Featured photo: Mr. Daren Tang speaking at the opening of the IP Week@SG 2017 conference on August 31, 2017. Photo: Dean Koh/OpenGov Asia
The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Law. While being a registry and regulator of Singapore’s Intellectual Property (IP) remains one of the key roles of IPOS, the organisation is also actively being a builder and facilitator of innovation in recent times, leveraging on its IP expertise and networks to drive Singapore’s growth in the digital economy.
OpenGov had the opportunity to learn from Mr. Daren Tang, Chief Executive of IPOS as he shares about IPOS’s role in Singapore’s bid to become a Smart Nation, thoughts on the IP ecosystem in Singapore as well IPOS’s work with other agencies and organisations in building a vibrant IP ecosystem. Mr. Tang took over as Chief Executive of IPOS in 2015 after serving as the Deputy Chief Executive since 2012 and is the current Chairman of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR).
Could you tell us more about your role as the CEO of IPOS?
Just as Singapore’s economy is transforming, IPOS is also evolving from a registry and regulator to a builder of our innovation ecosystem. My job is to lead and guide the IPOS team as we undergo this journey, so our deep IP knowledge and extensive networks can be deployed to help our enterprises take their ideas to the market. More broadly, we are hoping to change mindsets in Singapore about IP, and to share that IP is not just a legal right but a strategic business asset for the future enterprises and our economy.
We are going to do this in several ways. Let me share just three with you:
a) Reduced filing fees for brand and technology protection
In this competitive economic environment, many businesses are watching their costs very closely. Starting from 1 April 2017, we reduced filing fees by up to 30% for businesses and entrepreneurs who want to protect their brands and technology through the trade mark and patent systems. We were able to do this by becoming more efficient in our internal processes, including through heavy reliance on IT, and passing on the costs savings to our customers. In this way, we can make IP protection more affordable, especially for start-ups.
b) Access to IP consultancy services
We believe strongly that IP brings value only when it is put into an enterprise that can translate that IP into products and services that the market wants. Too often, companies see IP as an output, and not as an input into business growth. Our subsidiary, IP Value Lab, is rapidly building up expertise in IP management and strategy and since the beginning of the year has been engaging with enterprises one-on-one to assist them in identifying and growing their intangible assets as part of the overall business strategy.
c) Access to smart and patient capital for innovation-driven companies
Singapore has built a vibrant start-up scene, but there is a need to ensure that these start-ups have the support to grow into the unicorns of tomorrow. IPOS and partner Makara Capital launched a one-billion dollar Makara Innovation Fund (MIF) in April 2017. Given Singapore’s vibrant start-up ecosystem, the MIF will focus instead on late-stage start-ups, as well as SMEs, that have a proven track record and are seeking to grow internationally. IPOS brings a technical understanding of innovation to the mix whilst the MIF provides experience in building and growing enterprises. The MIF will hunt globally as well as locally, using Singapore as a node to connect innovative companies to regional markets.
What is the function of IP in a digital economy? What role(s) do you see IPOS playing in Singapore’s bid to become a Smart Nation?
The digitalisation of our companies and economy as we drive towards a Smart Nation will fundamentally change what is valuable in our companies.
In 1975, the value of intangible assets in the S&P500 was at about 20%. In 2015, that stood at over 80% – a complete reversal. Singapore and Asia is where the US stood at 1975 and we are at the threshold of major changes to our companies and the economy that will shift enterprise value strongly into intangible assets such as brands, content, proprietary technologies, data and platforms. Already, in the Shenzhen stock exchange, 42% of the SZSE 100 index have intangible assets exceeding 80%.
With these changes before us, it is crucial that our companies know how to identify, value their intangible assets and use it to grow their business. Actually, the tech community has many successful examples to draw on from other countries, such as Facebook, Apple and Amazon, but need not look further than local companies such as Razer to understand how enterprise value will change as our economy transforms.
IPOS is attempting to contribute to this at several levels.
At the company level, our subsidiary – IP Value Lab – has developed products and tools to help our companies better understand their intangible assets and to manage it, including an IP audit and strategy that is supported by SPRING Singapore and for which up to 70% of the costs can be subsidised.
