Singapore can be global Asian node for tech innovation

DAVOS: needs to work towards repositioning itself to become a global Asian node for technology, and enterprise, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Mr Heng made this point during a panel on globalisation, hosted by the National University of Singapore and the National Technological University, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday (Jan 23).

“One important area we ought to be working on for Singapore is how do we reposition Singapore to this new world of industry 4.0, globalisation. I believe Singapore can be a global Asia node for technology, innovation and enterprise.

“Singapore will serve as a very good base for accessing the region. I hope Singapore is the first port of call for global companies because we are English-speaking and we have a good sense of the region and that Singapore is a very good base for global enterprises to enter the region.” Mr Heng said.

The minister said Asia is growing so well and that Singapore is in a very unique position to be able to foster this growth.

“We have a very multi-racial, multi-cultural society, every child in Singapore speaks at least two languages, English and their Mother Tongue.

“And that allows us to connect with all parts of the world and one of the things I hope we can do more is to increase our cross cultural literacy of Singaporeans so that we can connect with people from all over the world.” he added.


Mr Heng also stressed the importance of harnessing technology to spur innovation and economic growth, and in turn, raise the standard of living for Singaporeans.

However, in order to achieve that, he said Singaporeans need to embrace lifelong learning.

He said Singaporeans need to “reconceptualise” what is about, adding that they need to be prepared to learn “anywhere from anyone at any time”.

“One of the least appreciated aspect of is learning on the job, people learn very well by doing, it’s not just learning but asking: How do I solve the problem? What else do I need to learn and how can I learn from my co-workers?” he said.

“We need to rethink education, how we prepare our children to have the basic foundation for them to be able to learn and then create opportunities, and that’s why we have this big SkillsFuture movement so that lifelong learning is not just a slogan but a reality.”

Mr Heng was joined by other panelists – Lim Chow Kiat, Chief Executive Officer of sovereign wealth fund GIC, as well as Professor Suzanne Fortier, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Canada’s McGill University, and Dion Weisler, President & Chief Executive Officer of HP Inc.

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