Asia’s technology and internet firms are competing against the region’s traditional banks for consumer finances, hoping to increase competition and drive innovation in their markets, while non-banking companies are keen to enter the finance sector by leveraging their technology and user databases.
There is huge momentum in Asia moving towards digital banks, and some monetary authorities have already issued digital banking licences like Hong Kong and Taiwan. They issued digital banking licences to companies in the first half of 2019. The Monetary Authority of Singapore is at the stage where they are now reviewing applications for digital banking licences and Malaysia is at the beginning of their digital banking transformation journey and is at policy-making stage.
Hong Kong – embracing new era of banking
In March 2019 the Monetary Authority in Hong Kong granted banking licences under the Banking Ordinance to Livi VB Limited, SC Digital Solutions Limited and ZhongAn Virtual Finance Limited, Welab Digital Limited, Ant SME, PingAn OneConnect, Infinium and Insight Fintech for them to operate in the form of a virtual bank.
Mr Norman T.L. Chan, Chief Executive of the HKMA, said in a release last year that “The introduction of virtual banks in Hong Kong is a key pillar supporting Hong Kong’s entry into the Smart Banking Era. It is a major milestone in reinforcing Hong Kong’s position as a premier international financial centre. I believe that virtual banks will not only help drive FinTech and innovation, but also bring about brand new customer experiences and further promote financial inclusion in Hong Kong.”
“As virtual banks will have no physical branches, they will rely on the internet for customer acquisition and for the delivery of banking services. I believe that virtual banks will have to offer innovative and customer-centric services in order to attract customers. Moreover, in targeting the retail public and SMEs as their main client base, virtual banks should help promote financial inclusion in Hong Kong.”
In total Hong Kong has issued 8 digital banking licences so far.
Taiwan – extra licence issued due to diverse applications
Taiwan issued its first virtual banking licenses to three consortiums led by Taiwan and Japanese investors in July 2019. The island’s Financial Supervisory Commission announced the digital banking licenses were granted to LINE Financial Taiwan, led by Japanese app operator LINE Group and including Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank and Standard Chartered, and to Next Commercial Bank, led by Taiwan telecom operator Chunghwa Telecom. Another license was granted to Rakuten International Commercial Bank, which was operated by Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten Inc and Taiwan’s IBF Financial Holdings.
The Taiwanese commission said while it had initially planned to give out two new licenses, because the three companies all had different business models and target customers, it had decided to give each of them a licence. They have no further plans to issue further licences.
Philippines – virtual banks launched in 2019
The Philippines officially announced two virtual banking players with the launch of Malaysian CIMB Bank and Dutch lender ING in 2019.
Singapore – reviewing licence applications
The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced yesterday (7 January 2020) as reported by OpenGov that it has received 21 applications for digital bank licences as at the close of application on 31 December 2019. This comprises 7 applications for the digital full bank (DFB) licences, and 14 applications for the digital wholesale bank (DWB) licences.
These new digital banks are in addition to any qualifying subsidiaries that Singapore bank groups may already establish under MAS’ existing regulatory framework for the purposes of operating new business models, including partnerships with non-bank players to conduct digital banking.
Who has submitted their digital banking licence application in Singapore?
Grab and Singtel have confirmed that they applied for a full digital bank licence. Alibaba Group’s fintech arm Ant Financial have also confirmed that they have applied for a wholesale digital bank license. Internet group Sea, formerly known as Garena, is the first applicant to go solo in its bid for a digital full bank licence in Singapore.
Razer is leading a consortium consisting of Sheng Siong Holdings, FWD, LinkSure Global, Insignia Venture Partners and Carro in a bid for a full digital bank license. iFast Corporation confirmed that they have also applied a digital banking license with two Chinese partners namely — Yillion Group and Hande Group.
The BEYOND consortium announced on Sunday their bid for a full digital banking license in Singapore which consists of V3 Group, EZ-Link, Far East Organisation, Singapore Business Federation, Sumitomo Insurance Co Ltd and Temasek’s subsidiary Heliconia Capital Management.
Supply chain finance company Sheng Ye Capital, financial conglomerate Phillip Capital and AI-focused fintech firm Advance AI’s announced that they are also bidding for a wholesale digital banking license in Singapore. AMTD led consortium consisting of Xiaomi, SP Group and Funding Societies announced that they too are bidding for a digital wholesale banking license.
MAS will announce the successful applicants in June 2020. Successful applicants are expected to commence business by mid-2021.