At the regime level, we are constantly amending our laws to support broader trends like digitalisation. For example, with effect from 30 October 2017, our Registered Designs Act has been amended to allow the protection of virtual designs e.g. virtual keyboards, which will be an increasingly important business strategy for tech companies as we move into augmented reality. Last year, we clarified that the “look and feel” of mobile apps can be protected under the Registered Designs regime. We continue to allow for the patenting of
software in certain circumstances where there is a clear innovation, similar to the position in the European Union. With this, we hope that our IP laws and regulations will support our entrepreneurs and innovators.
What are the biggest strengths and areas for improvement in the IP ecosystem in Singapore?
In a nutshell, Singapore has done well in building research capabilities and generating new ideas but the challenge is to make sure that these are transformed into assets and enterprises that are valued by the market and bring value to Singapore.
Our R&D ecosystem is going from strength to strength, and we are midway through the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 plan. Thanks to this initiative, which builds on a longstanding commitment to build a R&D sector in Singapore, we are already positioned within the top in global innovation rankings such as Global Innovation Index (GII) and the Bloomberg Innovation Index (BII). Local research institutes such as A*STAR, NTU and NUS are also amongst the top filers of patents in Singapore, and locally grown brands like SIA, Raffles, Tiger and Razer are world-renowned and command strong valuations.
If we combine our R&D sector with our status as one of the world’s leading financial centres, our world-class legal and business environment, our high level of professional expertise, and the growth of our start-up sector, we should be in a good position going ahead to translate our ideas into assets and enterprises. However, the ingredients that are already present in our country and have been focused on other models of economic growth will now need to be aligned towards innovation.
Recently IPOS and Makara Capital launched a billion-dollar innovation fund. Can you tell us about the about the drivers behind the launch and the plans for the fund going forward?
We saw two challenges regarding innovation in Asia and that gave rise to the idea of an innovation fund.
The first is how our economies can support innovation that needs to go into markets. When start-ups and innovation-driven enterprises are scaling up, they need access to capital and markets. In Asia, there is no lack of growth funds, but they tend to be concentrated in the early and mature stages, leaving a gap in the middle,
and especially in the B to D rounds. Moreover, Asian funds still tend to be focused on the more traditional investment themes like infrastructure, resources and property, rather than on innovation.
The second is how to use IP to drive economic growth and prosperity. While there has been a tremendous growth in the number of IP filings in Asia, that must translate into actual economic and social impact. This is why IPOS has broadened its focus to include IP commercialisation, and our energies will be on helping our companies use IP to drive enterprise growth.
With these in mind, IPOS collaborated with private equity firm, Makara Capital, to design the Makara Innovation Fund (MIF) that will provide 10 to 15 high growth potential companies with smart and patient capital, as well as connection with the relevant networks and expertise, for growth and expansion through IP.
We hope to see more financing options in Singapore for innovative enterprises, and we welcome the chance to work with other financiers who share our perspective of using IP as a strategy for enterprise growth.
Some gaps and opportunities were identified during the year-long consultation in 2016 by IPOS to find out more about role of IP in the innovation cycle. One of the gaps is the lack of coordination among agencies to support innovative companies. How is IPOS working with other public agencies to address this gap?
Innovation is not an easy strategy to implement because it has different characteristics from other economic strategies that we have implemented successfully in the past. Some studies on innovation indicate that a key factor for what makes innovation work in certain places seems to be the presence of a strong network where ideas, capital, expertise and communications flow easily. Within government, IPOS has been working with many other partners to create and strengthen this network effect. For example, we have been working closely with the technology transfer offices in our various research institutes to build a
sense of community and collaboration across these agencies.
As another example, IP Valuelab, IPOS’ enterprise engagement arm, is working closely with economic agencies like SPRING to help companies unlock the value of their intangible assets through schemes like the Collaborative Industry Projects grant for qualifying companies.
We are also working with public agencies such as NRF, A*STAR and many others who are involved in managing research projects or driving innovation in their respective fields to revise our National IP Protocol, which lays down guidelines on how government agencies should manage government IP. The new Protocol makes it clear that agencies should focus on IP commercialisation, but equally importantly, build a community of IP practitioners within government who can share best practices, undergo training and become experts in helping their IP create genuine market impact.
IP has been identified as a key driver of economic growth in the Committee of Future Economy (CFE) Report and the 2013 IP Hub Master Plan has been updated to support the CFE’s recommendation to strengthen Singapore’s innovation ecosystem and build capabilities to help enterprises innovate and scale up. There is a plan to increase IP jobs from 500 to 1000 in the next 5 years. What are some of initiatives in place to both attract new talent and reskill existing professionals in the IP industry?
