Recently we interviewed Adam Grønlykke Mollerup, Head of Department, Danish AgriFish Agency, Ministry of Environment & Food, Denmark about his current role. Prior to this position, he was the Head of Division at the Agency of Digitisation within the Danish Ministry of Finance. He has previously worked with the Digital Government agenda in the OECD.
Following the interview, we had a chat with Mr. Mollerup regarding Denmark’s digital journey, the crafting of the Public Sector Digital Strategy 2016-2020, which provides the foundation for the Danish public sector of the future, across central, regional and local governments.
Below are our questions and Mr. Mollerup’s illuminating answers.
Denmark already has a highly digitised government. So how did you start formulating the Digital Strategy for the next 5 years?
When the work on the current strategy began, the first step for Denmark was to assess the state of government at the time, analysing the key challenges we were facing. To give some examples: There was a need to improve our capacity to deliver on IT projects further. We saw opportunities to improve the digital service quality and the coherence across authorities in some service delivery areas. There was a clear understanding that digital service delivery should help sustain the relative high trust in the public administration. There was an increased awareness of security. And in the context of the increasing Danish use of mandatory compliance arrangements, there was a great focus on the aspect of user-centricity.
While the Danish Agency for Digitisation has taken pride in focusing on delivery of tangible projects, we also recognised the need for the strategy to work as a guiding foundation for a continuous adaption to a rapidly changing context. The technological trends emerging are quickly materialising into public sector innovation and business prospects that we should be ready to pursue. There are great perspectives for artificial intelligence in the public sector. For automation and machine learning. For robotics. But the technological maturity matters, and from that perspective five years is a long time.
The Danish digital government strategies have been important public sector modernisation levers since 2001. They have particularly been driven by efficiency, which has implied a focus on value added through business cases. Delivering savings that could be prioritised for service development and quality improvement elsewhere in the public sector.
So, while we have developed a completely new range of services and increased quality on a number of parameters, we have also been cutting costs. We have realised a lot of cost savings by trimming our organisations. We have built the basic infrastructure and the necessary enablers are in place. And to a very large extent, we have succeeded in doing that in Denmark. We have today a very high level of general digitisation. Around 90% of all citizens communicate by digital means with the public sector across service areas.
What was the next step?
Then we started asking ourselves: How can we mainstream digitisation further across policy areas? How can we ensure that digital is not only considered a tool for efficiency, but also a tool to leverage policy and service quality?
How do we ensure that digital potential appears on the government agenda as a top priority, to increase efficiency, yes, but also to create growth, better services and higher satisfaction and trust among the citizens and the businesses?
This was the starting point of the strategy. And this is also why security plays a key role. Because digital is simply a part of everything today. Our everyday life today is digital. It is a crucial part of our infrastructure. This means that we need to handle our digital infrastructure in the way we handle other kinds of critical infrastructure.
There is a strong stress on ‘trust’ in the Digital Strategy. We see widely varying levels of trust in the government, which also affects what the government can accomplish in terms of digital transformation. For instance, people appear to trust the private sector with their data but are reticent when it comes to government. Can you tell us about building up trust in the public sector in Denmark?
I think trust is an extremely difficult and at the same time a very important issue to address. We have great data internationally to show that there is a very different cultural perception of who you can trust across countries and institutions.
In Denmark, we have a tradition of trusting the government with our data. We tend to be more skeptical trusting private businesses with our data. In other countries, the situation is the reverse.
We need to look at the trade-offs involved in the different levels of privacy. We typically have very high levels of privacy in the public sector, and at the European level, the attention to this agenda is increasing. At the same time, we can see that large private service providers are offering great and very smooth well-functioning services, in return for a vast number of private data. While this spurs continuous discussions, service appears to hold the upper hand for now.
This invites the idea that in a digital context, service-driven, rather than principle-driven discussions of privacy might end up with a different balance in the trade-off. Obviously, we need to ensure that we handle personal data carefully and in the right manner in order to maintain and further the trust in government, the public administration and the public sector at large.
The trust in the public sector we have been graced with in Denmark is not new, it has been built up through centuries. And while it can quickly vanish, it takes a long time to re-build.