Malaysia – preparing licence application policy
BNM will only open the application process for digital banks after it releases a finalized Policy Document within the first half of 2020.
Bank Negara Malaysia issued an Exposure Draft on Licensing Framework for Digital Banks on the 27 December 2019. This framework forms part of a series of measures adopted by the Bank to enable innovative application of technology in the financial sector. Up to five licences will be issued to qualified applicants to establish digital banks to conduct either conventional or Islamic banking business in Malaysia.
The Exposure Draft outlines the proposed framework for the licensing of digital banks to offer banking products and services to address market gaps in the underserved and unserved segments.
As reported by OpenGov in December last year, the Bank said in a statement that such digital banks are expected to offer meaningful access to and promote responsible usage of suitable and affordable financial solutions to financial consumers
The Bank will assess all feedback received and aims to finalise the Policy Document by the first half of 2020. Applications for licence will be open upon issuance of the Policy Document.
It is thought that the rollout of Digital banks will lead to greater operational efficiency and make banking more customer-centric. Digital banks will be able to offer banking products and services to address market gaps in the underserved and unserved segments. 2020 is set to mark the beginning of a new era of banking in Asia.
A research team from the LKS Faculty of Medicine at The University of Hong Kong (HKUMed) has developed more efficient CRISPR-Cas9 variants that could be useful for gene therapy applications. By establishing a new pipeline methodology that implements machine learning on high-throughput screening to accurately predict the activity of protein variants, the team has expanded the capacity to analyse up to 20 times more variants at once without needing to acquire additional experimental data, which vastly accelerates the speed in protein engineering.
The pipeline has been successfully applied in several Cas9 optimisations and engineered new Staphylococcus aureus Cas9 (SaCas9) variants with enhanced gene editing efficiency. The findings are now published in Nature Communications and a patent application has been filed based on this work.
Staphylococcus aureus Cas9 (SaCas9) is an ideal candidate for in vivo gene therapy owing to its small size that allows packaging into adeno-associated viral vectors to be delivered into human cells for therapeutic applications. However, its gene-editing activity could be insufficient for some specific disease loci.
Before it can be used as a reliable tool for the treatment of human diseases, further optimisations of SaCas9 are vital within precision medicine. These optimisations must comprise the boosting of its efficiency and precision by altering the Cas9 protein.
The standard protocol for modifying the protein involves saturation mutagenesis, where the number of possible modifications that could be introduced to the protein far exceeds the experimental screening capacity of even the state-of-art high-throughput platforms by order of magnitude.
In their work, the team explored whether combining machine learning with structure-guided mutagenesis library screening could enable the virtual screening of many more modifications to accurately identify the rare and better-performing variants for further in-depth validations.
The machine learning framework was tested on several previously published mutagenesis screens on Cas9 variants and the team was able to show that machine learning could robustly identify the best performing variants by using merely 5-20% of the experimentally determined data.
The Cas9 protein contains several parts, including protospacer adjacent motif (PAM)-interacting (PI) and Wedge (WED) domains to facilitate its interaction with the target DNA duplex. The research team married the machine learning and high-throughput screening platforms to design activity-enhanced SaCas9 protein by combining mutations in its PI and WED domains surrounding the DNA duplex bearing a (PAM). PAM is crucial for Cas9 to edit the target DNA and the aim was to reduce the PAM constraint for wider genome targeting whilst securing the protein structure by reinforcing the interaction with the PAM-containing DNA duplex via the WED domain.
In the screen and subsequent validations, the researchers identified new variants, including one named KKH-SaCas9-plus, with enhanced activity by up to 33% at specific genomic loci. The subsequent protein modelling analysis revealed the new interactions created between the WED and PI domains at multiple locations within the PAM-containing DNA duplex, attributing to KKH-SaCas9-plus’s enhanced efficiency.
Until recently, structure-guided design has dominated the field of Cas9 engineering. However, it only explores a small number of sites, amino-acid residues, and combinations. In this study, the research team was able to illustrate that screening with a larger scale and less experimental efforts, time and cost can be conducted using the machine learning-coupled multi-domain combinatorial mutagenesis screening approach, which led them to identify a new high-efficiency variant KKH-SaCas9-plus.
The Assistant Professor of the School of Biomedical Sciences, HKUMed stated that this approach will greatly accelerate the optimisation of Cas9 proteins, which could allow genome editing to be applied in treating genetic diseases more efficiently.