One of the recurring themes in our conversations with stakeholders is the lack of deep IP expertise in Singapore and Asia. This affects the ability of our companies to commercialise their IP. On the flipside, individuals see IP as a sunrise industry and want to know how to get into it. It does not hurt that IP jobs pay 30% more!
We believe that a highly skilled IP professional who has strong technical knowledge and acute commercial acumen will be able to bring immense value to any enterprise whose business model is centred around technology, brands, designs or content. Our subsidiary, the IP Academy, will step up to provide training and executive education courses ranging from half-day seminars to full diplomas in all types of skills relating to IP and innovation management.
Some progress has already been made on this front. For example, in March 2017, IPOS and Workforce Singapore launched a new IP Professional Conversion Programme (IP-PCP) where mid-career professionals can upskill and acquire the necessary skillsets to take on high value careers in IP and innovation. This $2.2 million programme provides course fee and salary support to train individuals so that they can support businesses in the translation of their innovations and creations into products and assets.
A key programme under the IP-PCP is Singapore’s first Master of IP and Innovation Management programme that we launched with the Singapore University of Social Sciences. This course, which recently saw its first intake of 16 students, is tailored for working adults who will remain gainfully employed throughout the course. The value and differentiating factor that the programme delivers is in the curriculum that focuses on practice and skills through case studies and solving real problems, rather than just knowledge transfer.
As we grow our innovation and IP ecosystem, we look forward to working with other professional associations, academies and institutions of higher learning to develop a pipeline of such talents to meet the growing manpower needs in this area.
You were appointed as Chairman of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) in May this year. Could you tell us about the experience so far and how you see Singapore contributing to the global copyright system?
Copyright controls the creation, flow and consumption of content and knowledge. It has become one the most hotly debated areas of IP because this is an area where technology has massively disrupted old business models – just think of Netflix, YouTube, Spotify and iTunes – but the dust has yet to settle on what could be new and sustainable business models. It has also become highly controversial, because access to content and knowledge has now become key to our lives and fundamental to the functioning of many societal institutions, schools, museums, archives, libraries, to name a few.
Imagine therefore sitting in a cavernous hall filled with hundreds of negotiators from all over the world trying to build consensus on various issues that are highly technical but have an impact on our citizens and whole industries, and you have an inkling on what challenges my fellow negotiators and I face at these discussions….
Given these, it is a deep honour for me to have been elected as Chair by my fellow WIPO member states and I hope to fly Singapore’s flag high not just by being a technically credible chair, but as someone who can help bridge differences between countries, regions, industries and stakeholders. Ultimately, I hope that being the Chair will help Singapore make more friends, build more connections and remain even more relevant to the international community.
 Singapore is ranked 7th most innovative globally, and 1st in Asia by the GII 2017. For BII 2017, Singapore is ranked 6th globally.
China Construction Bank (CCB) was recently commended by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat for reaching an important milestone in Singapore, which is evidence of the long-lasting collaboration that has developed between the two countries over the past 25 years.
The CCB is one of China’s four largest state-owned banks and is actively expanding its business abroad, with branch offices in Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore, among other places.
In 1998, when CCB made the bold decision to establish a presence in Singapore, the Asian economies were emerging from the depths of the Asian Financial Crisis. CCB’s move to set up shop in Singapore was a bold show of faith in the future of Asia and a belief that the region was poised for a resilient comeback.
Over the years, CCB has deepened its roots in Singapore, forming vital partnerships and emerging as one of CCB’s largest overseas nodes. DPM Heng Swee Keat, who once led the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), recalls productive meetings with CCB’s leadership regarding their expansion plans in the region.
This partnership led to significant milestones, including MAS upgrading CCB’s Singapore branch to a wholesale bank in 2010 and subsequently to a Qualifying Full Bank (QFB) in 2020.
The timing of this expansion is crucial, as it enables CCB to support Chinese companies looking to explore new opportunities while also contributing to the internationalisation of the renminbi.
Simultaneously, it provides invaluable support to Singaporean companies with aspirations in the Chinese market. Singapore’s status as an international financial centre ensures a plethora of growth opportunities for both CCB and Singapore.