Agriculture is a good example of this point. Denmark is a country with a strong agricultural tradition. Throughout the last centuries has emerged what we call cooperative movements. Basically, these cooperative movements have been about pushing forward voluntary, private cooperation in order to achieve synergies, economies of scale and to create communities around which people would work towards common goals. These movements have played a key role in the development of our industry at large in Denmark. And they have also contributed to, in my view, the development of trust between people, between institutions and between businesses, between organisations and between communities. This is part of the heritage that we are building on.
So how do we deal with this legacy today? Well this discretion to exploit data and public registries has enabled Denmark to move quite far in terms of digital service delivery and cooperation across service areas and authorities, although we still face a number of challenges in this regard. And it plays a key role in the ‘once-only’-agenda and the continued automation and development of new services. But of course, we need to pay very close attention to the way we handle and expose private data.
And further, the more data are accessible in a digital manner, the more they are open to fraud, to hacks or different kinds of mistakes. The playing field has suddenly increased dramatically. We need to convince the population that we are doing everything we can to avoid inexpedient use of personal data, that we are protecting their data and their privacy to the best of our ability.
And at the same time, we need to prepare for the situations when such incidents might actually occur. The probability is high that they will indeed occur. And so the question follows, how will we deal with them without jeopardising the trust we have been shown?
Denmark has always been an open economy. But the level and the intensity of interactions from all sides have been accelerating with the digital economy. This is what we decided to deal with in the Digital Strategy.
Which is why some of the initiatives that we have suggested in the digital strategy are about professionalising security measures, about implementing higher level of standardisation in the way we handle information and personal data, in order to sustain trust levels.
We see some governments, especially the more advanced ones, trying to open up data to the private sector. What is Denmark doing in this area?
This is a key issue. We do see the potentials for opening and joining up data, and we feel the demand from different areas within the private sector, who can see the business cases, the market openings, around the booming data economy.
This is why some years ago, the government took a decision to open up the public data to the extent possible. And we have launched specific work on the most important data we have, the most important registries. We call this the Basic Data Programme.
This programme takes its point of departure in the fact that while you have increasing access to data of all kinds, the quality of this data is not always good and until recently only rarely available in a coherent and accessible format. But if the data quality is correct, you can re-use the basic data in case-handling, decisions and analysis across authorities. Again, this implies a great deal of trust in data and processes across organisations. But having high quality data easily accessible can simply us a lot of time and money. This also goes for the private sector which is also relies on good public registrations.
For example, a bank should know who actually owns a house, when someone applies for a loan to buy it, it should know the official income records of the person, how the ground is marketed and measured, where does it stop? Have other parties already taken up a mortgage in it? Or another example, insurance companies might be interested in knowing, where a house is placed topographically, if it is protected against strong rains expected or will the water be led straight into its basement? Direct digital access to authoritative and coherent data is important to make markets work well.
The Basic Data Programme covers most important public registries. This includes data on people, businesses, ownership, places, place names, topography, weather, and climate. All data are distributed via a coherent architecture and are accessible to all the public authorities who has the basis to access them in order to solve their mission – or private companies. Data sets can be combined. Lots of different sectors are interested in using this data and we are seeing new startups building their business around services based on this data.
So, we expose public data in order to ensure that both public authorities and private businesses can build on these public data. This covers non-confidential and confidential data. But the latter are only accessible if you comply with a certain set of rules within the existing legislation to protect privacy.
Entering the intelligent, data-based economy, we can start to distinguish a new role for the public sector. Where the government role remains authoritative in some data areas; government, and the public sector at large, becomes one player among others in the broader market driven data-based service development.
This is already happening now. And might imply an increasing battle for data distribution infrastructures – where the government might not have the capacity to maintain its role as ‘meta-governor’, but will need to engage with other players on a somewhat level playing field.
What are the most important learnings from the Danish experience in digital government in your view?
The answer depends on what kind of government is asking the question, and what path it has chosen for its digital transformation efforts.
But in general, I think some lessons can be learned from Denmark.
First of all, that deep, institutionalised cooperation across the whole of government really pays off. I think Denmark is in a privileged position now, because we have created effective governance mechanisms to ensure full implementation and use of digital services. We have not ‘merely’ focused on standalone issues of high political priority. We have ensured measures for the take-up of these services and the roll-out of our transformation projects. This capacity to establish a working cooperation that covers not only the state level, but also the regional and municipal level – and with regard to many vital infrastructure components, also with the private sector – has been important to integrate the way of thinking digital-by-default.