With the rapid advancement of global technology development, the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) is engaging more enterprises in the cooperation and common development of “industry, academia and research”, ASTRI has, thus, launched the “IPs and Service Offerings for Technology Start-ups and SMEs”, selected 20 innovative technological companies from varying categories of entry services, including 8 hardware, 6 software and 6 consulting service companies, with the entry price of HK$50,000 to HK$150,000.
ASTRI focuses on transferring technology to the industry, transforming it into commodities, developing high-quality and affordable patents, information and communication technologies, and creating important and far-reaching influence. In cooperation with research institutions, enterprises and academia, ASTRI researches important technologies that the industry pays attention to, and assists enterprises to enhance their competitiveness.
The relevant scientific research projects selected have a wide range of content, mainly to solve company evaluation, technology and network security issues, writing, electronic technology and electricity issues and more. Private institutions in Hong Kong can contact relevant professionals and engineers at ASTRI for assistance and enquiries.
Hong Kong’s scientific research has undergone many years of development. However, many start-ups, and even small and medium-sized enterprises that have been rooted in Hong Kong for many years striving to improve the field of technology, have been paying high fees for the solutions to technical problems.
Until now, no platform provided cost-effective solutions for them, and their business needs were not understood. Thus, the support provided via the “IPs and Service Offerings for Technology Start-ups and SMEs” caters to the needs of enterprises and is expected to help the industry to solve their difficulties.
Since its establishment 22 years ago, ASTRI has provided different innovative technology software, hardware or technical support to various government departments, public organizations and many private enterprises in Hong Kong, contributing to the smooth enhancement or assistance in their development processes. With the industrialisation of technology and the intellectualization of industries, a new era of competition in Hong Kong will emerge.
Examples of selection options:
Cybersecurity awareness and benchmarking assessment
General cybersecurity awareness training for users of any skill level including general IT users and technical employees to management-level IT professionals aimed at reducing cyber risk at the human level. The training also includes general cybersecurity assessment and brief benchmarking covering web applications, mobile applications, networks, security architecture, cloud infrastructure to ensure SMEs have a comprehensive understanding of their cyber defence maturity.
ESG compliance analytics
Industry-specific (e.g., financial, energy) ESG benchmarking report that will list the average or distribution of listed companies in different ESG metrics as well as the top performers in each metric or category. It will be based on the SME’s ESG metrics; performance or status in the industry compared to peer companies will also be reported, along with improvement suggestions. Analytics will help SMEs generate reports automatically by filling in the minimum required information.
Mixed language speech recognition and audio indexing
Based on client-supplied audio records as training data, help train a preliminary mixed language model supporting Cantonese, English and Mandarin for applications in specific industry domains such as insurance, media, telecom, banking and/or KOL.
Other items include:
- Speech recognition & audio indexing
- Financial document analysis
- Smart OCR & document processing
- Behaviour and emotion analysis for driving safety
- Smart indoor and outdoor Geographic Information System
- IoT technologies and device communications
- Retired battery screening solutions
- Eco-friendly power system
- Safe energy storage solutions
- Analog IC design for medical devices
- 3D Integration power electronics modules
- ASTRI AR Glass
- Wearable technologies
- Gantry Free Electronic Road Pricing
- ESD protection design consultancy
- Digital document processing
- DC solutions for energy saving and protection
The mission scenarios were complex and realistic, encompassing modern tactics and electronic warfare during the recently concluded large-scale air-to-air combat exercise dubbed Exercise Red Flag – Alaska. The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has completed its participation in this exercise which was hosted by the United States Air Force (USAF) at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
The RSAF deployed 10 RSAF F-15SG fighter aircraft and over 140 RSAF personnel from Peace Carvin V (PC V) Detachment to participate in which the airmen and women were able to share their abilities with those of the USAF and collaborated closely to achieve their mission objectives.
“Exercise Red Flag – Alaska is an important opportunity for RSAF personnel to train and sharpen our operational competencies. We are thankful to the USAF for being generous hosts, and look forward to future opportunities to train together,” says LTC Shewan Goh, the RSAF PC V Detachment Commander.
More than 70 aircraft participated in this edition of Exercise Red Flag – Alaska, including USAF F-18, F-16, EA-18G, and A-10 fighter aircraft. The RSAF and USAF collaborated on integrated missions in realistic threat and combat scenarios, honing combat readiness and sharpening operational competencies.
