourth-largest economy in the world by 2030.
3. In addition, Southeast Asia has a growing middle class and a population of 630 million people, more than half of whom are under the age of 30 and actively contributing to the remarkable growth we are seeing in the region. Today, ASEAN has 330 million internet users, with 70 million new users since 2015. 90% of these users spend almost 4 hours a day on the mobile internet through their smartphones, the highest average in the world.
4. These young, tech-savvy and connected citizens are ready to shift ASEAN’s engine of growth to the next gear, and seize the opportunities that technology and the digital economy have to offer them. We see this for example in e-commerce, where online shopping in Southeast Asia’s six biggest economies is projected to reach US$64.8 billion in 2021, compared to US$37.7billion last year. The ride-hailing market has also grown four-fold since 2015 and is expected to be over US$20 billion by 2025. Even more significantly, ASEAN’s digital economy has the potential to contribute an additional US$1 trillion to our regional GDP by 2025.
Tremendous Opportunities with Singapore at the Epicentre
5. Singapore is at the heart of all these developments and growth, and we are well-positioned to contribute to and benefit from these significant regional opportunities. The InfoComm and Media (ICM) Industry Transformation Map (ITM) was launched in November last year, while the Digital Economy (DE) Framework for Action was recently launched at the Singapore Digital (SG:D) Industry Day. They highlight some of our efforts to ensure that Singapore deepens our capabilities, stays competitive and becomes a global node in Asia.
6. The ITM for instance aims to grow Singapore’s ICM industry’s value-add by around 6% annually. It is also expected to not only employ more than 210,000 workers, but also add more than 13,000 new PMET jobs by 2020. Together with the Framework for Action, it will prepare Singapore to be a leading digital economy. All these initiatives that we have been launching and enhancing over these past years will chart Singapore’s way forward towards the digital future. With these plans, we aim to remain nimble and continually adapt ourselves so as to turn challenges into opportunities for growth and success.
7. We have also been strengthening Singapore’s economic links and integration with the region and the world. The Global Innovation Alliance, for instance, was launched last year to broaden and deepen Singapore’s network of overseas partners in major hubs and demand markets with a focus on technology and innovation, such as San Francisco, Beijing, Bangkok and Jakarta. It will allow Singaporean workers and companies to gain overseas experience, build international networks and collaborate with their counterparts on innovation and new products and services. We have also proposed the establishment of the ASEAN Smart Cities Network as a collaborative platform where ASEAN cities such as Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Yangon, will work together with Singapore towards the common goal of smart and sustainable urban development.
8. These networks extend beyond companies and markets involved in the technology space. Not only will they synergise innovation, entrepreneurship and digital technology across these cities and our region, they will also facilitate and accelerate all other types of business and investment opportunities across all economies in ASEAN.
Wishing Success to ConnecTechAsia
9. One important way by which Singapore and ASEAN maintain and deepen these networks and partnerships at the company-to-company level is through events and conferences like ConnecTechAsia. This event has already established itself as Asia’s largest infocomm and media event and has continued to expand steadily over the years. With increasing global internet connectivity, the growth in digital consumption will herald more business opportunities for exhibitors, and ConnecTechAsia will continue to grow from strength to strength.
10. ConnecTechAsia also provides a holistic ecosystem that spans the entire spectrum of communication, broadcast, and enterprise technology and services, reflecting the pulse of Singapore and the region. Companies that wish to adapt and transform themselves so as to take advantage of the ASEAN digital economy will find the ConnecTechAsia umbrella event the ideal place to embark on their journeys.
11. The advent of disruptive technologies has revolutionised the global economy, altered industries and business models, and changed the nature of jobs. However, it has also created many new possibilities for our people, for our businesses, and for our economies. The challenge is to navigate this new digital terrain successfully for mutual benefit.
12. I wish ConnecTechAsia and all participating companies every success in this endeavour. I look forward to seeing you seize the opportunities arising from the digital economy, and reach greater heights in the coming years.
13. Thank you.