I think another lesson is that our consistent focus on the value proposition has been very important. I think we have prioritised and realised a lot of benefits in terms of digital transformation because we have focused on the clear business cases. Flexible organisations and labour market agreements have also played a key role here. This means that digitisation has not been driving up costs as we have seen it in a number of countries, but rather has been an effective tool that we have been able to use to modernise the government.
We have not solved the issue of benefits realisation and we are continuing to learn and adapt our approaches as we move along. But the question is how you realise the benefits in your budgets, at the heart of your organisations, in the day-to-day processes and in the service delivery to your customers. Because it is in the execution, in the implementation of the digitally redesigned organisations and processes, that you deliver value.
Perhaps the last point would be, as I have already touched upon, that we have been privileged by having a tradition of very good registries, enabled, among others, by a high level of trust in government. So, building good and trustworthy registries and creating an environment where they are used across all sectors, would also be a key learning.
And while the data-based economy holds enormous potential, bot for private sector growth and for public sector productivity gains, we need to develop and reinforce the capacity to analyse this data. Skills is a big issue.
While talking about lessons, we hear a lot about ‘leapfrogging’. Countries at a currently low state of digital development can learn from the more advanced ones. Unburdened by legacy systems and processes, they can leapfrog the more developed countries. What are your view on this? Do you need foundations to enable this sort of leapfrogging?
Emerging economies that are building up their digital government programmes can to a large extent pick and choose from a large variety of different problems and solutions. They are also freer to select their sourcing strategies and platforms; to decide if they build on private sector platforms or build their own public sector platforms. To what extent should they leverage on private sector innovation. To what extent the government should be a coordinator building on a fully private infrastructure or it should build up its own infrastructure. To what extent it skips the PC based and goes straight to mobile. To what extent it creates directly peer to peer mechanisms, without the state as the focal point, in terms of both regulation and provision of services. I think there are many potentials for a completely new role of the state. But institutional heritage can be strong.
So yes, some countries may move fast, skip some steps, leapfrog as you suggest. But I don’t think it’s easy. The real challenges in those countries might not be legacy systems or digital heritage, nor even the access to capital and the capacity to invest.
The core issue is rather institutional capacity to take the right decisions and to implement them. And in that sense, I think there may still be a huge challenge for these countries you refer to.
At the same time, there are definitely considerable options to leapfrog in some areas, by sharing and adapting to suitable good practices. But I think it’s a path which each country will need to find and take on its own.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is spearheading an initiative to propel the nation’s capabilities in healthcare, Industry 4.0-driven manufacturing, and supply chain and logistics through the transformative power of 5G. This groundbreaking endeavour, known as the S$30 million 5G Innovation Programme, is not just a step forward but a giant leap into a future where innovation reshapes industries.
Launched in 2021, the 5G Innovation Programme is a testament to Singapore’s commitment to embracing emerging technologies. IMDA has forged strategic partnerships with key enterprises, including the National University Health System (NUHS).
In the healthcare industry, Singapore’s forward-thinking tech innovators, in collaboration with NUHS, have harnessed 5G to revolutionise patient care. The introduction of Mixed Reality-based Holomedicine in operating theatres stands out as a groundbreaking achievement.
This innovative approach not only enhances patient care but also redefines the entire healthcare experience. Announced in 2022, the initiative marks the Asia Pacific’s inaugural deployment of indoor private Enterprise 5G mobile edge computing (MEC) for Mixed Reality and Holomedicine capabilities in health tech.
A significant stride in healthcare also involves a collaboration with Republic Power to deploy 5G-enabled unmanned medical booths. These “Medbots” represent Asia’s first 5G-enabled unmanned pre-screening and teleconsultation medical booths. Equipped with state-of-the-art hygiene and safety systems, these booths support remote health screening and video consultations, offering an enhanced user experience that aligns with the demands of a digital era.
The impact of 5G extends beyond healthcare, permeating the realms of Industry 4.0-driven manufacturing, supply chain, and logistics. Collaborations with ST Engineering and DB Schenker have given rise to groundbreaking applications.
For instance, Singapore’s first 5G-enabled Digital Twin has been implemented for a logistics and supply chain company transforming warehouse and manufacturing operations, quality control, and customer experience. Simultaneously, ST Engineering’s 5G-Enabled Industry 4.0 Smart Factory boasts one of Singapore’s first 5G-enabled collaborative robots, revolutionising manufacturing processes.