Financial cooperation has been a cornerstone of the enduring relationship between Singapore and China. Recent upgrades in their partnership have expanded the scope of activities, going beyond traditional corporate and commercial lending to include green financing solutions, offshore debt raising, and even FinTech and innovation research in Singapore.
Regulators from both nations have joined hands to explore emerging areas like sustainable and digital finance, aiming to strengthen cross-border collaboration and deepen capital market connectivity within the region.
This is due to the rise of digital technology which has transformed the financial landscape, leading to the emergence of digital finance. This encompasses a wide range of innovations, including mobile banking, digital payments, blockchain technology, and digital currencies.
By exploring digital finance, Singapore and China are not only embracing financial technology (FinTech) but also revolutionising the way financial services are accessed and delivered. This shift has the potential to enhance financial inclusion, streamline transactions, and increase the efficiency of capital markets. Also, it opens doors to cross-border collaboration in developing and adopting cutting-edge FinTech solutions.
By strengthening capital market connectivity, these nations are not only boosting their own financial sectors but also attracting foreign investments, promoting regional economic stability, and potentially positioning themselves as hubs for sustainable and digital finance in Asia.
Innovations in digital finance and technology have revolutionised access to banking services and improved efficiency. CCB’s Fintech innovation lab in Singapore offers a platform for research, technology sharing, and the forging of new partnerships. These innovations are poised to enhance resource allocation, promoting real growth and job creation.
The collaboration between Singapore and China in these emerging areas is a strategic move to shape the financial landscape of the future, where sustainability, innovation, and cross-border cooperation will be key drivers of success.
Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia will cooperate in the digital economy. Experts have said that the substantial potential for trade and investment collaboration among the countries has not yet been fully realised.
The three governments jointly organised a conference to discuss digital economic development trends and their potential to enhance trade and investment among the countries, opportunities and challenges arising from digital transformation for the growth of trilateral ties, and strategies to advance their cooperative efforts in the digital era. The conference reflects the countries’ readiness to build digital-transformation-oriented socio-economic infrastructure.
Experts at the event recommended that the sides establish and improve institutional and legal environments that align with the demands of the international integration era within the context of the digital economy. Additionally, the nations should invest in developing digital infrastructure to foster their national digital economies.
The conference, which was organised by the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS), Lao Academy of Social and Economic Sciences (LASES), and Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC), saw the participation of over 100 experts, managers, and diplomats from the three countries.
According to a representative from VASS, prioritising the advancement of the digital economy is considered a key task in accelerating the restructuring of an economy. This approach is closely linked with innovation in the growth model and the enhancement of growth quality. The aim is to assist a nation in escaping the middle-income trap and progressing toward becoming a fully developed, industrialised country. The trend presents both opportunities and challenges for countries involved, as they work to develop and expand their investment and commercial partnerships.
An official from LASES noted that Laos is in the early stages of its digital transformation journey, encompassing multiple sectors, including commerce and investment. Consequently, Laos is eager to collaborate with experts from Vietnam and Cambodia, aiming to exchange knowledge and gain insight from their respective digital transformation efforts.
Highlighting the longstanding bond among the three nations, an official from RAC acknowledged that in the realm of digital transformation, Vietnam has been making swifter advancements compared to Cambodia and Laos, particularly in sectors like tourism, commerce, and investment. Collaborative efforts among these nations, particularly in the domain of the digital economy, hold considerable importance in advancing the development of each country.
In 2020, Vietnam kicked off a national digital transformation programme, under which the country would renovate the management and administration activities of the government, the production and business activities of enterprises, and the overall way of living and working. It is working to develop a safe, humane, and wide digital environment. The national digital transformation programme has the dual purpose of both developing the digital government and economy and establishing Vietnamese digital businesses with a global capacity.
In the second quarter of 2023, the digital economy contributed approximately 15.26% to the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Vietnam. Compared to 2021, the growth of Vietnam’s national digital transformation index did slow down, but the component indices of digital government, digital economy, and digital society still maintained a high growth rate of 45-55%.
Vietnam’s digital economy was valued at around $14 billion in 2020, showing remarkable growth of 450% since 2015. Projections indicate that it is expected to expand by roughly 30% between 2020 and 2025.
Minister of PANRB Abdullah Azwar Anas stated that in 2023, the diplomatic relations between the Republic of Indonesia and Korea will reach its 50th year. Both countries continuously work to enhance their relations and cooperation, both bilaterally, regionally, and multilaterally.
