Mayor of Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government Qin Weizhong, friends and colleagues from Singapore and Shenzhen.
I am delighted to meet Mayor Qin and your team for the 2nd Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) Meeting. I would also like to congratulate Mayor on your appointment to lead the implementation of our bilateral initiative. I’m also very happy to welcome Deputy Secretary Ai Xuefeng to the SCI JIC and express my appreciation to both the Singapore and Shenzhen teams for continuing their close working relationship despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
While we are unable to meet physically, I am glad that our Singaporean colleagues - ConsulGeneral in Guangzhou and IMDA SCI Secretariat Deputy Director, are able to join our friends in Shenzhen.
Strong Support from Chinese Leaders for SCI to Drive Policy Innovation
The continuation of regular high-level engagements are important affirmations of our longstanding ties and help to build positive momentum in cooperation between our countries. Just last Friday (15 Oct), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had a phone call with President Xi Jinping, and discussed enhanced collaboration on digital economy and smart cities. PM Lee mentioned our Smart Cities initiative, and said that there was scope to further expand collaboration. I understand that President Xi welcomed our ongoing collaboration, and said that China was prepared to tap on the full potential of cooperation in the digital economy.
At the 16th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) last year, Vice Premier Han Zheng called for the SCI to play a demonstrative role to drive policy and innovation. National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Vice Chairman Ning Jizhe also supported SCI’s progress in policy innovation by kick-starting a new batch of projects.
SCI an Ideal Platform to Test and Pilot for Shenzhen and China with Singapore and Southeast Asia
Both Shenzhen and Singapore are at the forefront of policy innovations in the digital economy. Shenzhen has taken its renewed mandate as a Pilot Demonstration Zone in good stride, moving expeditiously with initiatives in the digital economy, including artificial intelligence, life sciences and autonomous vehicle management.
As the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) shepherd, Singapore works with member states and supports multilateral solutions to issues such as sustainability, digitalisation and data protection, to help businesses across ASEAN create new opportunities while building trust and conducive business environments.
By bringing together Shenzhen and Singapore’s joint expertise in technology and policy in areas such as medical technology and urban sustainability, SCI can make a difference by taking on bold pilot projects that can shape the future of our digital economies.
Early Achievements of SCI Phase 1 Projects Pave the Way for Deeper Cooperation
At the last SCI Joint Implementation Committee meeting, we pioneered seven projects under the three pillars of digital connectivity, technology talent development, and innovation and entrepreneurship. The projects have progressed with strong support from industry despite the pandemic.
To date, 39 Singapore and Shenzhen companies and organisations are on board to implement SCI pilots. SCI has brought companies together through business networking initiatives and B2B platforms, such as the Shenzhen and Singapore landing pads to support businesses venturing overseas as part of the Global Innovation Alliance, and the OneSME platform to promote digital trade between Singapore and China SMEs.
I also want to mention the Digital Trade project, where the commercial pilot with electronic Bill of Lading (eBL) will commence. This project is a great example of how policy innovation can propel SCI projects forward, by providing a conducive business and regulatory environment for business to take place.
Boundless Opportunities for Collaboration in Digital Economy
Today, we will further witness four industry-led MOUs being signed, expanding the scope of our collaboration, in areas of IoT and blockchain, robotics development, digital twins-enabled solutions, and e-invoicing. This reaffirms our commitment to continue building a bridge of digital connectivity between Singapore and Shenzhen.
I look forward very much to the implementation of the 8 new Phase 2 projects, in particular, the hybrid Demonstration Zones project will bring together various elements of SCI collaboration, combining physical and digital pilots to showcase innovations in a smart city of tomorrow.
With the directions set by our leaders during last Friday’s call, I encourage the Joint Secretariat to further explore innovations and collaborations in key issues that preoccupy both our governments, such as healthcare, sustainability, and urban rejuvenation.
There is a saying from the Han Dynasty - ‘Victory is ensured when people pool their strength; success is secured when people put their heads together’.
With our joint efforts and the ingenuity displayed by our colleagues to tackle project challenges, I am very confident that we will deliver positive outcomes to report at the 17th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation meeting later this year.
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