The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) bridges the gap between academia and industry as a Science and Technology Organisation.
The research conducted at A*STAR aims to spur economic growth and jobs for Singapore. Thus, A*STAR enhances lives by contributing to societal benefits such as improving outcomes in healthcare, urban living, and sustainability.
A*STAR sees themselves as playing a key role in nurturing and developing a diversity of talent and leaders throughout their research institutes.
Currently, A*STAR is in the process of building the National Supercomputer Centre facilities, hosting a 1+ PetaFlop Supercomputer, to be launched within the next few months. This Supercomputing facility is hoped to meet the greater demands for research and elevate Singapore’s computing prowess on a global scale.
This past week, OpenGov caught up with Dr. John Kan, CIO, A*STAR, to discuss the new National Supercomputer Centre being built in Singapore and how it will affect the greater research community in the region.
National Supercomputer Project to be completed in 2016
The National Supercomputing Centre, as it will be provisioned by the Science, Technology and Research Network (STAR-N), is expected to provide:
- A high bandwidth network to connect the distributed login nodes
- High speed access to users (both public and private) anywhere
- Support in the transfer of large data sets (both locally and internationally)
- Local and international network connectivity
- Access to genomic data located in ASEAN, USA, Europe, Australia, Japan, and Middle East
Several institutes of higher learning, such as NUS, NTU, SUTD, and polytechnics, are partnering with A*STAR to utilize the facilities at the National Supercomputing Centre, once it is unveiled. They will be able to be granted access the supercomputer centre when it launches at Fusionopolis in 2016.
“We are building a new National Supercomputing Centre for the whole of Singapore,” stated Dr. Kan, “With appropriate admin rights, lecturers and PhD students may access the facilities for their research. It can be any type of research.”
Dr. Kan also mentioned that research institutes, universities, and organisations outside of Singapore may use the supercomputer facilities.
As long as outside organisations develop a research collaboration agreement with Singapore Research Institute, then they may use the supercomputer facilities.
Competing on a Global Scale
Next year, A*STAR is hosting a supercomputing conference in Singapore for experts within the whole region to attend. They hope to increase regional participation from previous years in anticipation for the launch of the National Supercomputing Centre.
The launch of the National Supercomputing Centre will be a great feat for the country on a global scale. This supercomputer would allow for greater visibility for Singapore as a leader in the high performing computing (HPC) community.
Every year the HPC evaluates the fastest computers in the world. As Dr. Kan told us, Singapore aims to have the fastest supercomputer in the region. It will be one of the top 50 supercomputing facilities in the world, by the time the centre is completed.
With National Supercomputing Centre expected to feature +1 PetaFLOP, 10+ PB of Storage, and 500 Gbps flash burst buffer, the new facilities will meet the greater demands of research and provide greater opportunities to outside industries.
“This supercomputer centre will help improve 7 key industries, including: manufacturing, transportation, weather climate modeling, and others,” Dr. Kan said,“This is all part of the Smart Nation strategy in Singapore. One of our research institutes, I2R, is developing simulations and models in conjunction with industry partners, to use with our supercomputer.”
This National Super Computer Centre is expected to impact the research community in Singapore tremendously. It will allow for greater collaboration in the region, greater research insights, and greater attention paid to Singapore as a leader in the HPC community.
SINGAPORE – February 2, 2023 – Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has collaborated with National Geographic CreativeWorks to unveil UNSEEN/SINGAPORE, a campaign that showcases Singapore as a travel destination from the perspective of intrepid photographers from Southeast Asia. Through photography, the campaign includes a virtual exhibition which encourages travellers to explore the city-state’s cultural diversity and hidden spots, by taking a moment to observe the unseen beauty of destination Singapore.
Running from 2 February 2023, UNSEEN/SINGAPORE will showcase a collection of photographic works through a virtual exhibition, captured and curated by six photographers from across Southeast Asia. UNSEEN/SINGAPORE features the works of:
- Amani Azlin from Malaysia
- Tino Renato from Indonesia
- Chanipol Kusolcharttum, better known as “Rockkhound”, from Thailand
- Phạm Gia Tùng from Vietnam
- Gab Mejia from the Philippines
- Jayaprakash Bojan from Singapore
In curating the UNSEEN/SINGAPORE collection, each photographer visited Singapore in mid-2022, covering areas in Singapore that showcase nature, heritage buildings, cultural sites, and art. Each presented their vision of an UNSEEN/SINGAPORE through ways that resonate with their passions and personal experiences.