In light of this, the governments of Indonesia and Korea are continuing their cooperation in Electronic Government Systems (EGS) through the Digital Government Cooperation Forum. This event, organised through the collaboration of the Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB), the Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MoIS), and the National Information Society Agency (NIA), discusses the implementation of cooperation in 2023 and the cooperation project plans for 2024.
“The closeness of this relationship and cooperation is certainly supported by the complementary nature of resources and advantages possessed by Indonesia and Korea, in addition to the excellent economic and political progress, making opportunities for cooperation in various sectors increasingly wide open,” said Minister PANRB Abdullah Azwar Anas.
In 2023, the governments of Indonesia and Korea embarked on a cooperation project related to digital ID development strategies and poverty alleviation digitalisation strategies. As for the extension of the DGCC cooperation project in 2024, there are several project proposals from the DGCC Committee, including support for government efforts in digitalising Nusantara City into a smart city focusing on intelligent government aspects.
“These cooperation proposals include the use of Big Data and AI for government administrative services, open-source technology-based designs, and big data designs in service provision,” explained Anas.
In his opinion, strengthening the strategic partnership between Korea and Indonesia for a shared future, especially in digital transformation, is not just an aspiration but a necessity. Indonesia’s digital transformation is already on the right track, where digital transformation serves as an accelerator for development acceleration.
Strengthening partnerships with Korea, one of the global technology industry leaders can bring Indonesia significant benefits. Korea has extensive experience and expertise in digital transformation and cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and 5G. Through knowledge sharing and close collaboration, Indonesia can accelerate the implementation of these technologies to support various sectors, including industry, education, healthcare, and public services.
Furthermore, strengthening this partnership can also open doors for investments in Indonesia’s technology ecosystem. With financial and technical support from Korea, Indonesian startups and technology companies can further develop their innovations and compete in the global market. This will create new job opportunities, drive economic growth, and strengthen Indonesia’s position in an increasingly interconnected international community.
“Interoperability of systems and applications continues to be pursued to realise integrated services nationally. However, we continue to strive and learn best practices from various countries, especially Korea, to strengthen digital transformation breakthroughs in Indonesia,” he said.
NIA President Jong Sung Hwang stated that in the future, his agency will actively assist Indonesia in digital governance, similar to what they did by establishing NIA in 1987 to support the digitalisation of the South Korean government. “The South Korean government used to have 17,060 silo systems, but they managed to integrate them all into an all-in-one service,” explained Jong Sung Hwang.
Jong Sung Hwang added that in the era of digital governance, everything should run smoothly, and data should be easily accessible. “Usually, data preparation takes a lot of time, but with data infrastructure, it can be done more quickly and data is easier to use,” he added.
In an era where technology defines many aspects of daily life, strengthening a strategic partnership with Korea in digital transformation is not just an option but a necessity. This step will help Indonesia address challenges and seize opportunities from the global digital revolution. With strong cooperation between the two countries, Indonesia can achieve a brighter and more sustainable future in the digital era.
A prominent player in the oats industry, tracing its origins back to its establishment in 1965, inaugurated a new cutting-edge oat processing plant in Malaysia. This company has consistently evolved and embraced innovation, establishing itself as a major contributor to the global export of oat products.
The recent success of this enterprise can be largely attributed to its strategic investments in cutting-edge technologies. The newly unveiled plant will have an expansive floor area and specialise in the production of a diverse range of oat products, including oat flakes, kilned dried hulled oats, oat bran, and oat flour.
Malaysian government officials and industry experts have lauded the expansion, recognising its positive impact on the local economy and its alignment with broader industrial development plans. The company’s emphasis on technology and production capacity not only benefits its supply chain but also enhances its position in the global market, particularly within the Halal food sector. Additionally, the increased capacity aligns seamlessly with national food security goals, contributing to the accessibility and affordability of food, especially healthy products.
The Deputy Managing Director of the company has emphasised their commitment to expanding their product offerings and capacity to meet market demands. With an impressive 58 years of experience in oat milling, they remain dedicated to innovation and sustainability.
The newly inaugurated oat processing plant uses state-of-the-art automation and advanced technology to ensure impeccable control over the entire oat milling process, guaranteeing consistency and quality in every product it delivers to the market.