Dr Ong Chen Hui, Assistant Chief Executive of the Biztech Group at IMDA, emphasised the agency’s commitment to architecting Singapore’s digital future. The goal is to build capabilities in various sectors powered by emerging technologies like 5G. IMDA’s collaboration with forward-looking companies signifies a concerted effort to unlock the full spectrum of benefits that 5G offers across a wide range of sectors.
As Singapore propels itself into the future, the 5G Innovation Programme stands as a testament to the nation’s dedication to progress. The partnerships with key enterprises underscore a collective effort to reshape, redefine, and transform industries across the country.
Singapore is not merely embracing change; it is pioneering a future where technology catalyses innovation and progress. The journey has just begun, and Singapore is at the forefront, shaping the narrative of a technologically advanced and future-ready nation.
The comprehensive initiative serves as a catalyst, propelling Singapore into a new era of digital prowess. It is not merely an adoption of advanced technologies; rather, it is a strategic alignment with the needs of the future, recognising the pivotal role technology plays in shaping economic landscapes on a global scale.
The 5G Innovation Programme signifies Singapore’s commitment to sustainable economic growth. By embracing technology as a driver of progress, Singapore is not just securing its current standing; it is laying the foundation for a resilient and forward-thinking economy. The emphasis on sustainability in this digital transformation ensures that growth is not just rapid but also enduring, with an eye towards environmental and social responsibility.
The implementation of a National Digital Identity (Digital ID) system in Malaysia is poised to revolutionise the verification and distribution of aid during crises or natural disasters, ensuring swift and precise assistance to those in need.
According to the Chairman of the Malaysian Cyber Consumer Association (MCCA), Digital ID has the potential to streamline processes, reducing bureaucratic hurdles and optimising the impact of government subsidies by facilitating the efficient distribution of assistance to targeted groups with greater accuracy and effectiveness.
Digital ID, in this context, serves as a digital means of self-identification and authentication for individuals, designed for use in both public and private sectors to verify user identities during online transactions. The nation’s Prime Minister has conveyed that while the government will not mandate registration for Digital ID presently, civil servants are encouraged to do so, especially as the Rahmah Cash Aid (STR) and other targeted subsidies will be channelled through this system. MIMOS Berhad, Malaysia’s national Applied Research and Development Centre, has been appointed as the implementing agency for Digital ID, with an initial allocation of RM80 million.
The Former Principal Assistant Director at Bukit Aman emphasised the significance of Digital ID in enhancing cybersecurity. The technology relies on digital certificates to bolster security in online transactions, verifying identities by linking cryptographic keys with their owners through cryptography.
Despite its potential benefits, the Former Principal Ass
istant Director pointed out a critical concern: the possibility of Digital ID being exploited as a ‘mule ID’ by third parties for fraudulent or illegal activities. He stressed the need for the government to establish robust security measures to prevent misuse, safeguard the system’s integrity, and maintain public trust in the initiative.
Addressing potential concerns about the misuse of Digital ID, the Former Principal Assistant Director called for a thorough examination of security measures. The government’s commitment to preventing fraudulent activities and illegal exploitation is crucial for the success of Digital ID. The Former Principal Assistant Director’s experience in cybercrime and multimedia investigations underscored the importance of maintaining the integrity of the system.
Furthermore, the Former Principal Assistant Director highlighted the need for comprehensive digital education to ensure that all segments of society benefit fully from Digital ID. A focus on digital education can prevent digital divides and contribute to the long-term success of Malaysia’s digitalisation initiatives. By promoting digital literacy, the government can empower citizens to use Digital ID responsibly and stay informed about potential risks.
In conclusion, the implementation of Digital ID in Malaysia represents a significant step toward modernising and securing online transactions. While the technology holds great potential for enhancing the distribution of aid during crises, it is imperative for the government to address security concerns and invest in digital education to ensure the successful adoption of Digital ID across all segments of society.
The advent of Digital ID in Malaysia represents a pivotal moment in the nation’s journey toward a more efficient and secure identity verification system. The Malaysian Cyber Consumer Association’s unwavering support underscores the potential benefits of this technological advancement for the wellbeing of Malaysians. However, as the implementation progresses, the emphasis on system integrity, cybersecurity, and public trust becomes paramount.
The call for robust security measures and consistency resonates as a crucial safeguard against potential misuse, ensuring that Digital ID serves as a reliable tool for streamlined aid distribution and government subsidies. As the nation navigates this transformative phase, it is imperative to strike a balance between technological innovation and the preservation of public confidence to fully realise the positive impact of Digital ID on the Malaysian society.