The photographers ventured across Singapore, going beyond its famous attractions and iconic skyline, to discover spots equally captivating – from charming neighbourhoods to lush and thriving offshore wetlands and a lighthouse at the island’s edge.
“We aim to inspire travellers to Singapore to rediscover the joy of travel once again. One way is to portray our destination in a different light, by helping visitors to see it afresh through another person’s eyes. UNSEEN/SINGAPORE set out to do this, through the lens of talented photographers from Southeast Asia, who tell their journey of discovery through photography. We hope they will inspire a new wave of visitors to discover a Singapore reimagined,” said Mr John Conceicao, Executive Director, Southeast Asia, STB.
“If you want to experience a country, you have to go down a layer below into the more local stuff to get a feel of what the country is. For people who’ve already visited Singapore, they should try and look for some of the unorthodox locations which they probably missed in their previous visits because
there’s a lot more to Singapore with the culture and heritage,” shared Jayaprakash Bojan, a full-time photographer and documentary filmmaker who advocates conservation via visuals and participated in the campaign.
UNSEEN/SINGAPORE is part of STB’s efforts to boost travel recovery through SingapoReimagine, a tourism campaign that highlights new, innovative and unexpected experiences in Singapore to audiences worldwide.
Between January to December 2022, Singapore recorded 6.3 million international visitor arrivals. Visitor arrivals were driven by strong demand from Singapore’s key source markets, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand.
Get to know the photographers
Amani Azlin from Malaysia
Amani is a multi-disciplinary visual artist who expresses her passion for minimalism through her work for various local brands. When Amani is taking pictures, she goes in with her camera and doesn’t give it too much thought. It’s all about taking pictures in the moment and only scrutinising them afterwards. For her, it’s about capturing candid, unscripted moments in daily life, even when she’s travelling in a different country. As the only female photographer in the group, she offers a fresh take on travelling to must-visit sites with her passion for slow travel rather than touch-and-go experiences.
Jayaprakash Bojan from Singapore
Jayaprakash Bojan was National Geographic’s Nature Photographer of the Year 2017. He is a nature-wildlife conservation artist whose work focuses on wildlife photography abroad. As someone who has lived in Singapore for around 7 years, the pandemic has pushed him to explore his own neighbourhood (particularly Pasir Ris Park) rather than places abroad. With this project, Jayaprakash rediscovers his home, Singapore, from a different perspective.
Tino Renato from Indonesia
A self-taught travel, food, portrait and still life photographer, Tino started his journey when he was younger, starting out with a film camera, and it remains his favourite medium for taking his pictures. For him, it’s all about capturing the raw moments of a place and its people and making them the focus of his pictures. It is what makes his photos appear simple while adding depth to the story as we can witness in the UNSEEN/SINGAPORE project.
Chanipol Kusolcharttum, also known as “Rockkhound”, from Thailand
After a few years of working as an air steward and travelling the world, Rockkhound decided to pursue and kickstart his passion for photography as a career, enabling him to continue exploring the world. The photographer-cinematographer from Bangkok started his photography journey about 10 years ago on Instagram while embracing the philosophy of slowing down to truly live in the moment and enjoy the scenery all around him when he is out and about. His style is to deliver motion and emotion, such as looking for an interesting composition to give some movement to still architecture in Singapore. He runs a production company in Bangkok, holds workshops and shares photo and filmmaking tips on his YouTube channel.
Phạm Gia Tùng from Vietnam
Tùng enjoys the photographic process – from scouting a location to finding new angles and setting up his shots, no matter how long it takes. The Hanoi-based photographer focuses on taking photos from angles people rarely consider, and constantly learning ways to improve his photography. Even though he has visited Singapore many times before, this project gave him the opportunity to appreciate and capture Singapore’s nature and people differently.
Gab Mejia from the Philippines
Gab is a National Geographic explorer and is passionate about wildlife photography and conservation. In 2021, he was awarded the World Wildlife Fund For Nature International President’s Youth Award and was also listed on the 2021 Forbes Under 30 List for The Arts in Asia for photography. His story started when his dad took him mountain climbing, sparking his interest in the natural world and the stories he could discover and capture behind it. His vision for this project is to show a different side of Singapore, capturing moments of the wild and pockets of nature.