This commitment to quality and innovation has been duly recognised by certifications from global food authorities, including FSSC 22000, ISO 22000, and HACCP, as well as Halal and non-GMO certifications. These certifications not only underscore the company’s dedication to delivering safe and high-quality products but also highlight its embrace of modern technology in food processing, ensuring that every product meets stringent global standards.
The plan is to explore ways to enhance its sales and marketing efforts. Leveraging data-driven strategies and digital platforms, the company aims to reach a wider audience and cater to the evolving preferences of consumers, particularly the younger generation.
Leveraging the new cutting-edge facility, the company is expected to extend its reach into the rapidly growing plant-based beverage and meat industries. Additionally, it will be unveiling a Captain Innovation Hub, scheduled for completion by 2028. This hub aligns seamlessly with the pursuit of healthier lifestyles, aiming to introduce a range of innovative oat products to the younger generation, all of which will be underpinned by advanced technology.
This move aligns with key initiatives of the Malaysian government. The advanced automation mirrors the government’s push for technology-intensive industries over labour-intensive ones, while its commitment to Halal certification bolsters Malaysia’s reputation as a provider of high-quality Halal products.
Furthermore, the company’s increased milling capacity and production of nutritious oat products support national food security objectives, and its global success contributes to Malaysia’s trade goals. The forthcoming Captain Innovation Hub underscores its dedication to innovation and sustainability, paralleling the government’s encouragement of forward-looking industries, ultimately showcasing how private sector enterprises can advance Malaysia’s economic and strategic aspirations.
OpenGov Asia has also reported that MIDA has signed a Collaborative Agreement with a global leader in intelligent sensing and emitting technology. A key component of this plan was the establishment of an advanced 8-inch microLED manufacturing facility in Kulim, Malaysia.
This facility, characterised by its state-of-the-art automation and technology, is a groundbreaking development in the global microLED industry. Construction of this pioneering facility commenced in 2022, and it is well on its way to completion.
In a resolute move to drive technological innovation and secure a prominent position on the global stage, China significantly bolstered its investment in research and development (R&D) in 2022. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that the country allocated an impressive 3.08 trillion yuan (S$422.1 billion) to R&D, marking a 10.1% year-on-year increase.
This surge in R&D funding underscores China’s unwavering dedication to advancing basic research and achieving breakthroughs in critical technologies.
The amplified R&D investment not only fuels technological innovation within Chinese enterprises but also enhances their core competitiveness on the international front. Experts believe that this substantial investment will inject a potent dose of momentum into China’s ongoing economic recovery.
The surge in R&D investment reflects China’s resolute implementation of an innovation-driven development strategy, positioning the nation as a science and technology powerhouse. This strategy equips China with a competitive edge in the fierce international arena, driving the creation of new growth engines.
Pan Helin, co-director of the Digital Economy and Financial Innovation Research Centre at Zhejiang University’s International Business School, underscores the pivotal role of continuous investment in basic scientific research.
He highlights its significance in fostering high-quality economic growth and promoting the intelligent transformation and upgrading of traditional industries. Pan calls for harnessing the leading role of enterprises in driving technological innovation, thereby ensuring sustainable progress.
Enterprises in China are indeed heeding this call, expanding their investments in vital sectors and laying a robust foundation for pioneering core technologies in key domains. The NBS highlighted the government’s commitment to providing continued financial support and encouraging local authorities to amplify their R&D investments while optimising the efficiency of capital utilisation.
China’s prowess in science and technology innovation has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. The 2022 Global Innovation Index, released by the World Intellectual Property Organisation, positioned China at the 11th spot globally, making it the only middle-income economy within the top 30.
Further, Luo Zhongwei, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Industrial Economics advocates intensifying investments in cutting-edge and forward-looking fields, including quantum information, artificial intelligence (AI), biological sciences, new energy, and new materials.
According to him, these investments are essential to achieve breakthroughs in key domains through independent innovation, particularly as protectionism continues to rise in some countries.
China’s intensified investments in cutting-edge fields like quantum information and AI confer a multitude of advantages. This commitment propels China to a position of technological leadership on the global stage. By allocating substantial resources to these transformative technologies, China not only sets industry standards but also influences international trends and fosters innovation.
Besides, these investments fuel economic growth by catalysing the development of new industries and markets. Quantum information and AI have the potential to spawn high-tech startups, generate employment opportunities, and stimulate economic prosperity.