The National Education Policy (NEP) of 2020 has ushered in a new era for education in India, advocating for a robust investment in digital infrastructure and technological tools. At its core, the policy emphasises the integration of technology into the educational landscape, embracing online teaching platforms, virtual labs, digital repositories, and assessments.
NEP’s visionary approach highlights the pivotal role of multilingualism and language in transforming teaching and learning methodologies. Para 4.23 of the NEP stresses the acquisition of essential skills, including digital literacy, coding, and computational thinking. These competencies are being actively promoted through a myriad of digital initiatives.
The PM e-VIDYA, launched under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan in May 2020, aims to consolidate efforts in digital, online, and broadcast education, ensuring widespread access to education through multiple modes. Notably, PM eVidya is accessible to students across all states, free of cost, democratising educational resources.
The cornerstone components of PM eVidya encompass DIKSHA, serving as the nation’s digital repository for high-quality e-content tailored for school education across States/UTs. The integration of QR-coded Energised Textbooks, providing a unified platform for all grades, resonates with the ethos of ‘one nation, one digital platform’.
Expanding the horizons of education further, the initiative has scaled up from 12 to 200 PM e-VIDYA DTH TV Channels, enabling states to offer supplementary education in various Indian languages for classes 1-12. Leveraging radio and podcast platforms like Shiksha Vani, PM eVidya embraces a holistic approach to inclusive education, crafting specialised e-content for the visually and hearing impaired.
Driving the agenda of critical thinking and creativity, PM eVidya ambitiously aims to establish 750 virtual labs and 75 Skilling e-labs by 2023. These labs, designed for Science, Mathematics, and simulated learning environments, seek to foster hands-on learning experiences. The creation of a dedicated vertical on Virtual Labs within the DIKSHA platform and comprehensive training via PM eVidya DTH TV channels for educators underscore the commitment to capacity-building.
Moreover, the ICT and Digital initiatives within the centrally sponsored scheme of Samagra Shiksha extend support to Government and Aided schools, focusing on classes VI to XII. Financial aid facilitates the establishment of ICT Labs and Smart Classrooms, enhancing the technological infrastructure within educational institutions.
India is committed to deploying locally designed and made digital tools, platforms and solutions to better serve citizens, more comprehensively and inclusively.
OpenGov Asia reported on India Stack, a set of domestically created digital solutions implemented nationwide. It includes APIs and digital public assets that enable the widespread use of digital identity, data, and payments as fundamental economic elements. Key components include Unified Payments Interface (India’s instant payments system), Aadhaar (the government’s digital identity card), and DigiLocker (a secure document access platform on a public cloud).
India Stack enhances access to and the delivery of public services, with the overarching goals of achieving widespread connectivity, promoting digital inclusion, and ensuring seamless access to public services. Built on open technologies, these solutions are interoperable and crafted to encourage active participation from industry and community stakeholders, thereby fostering innovation.
Addressing the needs of students preparing for competitive exams nationwide, the development of the SATHEE portal in collaboration with IIT Kanpur stands as a testament to India’s dedication to empowering its youth.
The ongoing beta version is actively soliciting feedback from students across the country, aligning with a culture of continual improvement. It provides a comprehensive suite of resources tailored for NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) and JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) aspirants.
These initiatives mark a significant stride towards a tech-driven educational ecosystem in India. As the nation embraces this digital revolution in education, it sets a precedent for inclusive and innovative learning paradigms.
Based on a study conducted in 2018, the Head of the Satellite Division of the Accessibility to Communication and Information Agency (BAKTI) of the Ministry of Communication and Information, Sri Sanggrama Aradea, stated that based, there is a need for internet access to 1Mbps for 150,000 public service points in the fields of education, healthcare, and government in remote, frontier, and outermost (3T) areas.
The Ministry of Communication and Information continues to uphold its commitment to implementing the agenda of equalising the progress of digital transformation across the entire archipelago of Indonesia. This commitment is realised by continuing the contract for Base Transceiver Station (BTS) 4G services, especially for Remote, Frontier, and Outermost (3T) regions.