UNSEEN/SINGAPORE will be open to the public on www.nationalgeographic.com/unseensingapore from 2 February 2023 inviting visitors to reimagine Singapore. The virtual exhibition will showcase each photographer’s ‘room’ based on their thematic-led collections. Viewers will be able to virtually visit many parts of Singapore including locations such as the Sim Kwong Ho shophouses, Pulau Ubin, Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle, Jurong Lake Gardens, Changi Chapel and Museum, and more.
To view the UNSEEN/SINGAPORE virtual exhibition, visit
To watch behind-the-scenes of UNSEEN/SINGAPORE, visit www.facebook.com/VisitSingaporeMY.
Market merchants in Quezon City, Philippines, can now apply for and book spaces and booths online using the Market One-Stop Shop platform (MOSS). According to City Administrator Michael Alimurung, the portal would identify “legal” vendor spaces free of impediments. It is also part of Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte’s ambition of making the city a desirable business location.
With the new system, the city government promises a smooth application process for renting a stall, including payment and collection of market rentals. This will also make the city treasurer’s office’s job easier because they will no longer have to collect rent in person.
To ensure that the new system is widely adopted, the local administration put free Wi-Fi connection points in barangay halls and hundreds of other public venues. A caravan will be launched to assist existing and prospective vendors in registering with the platform.
“Imagine treating the entire city as a public market. This method allows us to locate vendor locations online. It’s thinking broader by allowing us to treat the entire city in terms of how to assist our vendors,” Alimurung told at a press conference at Quezon City Hall.
Margarita Santos, director of the Quezon City Business Permits and Licensing Office, stated that the system would not replace any positions, such as market masters or market managers, but would make their tasks easier.
She stated that the MOSS would use a “first in, first out” queuing system and offer a five-year contract to the first vendor that applied for the space or stand. However, if they cannot satisfy the requirements within a specific number of days, they will be returned to the bottom of the queue,” Santos noted.
Market inspectors will check IDs supplied to registered merchants to guarantee that the correct renters occupy registered booths. Currently, over 12,000 sellers occupy public market stalls in the city. Those are our objectives. In addition, we want to incorporate 43 private markets.
According to Santos, the MOSS would also assist in eliminating red tape and corruption, such as those who reserve marketplaces and then rent them out to other merchants. Because this is an online system, we have a digital trail that allows us to see where the application took too long, who is at fault and admonish them.
Santos added that the system would also record vendor transgressions, which might result in losing their registration area or stall. She stated that registered vendors would be queued online once these areas are full until free space becomes available.
Procopio Lipana, Programmes and Projects Officer, stated that the site would make it easier for the city government and other law enforcement agencies to identify and apprehend unlawful sellers. Quezon City has an anti-hawker division and market inspectors who verify stall sizes and look for illicit merchants.
Indonesia is also working to improve digitisation in the conventional sector. Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade has targeted digitising 1,000 traditional markets and one million MSMEs as part of its digital transformation strategy. There are now 2,047 traditional markets that use local market websites through the Trade Facility Information System (TFIS), ten traditional markets that use digital marketing, and 51 conventional markets that operate QRIS for non-cash transactions.
According to Vice Minister of Trade Jerry Sambuaga, 326 traditional markets in 42 sub-districts have implemented e-retribution, 106,702 local traders, and 9.7 million MSME dealers have made non-cash transactions through QRIS.
The government of Indonesia’s digitalisation efforts have helped the country attain IDR980 trillion (US$ 63 billion), or 5.7% of GDP, by 2021. Indonesia’s GDP is predicted to reach IDR24 trillion (US$1.5 trillion) in 2030, with the digital economy accounting for 18% of GDP, or approximately IDR4,531 trillion (US$ 290 million).
All organisations that use alphanumeric Sender IDs to send SMS are now required to register with the Singapore SMS Sender ID Registry (SSIR) as part of the measures announced by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) last October. This registration is intended to protect consumers from non-registered SMS that may be scams, a press statement has said.
Starting from 31 January, any non-registered SMS will be labelled as “Likely-SCAM”. This functions similarly to a spam filter or spam bin. Consumers might get non-registered SMS labelled as “Likely-SCAM” and are advised to exercise caution. If unsure, consumers are encouraged to check with family and friends. This will improve IMDA’s overall resilience against scams.
All organisations that use alphanumeric Sender IDs must register early with the SSIR. This is to give adequate time as non-registered SMS Sender IDs after 31 January will be labelled as “Likely-SCAM”. Organisations that have not registered their Sender IDs are advised to do so, the statement said.
