Yesterday, the Economic Development Board (EDB), Enterprise Singapore and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced the establishment of Digital Industry Singapore (DISG).

According to a media release, the new joint office will bring together 45 existing officers from EDB, Enterprise Singapore, and IMDA. By combining the unique strengths in industry development, market access, capability development and policy formulation from the three agencies, the DISG aims to better support and capitalise on the growth opportunities for Singapore’s technology sector.

Through its efforts, the DISG is expected to create up to 10,000 new jobs within the technology sector over the next three years.

Beyond technology roles in engineering, software and product development, DISG expects that jobs in other functions, such as finance, HR, innovation and business development, will also be created.

To prepare Singaporeans for these jobs, DISG will work closely with IMDA, the industry and local education institutions to implement training programmes and on-the job training. These training initiatives will cover areas such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, data science, network engineering, software development, user experience design and product management.


 

At its core, DISG will streamline the way Singapore's government engages with the technology sector by serving as a single interface for the industry. This approach will enable it to better understand companies' needs, with a view to anchor global technology leaders, build local champions, and nurture future ready talent in Singapore.

It will also build up both the consumer technology and enterprise technology segments of the ecosystem.

  • On the consumer technology front, it will assist companies to tap into the growing, mobile-first Asian market to capture opportunities in areas such as ride-hailing, ecommerce, fintech and new media.
  • In the enterprise technology segment, it digitalise Singapore's economy to help companies build new solutions in areas such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, payments and cloud, that can scale globally from Singapore.


Digital Industry Singapore (DISG) company case studies

Alibaba Group

Singapore is an important operations hub of Alibaba Group in Southeast Asia. Since establishing its Singapore office in 2013 to serve local shoppers on its Taobao plaform, Alibaba has significantly expanded its Singapore team to serve multiple businesses in the Alibaba ecosystem, supporting units including Tmall, Alibaba Cloud, Ant Financial, DAMO Academy, Lazada and Redmart.

For example, Alibaba Cloud set up its international headquarters in Singapore in 2015 and has since become the largest Cloud platform in APAC region. Alibaba Cloud is in early discussions with DISG on a possible partnership to launch immersion programs in China to help SMEs internationalise by leveraging Alibaba Cloud’s extensive market reach. This effort involves coordination and planning by various agencies. Having a DISG officer as the main touchpoint for Alibaba has reduced coordination costs, enabled both government and company to navigate the rapidly-changing technology sector, and to act quickly to seize mutually-beneficial opportunities.

As Alibaba continues to step up its efforts to empower businesses in Singapore and the region, DISG will be able to address the company's needs in a more coordinated fashion, and find alignment with Singapore's digitalisation initiatives to benefit the wider community.

Grab

DISG, with its access to a network of government and industry stakeholders, has helped Singapore-based technology company Grab align its interests with Singapore. One example of this was the recently announced project to build Grab’s new headquarters at one-north – an inter-agency collaboration in support of a local champion creating good digital jobs.

DISG also curates project opportunities between government agencies, Grab and other industry players, drawing on the synergies between the tech and media sectors in Singapore’s vibrant digital economy to help local companies gain exposure overseas. For example, IMDA is partnering with Grab and VICE Media to promote and distribute new content on both companies' platforms, creating new avenues for local content creators to reach out to a regional audience. DISG is also a key partner for Grab's talent needs, working with agencies like IMDA, SSG and WSG to support Grab’s development of core capabilities such as AI and Data Science.

ShopBack

ShopBack is a fast growing local startup that partners over 2,000 merchants in the region, giving consumers a one-stop rewards platform to earn cashback, while delivering performance-based marketing to merchants. Most recently, the company has launched Shopback GO, in partnership with Visa and Mastercard, which enables users to earn cashback in the offline space when they dine at over 600 F&B brands in Singapore.

DISG works with the local tech firm to support its growth and explore new opportunities in areas such as talent development, capability building and international market access. DISG is, for instance, supporting ShopBack’s ambitious growth plans in the region, which includes building an R&D and data science hub in Singapore to better understand and serve customers. It has also facilitated discussions to explore if ShopBack can partake in the digital transformation of local precincts, enabling local retailers to adopt new digital solutions.

With the formation of DISG, the government will be able to better engage high growth ICM companies like ShopBack in a holistic and comprehensive manner, building up local tech champions that can find success both regionally – and also globally in the future.

Photo / StockUnlimited