This action signifies the seriousness of the Ministry in ensuring that the benefits of digital transformation progress are not only felt in major cities but also extend to remote and outermost areas of Indonesia. Continuing the BTS 4G contract for 3T focuses on equalising access and strengthening communication networks, ensuring that communities in previously connectivity-limited areas can enjoy the benefits of the digital revolution.
Minister of Communication and Information Budi Arie Setiadi emphasised, “Strengthening communication networks is the main focus, ensuring that communities in areas that may have been previously limited in connectivity can benefit from the digital revolution.”
Minister Budi Arie Setiadi stated that this aligns with President Joko Widodo’s directive during the handover of the Ministry’s Budget Execution Plan for the Fiscal Year 2024, emphasising that the utilisation of government budget allocations must be focused on results. Minister Budi Arie explained that the signed Operation & Maintenance Contract is intended to continue the operation of the already-built BTS 4G, which has become an asset of the Telecommunication and Information Accessibility Agency (BAKTI).
Arwoto Atmosutarno, Chairman of the Task Force of the BAKTI at the Ministry of Communication and Information, admits that completing the BTS 4G Project is challenging. The diverse topography of Indonesia and its often remote geographical locations create complexities that increase the difficulty in executing this project.
In overcoming these challenges, Atmosutarno highlighted the importance of collaborative and synergistic coordination among Task Force members, involving entities such as the Attorney General’s Office, Ministry of Finance, Supreme Audit Agency (BPKP), Procurement Policy Agency (LKPP), Ministry of Communication and Information, and various related industry stakeholders. This joint effort aims to overcome various obstacles and challenges from complicated geographical conditions.
This indicates that project completion requires technical expertise and active involvement from various sectors contributing to addressing Indonesia’s unique and complex landscapes. Although the task is not easy, the determination and good cooperation among Task Force members ensure the efficiency of the project, even in challenging geographical conditions.
Indonesia is indeed known as an archipelagic country with quite extreme topography. This poses significant challenges for communication networks, especially telecommunication infrastructure projects such as BTS 4G. With widely scattered islands, high mountains, and remote areas that are difficult to access, establishing a network that can cover the entire Indonesian territory requires meticulous planning and execution.
Based on data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the number of internet users in Indonesia reached 292.3 million in 2022, equivalent to 77.02% of the total population. This figure increased by 2.6% from the previous year.
The increase in Internet access is driven by various factors, including economic growth, increased smartphone penetration, and government programmes to equalise Internet access.
Regarding telecommunication infrastructure development, the government aims to achieve 100% 4G network coverage by 2024. This target seems achievable, as in 2023, 4G network coverage in Indonesia has reached 98%.
The progress of telecommunication network development in Indonesia has brought various benefits to the community, including: Improving accessibility to information and communication, Facilitating economic transactions, Enhancing the quality of education and healthcare and Increasing the nation’s competitiveness.
Chengdu has placed its sights on catalysing digital transformation to connect with the dynamic landscape of scientific and technological innovation. With this, the Municipal Development and Reform Commission recently organised a major scheduling meeting for the Digital Transformation Promotion Centre, bringing together key participants in the province’s digital progress.
The recently held meeting convened influential figures from 19 provincial-level digital transformation promotion centres, district and county development and reform departments, and pivotal enterprises within the city. The goal was to enhance the city’s digital transformation promotion service capabilities and fast-track the realisation of a modern industrial system.
The proceedings unfolded with a comprehensive report from the High Technology Department of the Municipal Development and Reform Commission, shedding light on the progress of the city’s digital transformation promotion centre and unveiling the initial evaluation results.
The exchange of ideas extended beyond city borders, with experts from the Sichuan Provincial Digital Economy Development Centre offering insights, interpretation, and guidance on policies supporting the digital transformation initiative.
Highlighting the diverse facets of digital transformation, representatives from various sectors shared their experiences. These exchanges delved into the construction nuances of supporting, regional, and industry-specific digital transformation promotion centres, emphasising a multifaceted approach to catalysing change.
Concrete examples from food technology elucidated the transformative power of digitalisation in their respective industries, showcasing the tangible benefits accrued through embracing cutting-edge technologies. From enhanced processing efficiency in aviation equipment manufacturing to streamlined collaboration in biopharmaceutical production, the ripple effects of digital transformation were tangible.
Chengdu’s strategic position as a hub node in the computing power network has been pivotal in propelling the city’s digital drives. The initiative to construct a ‘smart Chengdu’ serves as the cornerstone for iterative upgrades and the demonstration of emerging technologies, products, business formats, and models. This concerted effort aims to foster innovative development within the digital economy.