As of January 2023, over 1,200 organisations have already registered with SSIR, using more than 2,600 SMS Sender IDs. These include financial institutions, e-commerce operators, logistics providers, and SMEs that send SMS to their customers who have registered with the SSIR.
In recent months, IMDA reached out to organisations through aggregators and associations such as the Singapore Business Federation, Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, and Association of Banks in Singapore, to encourage them to register with the SSIR. The mandatory SSIR regime is part of a broader effort to protect against scams, which also includes working with telecom operators to reduce the number of scam calls and SMS coming through the communication networks.
Since the implementation of the SSIR in March 2022, there has been a significant decrease in scams reported through SMS, with a 64% reduction from the last quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 2022. Additionally, scam cases perpetrated via SMS dropped from 10% in 2021 to 8% in Q2 2022, down from 10% in 2021.
To effectively combat scams, a collective effort from society is needed. Despite implementing various measures, scammers may adapt their methods and tactics. IMDA will continue to collaborate with other stakeholders in the fight against scams, but individual vigilance and awareness are crucial. Consumers should remain vigilant and share scam prevention tips with friends and loved ones, the statement said.
IMDA leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA is working to develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem. It fosters talent, strengthens business capabilities, and enhances Singapore’s ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment and enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission.
Scams and unwanted commercial electronic messages and calls are an international problem with scammers continuing to prey on unsuspecting parties. Last year, IMDA and Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to boost cooperation and fight scams and spam. The agreement covers cooperation in information sharing and assistance in investigations relating to scam and spam calls and short message services. The two sides also agreed to mutual exchanges of knowledge and expertise and collaboration on technical and commercially viable solutions in relation to scam and spam communications.
Researchers from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI) have created a dolphin-like sonar device with a new echo processing technique that enables clearer underwater images compared to the traditional signal processing method of visualising sound echoes.
The new sonar processing method could have potential benefits in underwater commercial or military sonars. It could be used to scan the seabed to search for features that can be used to aid navigation. The sonar’s compactness also makes it suitable to be mounted on underwater robots for ocean exploration.
The processing method is based on the hypothesis that dolphins use prior information about their environment, apart from broadband sound pulses, to interpret their echoes. The sonar uses information on the sparsity of objects, which allows for a better interpretation of sound echoes.
According to a press statement, the new device provides a better trade-off between sonar-image clarity, the number of sensors, and the size of the sensor array used as compared to current sonars of similar size and purpose. Conventional echo processing techniques tend to fail when sensors are limited in number or widely spaced. The new sonar processing method, however, can extract information and yield image clarity even in these situations.
The researchers noticed that dolphins had the ability to scan underwater objects acoustically and match them visually, indicating that a dolphin’s sound echoes emitted off an object contain information about the object’s shape. They then recorded the echoes emitted by dolphins when scanning an object in the water.
Using their observations as a guide, the team constructed a biomimetic sonar that mimics a dolphin’s sonar system. The device, which is about the size of a dolphin’s head and measures 25 cm in width, is designed to emit sharp, impulsive clicking sounds, similar to those used by dolphins for echolocation.
The team employed three transmitters to send sounds from different directions. They then analysed the echoes produced by both the dolphin and the biomimetic sonar to visualise what information about the object’s shape was revealed in the echoes.
To complement the hardware, the team developed software that improves the visualisation of echoes. The researchers incorporated the concept of sparsity into the sonar’s software. This assumes that out of the space scanned, only a small percentage is occupied by the object. According to Hari Vishnu, Senior Research Fellow at NUS TMSI, “Using prior information, such as the idea of sparsity, is intuitive. It is something humans do all the time – we turn our understanding of reality into expectations that can speed up our inferences and decisions. For example, in the absence of other information, the human brain and vision system tend to assume that in an image, the light on an object will be falling from above.”
The effectiveness of the software was demonstrated when it was able to visualise information from a dolphin’s sonar echoes when scanning an object, as well as sonar signals produced by their compact sonar. A conventional approach to processing both sonar echoes resulted in noisy images. However, the novel processing approach gave better resolution and therefore sharper images. The software is also able to generate visualisations with a mere three clicks from the sonar, thus allowing it to be operationally fast.
The University of Hong Kong’s Department of Computer Science and the FinTech Academy, in partnership with the 150th Anniversary Community Foundation of a Hong Kong-based bank, have joined forces with the Strategic Centre for Research in Privacy-Preserving Technologies & Systems at the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore to establish the Virtual Asset Technology Consortium (VATC).