Having other forces exercise alongside the USAF improves its joint interoperability. They can put their capabilities to the test through Exercise Red Flag, which provides a demanding and realistic combat scenario.
During the exercise, the RSAF demonstrated exceptional tactics and competencies while bringing significant capability to the fight. Through such exercises, they can also continue to hone how they work together and strengthen their professional and personal relationships.
Since 1984, the RSAF has taken part in Exercise Red Flag – Alaska (previously known as Exercise Cope Thunder). The exercise highlights Singapore and the United States’ excellent and long-standing defence relationship. It improves professionalism and coordination among participating forces and allows the RSAF to benchmark itself against other leading air forces.
Meanwhile, the 16th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM), which was attended by Minister of Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, adopted the Joint Declaration on Defence Cooperation to Strengthen Solidarity for Harmonized Security.
The Declaration reaffirmed the countries’ commitment to strengthening strategic dialogue and practical defence cooperation through the ADMM and ADMM-Plus as the region’s key security architecture, as well as the importance of ASEAN centrality and the need to uphold a rules-based order based on international law. Dr Ng emphasised that the discussion was fruitful and covered a wide range of current security issues, including cyber and information threats.
The ADMM Cybersecurity and Information Centre of Excellence (ACICE), which is based in Singapore and was set up last year to share information and build capacity against threats in the cyber and information domains, was given its Terms of Reference at the meeting.
Additionally, ADMM-ACICE aims to promote knowledge exchange and capacity building among the ASEAN member states’ defence establishments to combat cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, and false information. The centre will support the ASEAN Cyber Defence Network in fostering regional exchanges, engagements, and cooperation on cyber-security issues, according to the Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).
Furthermore, the 16th ADMM also adopted the Phnom Penh Vision on the Role of Defence Establishments in Support of COVID-19 Recovery, co-sponsored by Cambodia and Singapore.
The ASEAN Centre of Military Medicine and the Network of ASEAN Chemical, Biological and Radiological (CBR) Defence Experts are two ways in which the ADMM has contributed to national COVID-19 initiatives that are recognised in the Vision. It commits to continuing cooperation to aid the region’s recovery from the pandemic, such as by utilising the Network of ASEAN CBR Defence Experts to share information and lessons learned in combating the pandemic.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) recently kicked off the “vHK Grand Tour” AR Design Competition (the Competition), officially launching a series of activities which aim to encourage Hong Kong secondary academia to combine augmented reality (AR) technology with famous landmarks in Hong Kong, thus creating their ideal Green and Smart City landscape and enhancing their sense of belonging to the city.
Students and the general public were also introduced, via a seminar, to the Government’s “Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong 2.0” (Blueprint 2.0), the latest development in immersive technologies and their applications in STEM education, thereby enabling the new generation to master new digital technologies and promote Hong Kong as a green and smart city.
Funded by the General Support Programme of the Innovation and Technology Fund under the Innovation and Technology Commission, the Competition is also supported by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, Education Bureau, and several innovation and technology (I&T) enterprises and education organisations and the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers.
The Chairman of HKPC stated that as the super-connector among the government, the I&T sector and the education sector, HKPC has been committed to promoting I&T education and talent training, and advocates equipping young people with ‘FutureSkills’ to expand the local I&T talent pool.
Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR, HKPC hopes the competition will enable students to experience the application of AR technology and increase their interest in immersive technologies; and concurrently alight young peoples’ vision of Hong Kong becoming a smart city and enhance their awareness of green living and sustainable development, thereby strengthening their sense of belonging to Hong Kong.
In the future, HKPC will continue to leverage its advantages in the field of I&T, and combine its rich experience in talent training to lay a solid foundation for nurturing talents for the I&T development of Hong Kong.
In her opening address, the Commissioner for Innovation and Technology noted that with the development of technology, the application of innovation and technology is emphasised, especially on the benefits brought about by I&T in our daily life, and through which we have a fresh understanding and feeling towards Hong Kong’s history, culture, art and other aspects.
The Commissioner also pointed out that in promoting I&T, the Government has unprecedentedly invested more than $150 billion in the past 5 years. Currently, the I&T industry in Hong Kong is flourishing. She encouraged fellow students to explore the world of science and technology and acquire the skills they will need for careers in the I&T industry.
The Competition will be held in different stages across a period of about 9 months, covering first-round assessment, training workshops, final round assessment, an award ceremony and an exhibition. Participants will be required to design and produce the AR works based on the theme of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR and the vision and goals of Blueprint 2.0 to showcase a brand new image of a green and smart Hong Kong to the public.