The city’s proactive stance has yielded approval for 19 provincial-level digital transformation promotion centres. This includes 10 support centres, 2 regional centres, and 7 industry centres, collectively constituting over 50% of the total number in the province. The coverage extends across strategic areas like Tianfu New District and key industrial chains such as electronic information, equipment manufacturing, and medicine and health.
Success stories were brought to the forefront during the meeting, showcasing the tangible impact of digital transformation. For instance, the Chengdu Aircraft Digital Transformation Promotion Centre has significantly boosted the processing efficiency of the aviation equipment industry chain. Similarly, the Kelun Pharmaceutical Digital Transformation Promotion Centre has facilitated intelligent collaboration in biopharmaceutical production, reducing costs and optimising inventory turnover.
The initiatives underscored the imperative to align with national, provincial, and municipal mandates for deepening the integration of the digital economy with the real economy. A call to action resonated, urging a focus on the high-level construction of Sichuan Provincial Digital Transformation Promotion Centres.
Likewise, the emphasis on harnessing the transformative potential of computing power, algorithms, and data highlights Chengdu’s unwavering commitment to catalysing industry-wide development. The city recognises the pivotal role that advanced computing capabilities, sophisticated algorithms, and insightful data analytics play in propelling industries forward.
By leveraging robust computing power, industries in Chengdu can not only streamline their operations but also enhance their overall efficiency. This translates into faster processing times, heightened accuracy, and the ability to handle complex tasks with unprecedented precision.
The infusion of advanced algorithms further augments this initiative by introducing intelligent decision-making processes that adapt and evolve, ensuring that industries remain agile in dynamic market landscapes.
Hong Kong, a dynamic global financial centre and a historical node for the Chinese diaspora, stands as a vibrant hub for tech and trade. Hong Kong’s start-up ecosystem is thriving. In 2022, the number of start-ups in Hong Kong grew by 6% to 3,985, employing nearly 15,000 people.
Hong Kong’s innovation and technology sector together with that of Shenzhen and Guangzhou – the Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou science and technology cluster – ranks as the world’s second performing according to the Global Innovation Index 2023.
Biotechnology, artificial intelligence, smart city and financial technologies were identified as the four key areas for Hong Kong’s innovation and technology industry. The city’s expenditure in absolute amount on research and development has almost doubled compared to a decade ago.
With opportunities brought by the Guangdong‑Hong Kong‑Macao Greater Bay Area development, Hong Kong is set to further capitalise on its advantages in R&D capabilities, technological infrastructure, legal system and intellectual property.
The region intends to spearhead the I&T industry and act as a business platform for companies looking to access the Asia market (and China in particular), or for innovative mainland companies seeking to go international.
There is a sharp focus on pivotal tech-driven sectors – healthcare, youth development, and the Greater Bay Area (GBA) – that have the potential to shape Hong Kong’s business trajectory. From cutting-edge healthcare advancements to fostering youth entrepreneurship and capitalising on the economic powerhouse that is the GBA, the pathways for innovation and collaboration will be determined.
Its pivotal role in the global business landscape is further accentuated by the Federation of Hong Kong Business Associations Worldwide (FHKBAW), a sprawling network uniting 47 associations across 36 countries and regions. With a membership boasting nearly 11,000 executives and professionals worldwide, this federation serves as a linchpin for a diverse global business community.
An annual Hong Kong Forum, jointly organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Federation, emerges as a pivotal event drawing in business leaders and tech innovators. Scheduled for 5th and 6th December, the 24th iteration promises an inspiring convergence of minds, ideas, and opportunities.
Sessions will explore the intricacies of navigating Hong Kong’s ever-evolving business landscape. Experts will elaborate on Hong Kong’s prowess as a global business platform and delve into how cultural exchange through the West Kowloon Cultural District could further elevate Hong Kong’s global cultural imprint.
As tech, innovation, and global business intertwine, Hong Kong is a testament to its unwavering commitment to fostering collaboration, innovation, and growth across industries that define the future.
The startup ecosystem is rapidly expanding and diversifying, stretching beyond conventional hubs like San Francisco and London to embrace emerging powerhouses like Hong Kong. Simultaneously, within the ASEAN region, burgeoning economies are evolving into significant nodes of innovation and entrepreneurship in their own right.