VATC’s aim is to gather experts from various fields such as academia, industry, user groups, and government organisations to share information and provide guidance on technical matters related to virtual assets.
The management board will be headed by the Associate Head of the Department of Computer Science at HKU and the Associate Director of the HKU-SCF FinTech Academy and will include professors from NTU and professionals from supporting units as members.
Creating a platform that elevates the technological advancements in the field of virtual assets
The virtual assets (or digital assets) industry has seen significant growth in recent years. This innovative technology has led to new methods for conducting financial transactions using digital tools. The market has demonstrated a positive response to the belief that virtual assets, both those issued by private entities and the government, will be an integral part of the worldwide monetary and economic system.
The Virtual Asset Technology Consortium has set out the following missions:
- Representation – Provide insights and advice on the technical aspects of virtual assets;
- Research – Foster R&D collaboration on virtual assets.
- Networking – Provide a platform for discussing the latest developments and trends of virtual assets and related FinTech technologies; and,
- Education – Organise seminars and other educational activities to enable the industry and the general public to acquire knowledge on technologies related to virtual assets.
Several organisations such as Cyberport Hong Kong, Hong Kong Blockchain Society, as well as banks, have already expressed their support for VATC to The University of Hong Kong. The Virtual Asset Technology Consortium (VATC) will be officially launched in Q2 2023 and welcomes experts and enthusiasts who are committed to promoting the stability and growth of virtual assets to join the consortium.
The growing market for Digital Asset Management (DAM)
Recent research found that the Digital Asset Management (DAM) market is expected to grow from US$4.2 billion in 2022 to US$8.0 billion by 2027, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.6% during the forecast period. This forecast suggests that the demand for DAM solutions is expected to increase rapidly in the coming years.
Several factors are expected to drive the growth of Digital Asset Management (DAM). Some of the key drivers for this growth include:
- The increasing need for digitalisation and the ability to quickly and easily collaborate with businesses on corporate assets;
- The growing demand for the authenticity and security of digital assets;
- The ability to easily upgrade, maintain and categorise digital assets, reducing production costs and improving resource allocation;
- The need for organisational transparency across different industries and business functions;
- The ability to increase conversion rates and retain customers; and,
- The need for brand consistency.
Digital Asset Management (DAM) services include consulting, integration, and implementation, as well as training, support, and maintenance services. These services are necessary at various stages of the process, including pre-sales requirement assessment, and post-sales product deployment and execution.
This allows clients to get the maximum return on investment (RoI) from their DAM solutions. The service providers offer guidance to end-users and assist them in integrating and deploying software that is tailored to their specific requirements.
Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have created the HaptGlove, a lightweight, untethered haptic glove for virtual environments. It aims to provide a more realistic and authentic sense of touch and movement when interacting with virtual objects, enhancing the overall immersive experience in virtual reality (VR).
While the concept of haptic gloves is not new, current technologies have limitations in providing a realistic sense of touch, according to a press statement. Vibration motors in typical haptic gloves cannot replicate the real-world sense of touch like the hardness and shape of virtual objects. Other haptic gloves utilise pneumatic actuators that generate pressure but are bulky and restrict user movement.
The team’s research leader, Lim Chwee Teck, explained that virtual reality should not only be a visual and auditory experience but also enable interactions with virtual objects. However, current methods of interacting with virtual objects, such as pressing on a virtual panel or interacting with avatars, lack the sensation of touch found in the real world. This prompted the team to develop the haptic glove, which aims to provide the sensation of a “physical” touch in the virtual world.
HaptGlove is a portable and highly flexible haptic glove that enables users to have immersive touch and feel of VR objects with unparalleled realism in the VR experience. It incorporates lightweight pneumatic control and the team’s latest microfluidic sensing technology, which significantly reduces its size and weight, and eliminates the need for bulky accessories.
It enables users to interact with the virtual world in a more natural and realistic way, providing an unobtrusive and immersive experience in virtual reality. It features five pairs of haptic feedback modules, one for each finger, which are controlled wirelessly to sense the virtual object in terms of shape, size, and stiffness.
When using HaptGlove, users can sense contact as their avatar’s hand touches, grasps, and manipulates virtual objects by using a microfluidic pneumatic indenter to deliver real-time pressure to the user’s fingertips. The glove can also simulate the shape and stiffness of the object the avatar is touching, by restricting finger positions, adding realism to the virtual interaction experience.