In addition, as the COVID-19 epidemic has brought unprecedented challenges to the city, participants are required to integrate anti-epidemic elements into their works to demonstrate the impacts and benefits of innovative technologies on public hygiene and daily life.
Ultimately, the AR works of the top 25 finalist teams will be available for public viewing online and offline, while people from all over the world will be able to participate in the “vHK Grand Tour” without being restricted by time, space and region.
To conduct a proof-of-concept on the use of space-based Very High Frequency (VHF) voice for communication between pilots and air traffic controllers for air traffic management, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the Economic Development Board’s Office for Space Technology and Industry (OSTIn) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with partner companies.
The novel technology’s viability and advantages over ground-based VHF voice communications will be shown in the proof of concept, and the data will be gathered for international review, standards creation, and acceptance.
As global and regional air traffic continues to grow, CAAS is committed to leveraging new technologies to enhance air traffic management to improve efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, and to being a pathfinder and convenor of the public-private partnership needed to drive development and global adoption of such technologies.
– Han Kok Juan, Director-General, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore
The Director-General added that the space-based VHF communications technology has the potential to revolutionise aviation, improving safety, effectiveness, and sustainability while expanding capacity to handle the growing demand for air travel. If this proof of concept is effective, it will be a big step toward acceptance and adoption around the world.
Pilots and air traffic controllers currently communicate with one another via VHF voice communications. For instance, pilots can ask for clearance to ascend or descend, and air traffic controllers can adjust a flight path in reaction to weather or turbulence.
The communication must be trustworthy, direct, and immediate to ensure safe and effective air traffic management, particularly in congested airspaces and during abnormal and emergency situations.
Moreover, due to the ground-based nature of present VHF stations, there is little to no coverage for VHF voice communications in maritime, hilly, or remote places that are outside the range of ground-based stations, which poses operational challenges. Air traffic control will be safer and more effective because of the expanded coverage provided by space-based VHF voice communications.
Before they may be used for safe operations, space-based VHF voice communications must first undergo technical feasibility studies, evaluation, and standardisation by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The CAAS-OSTIn and partner companies’ proof of concept is the first technical research where a specially manufactured satellite will be launched into orbit to contain VHF communications gear for such a trial, even though there have been earlier technical studies in this area.
The trial’s goal is to show that space-based communications are compatible with aircraft technology and already-existing ground radio stations, with equivalent speech quality, latency, and other standards to ground-based voice communications.
The trial will specifically show that space-based voice communications are feasible for the equatorial region, where the scintillation effect that degrades the quality of VHF audio communications is known to be particularly severe. Beginning in 2023, the proof of concept will take a year to complete. After that, CAAS will present the findings and data to the ICAO and ITU for review and discussion.
Between CAAS-OSTIn and partner companies, the program delivers strong complementary skills. The testbed for the trial will be provided by CAAS, a prominent provider of air navigation services that is at the forefront of technological development and adoption.
The development and application of space capabilities to aviation as well as the creation of a space eco-system will be examined by OSTIn, Singapore’s national space office, to support the endeavour. Moreover, joint ventures will put the satellite into orbit and supply the hardware and communications infrastructure.
The Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong and a global tech giant recently jointly announced a request for proposals (RFP) for the company’s AR/VR Policy Research in the Asia Pacific region. This research initiative invites the region’s academic community to develop solutions-focused research to support the responsible development of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies.
This includes identifying positive approaches to address policy issues and challenges, as well as opportunities in the metaverse and augmented and virtual reality, ultimately giving people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
With the metaverse becoming the next chapter of the internet, Meta’s vision is to have a billion people accessing the metaverse as part of their daily lives within ten years. That relies on people being in control of their experiences and feeling safe and secure. This RFP reaffirms the tech giant’s commitment to ensuring the responsible development and use of AR/VR technologies and building strong collaborations with policymakers, experts and industry partners to bring the metaverse to life.
The Director of the Centre for Civil Society and Governance stated that the RFP forms part of the Tech for Good Initiative that aims to bring scholars and practitioners together to catch up with the latest development of technologies and explore how the interplay between emerging technologies and public policy works. The Centre is committed to the attainment of a sustainable society and advanced technologies will help address some of the most critical sustainability challenges we are facing today.
The Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong and the company are inviting faculty to respond to this call for research proposals on the following topics:
- Economic opportunity: people can be given more choice, how competition can be encouraged, how a thriving digital economy can be maintained
- Privacy: how the amount of data used can be minimised, how to build technology to enable privacy-protective data uses, and give people transparency and control over their data
- Safety and integrity: how people can be kept safe online and be given tools to take action or get help if they see something they’re not comfortable with
- Equity and inclusion: ensuring these technologies are designed inclusively and in a way that’s accessible
- New Use Cases: what are new applications of immersive technology that create substantial value for people and communities
The research initiative targets to award a total of 6 awards, each in the US$100,000 range funded by the firm’s XR Programs and Research Fund, a two-year US$50 million investment in programmes and independent external research to help in the effort of building the metaverse responsibly. The submission deadline is 25 July 2022, and the results will be announced on 5 September 2022.
The global augmented reality and virtual reality market, in the current year (2022), is expected to have a market size of US$37.0 billion and grow up to US$114.5 billion by 2027 within a 5-year forecast period at a market growth rate of 25.3%.
The driving factors behind this growth include increased healthcare applications of augmented reality, increased applications of augmented reality and virtual reality in retail and e-commerce, strong government funding for the facilitation of growth of the AR and VR market, partnerships between augmented reality device manufacturers and various service industries, the rise in the usage and demand for virtual reality in e-learning, medical training, increased demand of virtual reality in manufacturing divisions.
The establishment of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Multi-Modal Distribution and Connectivity Centre or DC Centre aims to improve both countries’ transportation and logistics ecosystems, as well as strengthen supply chain resilience and accelerate trade digitalisation.
The partnership, according to Josephine Teo, Minister of Communications, and Information, is an important step in the continued development of Singapore’s and Chongqing’s roles as mutual hubs of Southeast Asia and Western China, respectively.
As a key project of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity (CCI) and logistics priority area, the DC Centre will be a physical location for multimodal operations in Chongqing and help build the CCI-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.
With this new facility in place, there will be greater opportunities for collaboration between Singapore, Chongqing, and other international partners in some areas.
– Josephine Teo, Minister of Communications and Information
Minister Teo emphasised first the improving logistics and transportation systems on both sides. To better integrate Chongqing’s key road, rail, and river logistics nodes and give logistics participants a smooth experience, the DC Centre will complement current and planned facilities including the Guoyuan Port and Yuzui Terminal South Yard.
In 2017, Minister Teo recalls the inauguration of the two joint venture companies of Singapore and China -the Sino-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Solutions Company Limited or S1 and Sino-Singapore (Chongqing) DC Multimodal Logistics Company Limited or S2. Now, a training and placement programme will be formed between S1 and the Chongqing Finance and Economics College, with specialised training taking place within the DC Centre itself, to expand the talent pool of Chongqing’s logistics business.
Second, the Minister highlighted the improved supply chain resilience. In an era of global supply chain disruption, the CCI-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor can determine its value by linking land and sea routes to provide the flow of essential goods, specifically perishable and time-sensitive supplies. To that end, she encourages all interested parties to join the Corridor by utilising key nodes such as the DC Centre and improving connectivity and trade flows between regions.
Minister Teo also stressed the hastening of trade digitalisation. In response to the growing importance of the digital economy, Singapore and Chongqing are encouraging the exchange of digital data and documents to improve supply chain visibility and facilitate seamless cross-border cargo movement. She welcomes more companies to join them in these endeavours, including those from adjacent sectors such as trade financing.
OpenGov Asia earlier reported that 17 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed among Singapore and Chongqing businesses in 2020 on the side-lines of the Smart China Expo (SCE) Online, as enterprises continue to explore opportunities despite pandemic restrictions. The MoUs included collaborations in the built environment and manufacturing, as well as logistics and tourism for markets in Chongqing, Western China, and Singapore.
On the other hand, at the annual Smart China Expo in Chongqing in 2019, Singapore and Chinese companies signed 13 agreements for collaborative efforts to use digital technologies in education, manufacturing, and telecommunications.
In the same year, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Enterprise Singapore, and the Chongqing Application Development Administration Bureau launched the Joint Innovation Development Fund (JIDF), an RMB$ 40 million initiative to promote the joint development of innovative products and solutions, which may include research and development and pilots to promote innovative technologies such as robotics, IoT, augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. The fund’s goal is to catalyse projects that have the potential to generate significant economic benefits for the companies and countries involved.