Acknowledging the borderless nature of the digital entrepreneurial landscape, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council unveiled Start-up Express International last year. This global iteration of its longstanding local entrepreneurship development programme acknowledges and taps into the interconnectedness of the worldwide startup community.
Hong Kong has launched multiple initiatives in line with its goal to expand its digital economy and propel technological advancements. Cyberport is Hong Kong’s digital technology flagship and incubator for entrepreneurship with over 2,000 members including over 900 onsite and close to 1,100 offsite start-ups and technology companies.
With a vision to become Hong Kong’s digital technology hub and stimulate a fresh economic impetus, Cyberport is dedicated to cultivating a dynamic tech environment.
This commitment involves nurturing talent, encouraging youth entrepreneurship, aiding start-ups, fostering industry growth through strategic partnerships with local and international entities, and driving digital transformation across public and private sectors, bridging new and traditional economies.
The game industry in Vietnam has emerged as a promising domain, yet it grapples with hurdles demanding immediate attention to unlock its full potential. In an era where global gaming numbers surged to nearly 3.2 billion players, generating a massive US$182.9 billion in 2022, Vietnam aims to solidify its stance in this evolving landscape.
Vu Quoc Huy, Director of the Vietnam National Innovation Centre (NIC), identifies the game industry as a pivotal sector crucial for the nation’s scientific, technological, and innovative growth trajectory. With an annual revenue surpassing US$500 million and a strong foothold as Southeast Asia’s fifth-largest revenue generator, Vietnam’s gaming landscape thrives. Over 50% of the population engages in gaming for entertainment purposes, signalling a robust market demand.
Huy underscores the industry’s capacity to foster high-value jobs in programming and design, presenting an opportunity to propel Vietnam’s global position within value chains. The country currently ranks second in game downloads within Southeast Asia, witnessing a steady annual growth rate of approximately 10%. Globally, Vietnam clinches a position among the top 10 for download numbers and the top 30 for revenue generation.
The country boasts a talented pool of programmers capable of creating games meeting the stringent standards for Google and Apple stores. Apple estimates approximately 180,000 Vietnamese are actively engaged in mobile app development, with the game industry housing the majority.
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) emphasises Vietnam’s rank as the seventh-largest global mobile game distributor, attributing Vietnamese developers to nearly half of the world’s renowned games. Yet, there’s a push to increase the industry’s revenue from US$600 million to a lofty US$1 billion within the next five years.
Vietnam’s game industry, with its remarkable growth trajectory and burgeoning talent pool, stands at the cusp of a transformative phase. Despite this burgeoning success, challenges persist. Addressing hurdles in infrastructure, market expansion, and skill development will be pivotal to realising its immense potential and securing a formidable position in the global gaming arena.
At the fore, Vietnam’s game industry grapples with entrenched social stigmas and a host of structural deficiencies that hinder its growth. The prevailing societal bias against gaming, perceiving it as addictive, detrimental, and resource-intensive, casts a shadow over the industry’s prospects.
Le Quang Tu Do, Director of the MIC’s Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, highlights critical issues, including policy inadequacies, limited financial support, and a dearth of local game competitiveness in the global market. Moreover, the absence of a robust ecosystem and collaborative efforts among businesses stifles the industry’s progress, hindering the discovery of high-quality Vietnamese games by distributors.
A significant obstacle lies in the shortage of skilled human resources, with estimates suggesting a need for up to 30,000 qualified personnel in the game industry. To transform the industry into a robust and competitive landscape, Vu Quoc Huy, NIC Director, advises cultivating an internationally adept workforce and fostering a cohesive ecosystem where stakeholders collaborate and uplift each other.
Others advocate official recognition of the game industry as an economic sector and a pivotal driver of the digital economy. Acknowledging the need for an appropriate management strategy and development roadmap underscores the necessity of societal and governmental acknowledgement to attract foreign investment and solidify the industry’s position.
The MIC has outlined a developmental roadmap spanning 2022 to 2027, centring on addressing critical issues such as policy frameworks, market regulation, and manpower development. Initiatives encompass facilitating partnerships between domestic developers and international counterparts, alongside efforts to entice foreign investment entities into Vietnam’s burgeoning gaming sector.
As the MIC steers the developmental trajectory and industry stakeholders converge to address these challenges, Vietnam’s game industry holds the promise of a transformative evolution towards global competitiveness and economic significance.