HaptGlove uses proprietary software developed by the NUS research team to achieve a visual-haptic delay of fewer than 20 milliseconds. This is faster than conventional haptic gloves and provides a near-real-time user experience. The latest prototype is also more comfortable to wear, weighing only 250 grams, much lighter than commercially available haptic gloves that weigh over 450 grams.
The HaptGlove project was initiated by Lim and his team in 2019 and it took two years to develop a prototype. To evaluate the device’s performance, a group of 20 users was recruited to wear the glove to sort four virtual balls of varying stiffness in the virtual world. Apart from achieving over 90% accuracy in completing the tasks, the users said that HaptGlove significantly enhanced realism in VR and improved their overall experience, compared to devices using vibration motors.
Besides gaming, the HaptGlove could be used in applications in the fields of medicine and education, such as assisting surgeons to better prepare for an operation by simulating a hyper-realistic environment or giving students a hands-on learning experience by simulating palpation on different body parts.
DICT spokesman and Undersecretary Anna Maye Yu Lamentillo conducted the meeting with Singapore Ambassador to the Philippines Gerard Ho Wei Hong to examine future collaborative efforts and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) implementation between the Philippines and Singapore to enhance digital partnership.
The MoU on Digital Cooperation was agreed upon by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s state visit to Singapore last year. It was ratified by DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy and Josephine Teo, Singapore’s Minister for Communications, and Information.
“We reviewed with Ambassador Ho how to implement this MOU and which areas to focus on. Singapore has a wealth of experience in e-governance and cybersecurity, and they can share their best practices with us,” Lamentillo explained.
The MoU covers digital cooperation on digital connectivity, particularly in interoperable systems and methodologies that enable electronic records; cybersecurity, such as organising training courses and technical programmes through the ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence to improve and strengthen cybersecurity skills; and digital government/e-governance, including digital government strategy, digital government services, and digital government infrastructure.
It also involves exchanging knowledge, technical experience, best practices on scam calls and short messaging services, and personal data protection. It also aims to foster collaboration in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, big data, analytics, and robots.
“There will also be collaboration and knowledge exchange to boost the digital innovation ecosystem, such as connecting business owners with promising solution providers; exploring cooperation on digital capability and capacity building; and exchanging knowledge and best practices on digital infrastructure,” she added.
The Philippines has increased its digital partnership with some countries. For example, before cooperating with Singapore, the Philippines signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China on electronic commerce (e-commerce).
The two countries agreed to increase trade of high-quality featured products and services; explore business interchange between MSMEs and e-commerce platforms, start-ups, and logistics service providers; and share best practices and innovative experiences in utilising e-commerce.
The agreement will facilitate the exchange of experiences, best practices, critical information, and trade and e-commerce policies. Both countries will prepare measurements to promote consumer and business protection, intellectual property, data security, and privacy rules. It also contributes to the ability of local businesses to compete in the modernising business sector. The Memorandum of Understanding is in keeping with the E-Commerce Philippine 2022 Roadmap agenda, which aims to promote cross-border partnership and market access through trade agreements and engagement programmes with key e-commerce trading partners.
While Singapore has undertaken a similar digitisation initiative with China. Singapore’s Minister of Communications and Information (MCI) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced the signing of eight (8) Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) and the unveiling of fourteen (14) new joint projects as part of the Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative in November (SCI).
As they build economic recovery and resilience, Singapore and Shenzhen will actively establish a conducive business climate for firms to innovate and conduct cross-border transactions safely and smoothly. As the SCI began its third year of operation, the meeting noted that the number of new cooperative ventures doubled compared to the previous year.
Aside from that, on the 7th UK Singapore Financial Dialogue, dubbed Fintech Bridge, Singapore and the United Kingdom reaffirmed their commitment to expanding their financial ties. The FinTech Bridge will capitalise on fintech players’ active interest in payments, regulatory technologies, and wealth management. It will also provide structured participation that will aid in developing policy measures, improve evaluations of future challenges such as the development of distributed ledger technologies and data exchange, and facilitate trade and investment flow between different markets.
Additionally, both governments discussed recent innovations in the fintech sector, such as advances in crypto-assets, and agreed on significant areas for future collaboration. They examined their progress in tightening consumer protection legislation and implementing stable coin regulations. Both parties agreed that there is an urgent need to assist in the safe development of a digital assets ecosystem while ensuring that digital asset risks are constantly handled.