As China excels in these domains, it enhances its global competitiveness, exporting technological advancements, products, and expertise while strengthening its standing in international trade and diplomacy.
Also, this strategic move ensures China’s national security and technological sovereignty. Quantum information and AI play pivotal roles in safeguarding against cybersecurity threats and advancing military capabilities.
Likewise, these investments reduce China’s reliance on foreign technology, allowing greater control over critical infrastructure and ensuring resilience against external disruptions. Overall, China’s intensified focus on these advanced fields promises not only technological leadership but also economic growth, national security, and global influence.
The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) spearheaded an initiative aimed at promoting innovation and technology in the biotech sector, showcasing Hong Kong’s pioneering advancements and entrepreneurial spirit.
This initiative was part of the “Think Business, Think Hong Kong” event organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) in Paris recently. The event was a platform to underscore the potential for cross-border collaboration between Hong Kong and France in the field of biotechnology and innovation.
The CEO of HKSTP emphasised the critical purpose behind this endeavour. He pointed out the immense potential for synergy and cooperation between Hong Kong and French biotech ecosystems, highlighting their role in propelling startups and pharmaceutical companies to global prominence.
The journey of biotech innovation is long and arduous, and comprehensive support is essential. This initiative aimed to highlight Hong Kong’s ability to nurture and support biotech innovators throughout their growth trajectory and establish the city as a global hub for innovation and technology.
At its core, this initiative sought to underscore Hong Kong’s strengths in driving innovation to global success. It aimed to showcase the city’s unique ecosystem that fosters innovation and technology, making it a prime destination for biotech entrepreneurs. Moreover, it underlined the immense market potential in Asia as a growth engine for the global biotech industry.
The thematic session organised by HKSTP and the accompanying pavilion, titled “Unlocking Asia’s Opportunities in Healthcare Innovation,” was central to this initiative. These components received a warm reception from the French biotech and pharmaceutical industry.
Four distinguished biotech experts from Hong Kong-based ventures were featured, collectively illustrating Hong Kong’s capacity to lead in global innovation and technology. They highlighted the city’s potential as a gateway to the Asian market, positioning it as a central hub for biotech growth and development.
To further accentuate the significance of this initiative, a special gala dinner was convened, attended by influential leaders from the French, European, and Hong Kong business communities. Key dignitaries including the President of the Ile de France Region, the Financial Secretary of the HKSAR Government, and the Chairman of HKTDC were present. This gathering aimed to foster meaningful connections and collaborations that would propel innovation and technology in the biotech sector forward.
HKSTP’s initiative was not just about an event; it was about catalysing collaboration and innovation in the biotech sector. It sought to highlight Hong Kong’s unique strengths as a global player in biotech innovation and technology. By bringing together experts, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders, this initiative aimed to pave the way for groundbreaking advancements in biotech, positioning Hong Kong as a prominent player in the international innovation and technology landscape.
OpenGov Asia previously reported that the Government Chief Information Officer of Hong Kong led a delegation from the city’s innovation and technology (I&T) sector to the 25th China International Software Expo (CISE). The mission aimed to strengthen collaboration and explore business opportunities in the technology sector.
The Hong Kong Pavilion at CISE showcased more than 20 innovative I&T products and solutions sourced from esteemed competitions like the Hong Kong ICT Awards and the “Maker in China” SME Innovation and Entrepreneurship Global Contest. These exhibits covered cutting-edge domains such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, cloud computing, and biotechnology.
These innovations spanned sectors like fintech, smart construction site management, and digital entertainment, demonstrating the integration of digital technology into the tangible economy. To engage potential buyers and partners, the Hong Kong Pavilion featured a mini-stage for exhibitors to present their products and services.
This delegation’s participation in CISE emphasised Hong Kong’s technological capabilities and commitment to international collaboration. It aligned with Hong Kong’s goal of becoming a global hub for technological innovation in a rapidly evolving I&T landscape.
The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of three separate memoranda of understanding (MoUs) from earlier this year between India and Sierra Leone, Antigua & Barbuda, and Armenia. These MoUs will facilitate cooperation in the realm of exchanging successful digital solutions that have been deployed at a national level to boost digital transformation initiatives.
Under the memoranda of understanding, the countries will share experiences and digital technology-driven solutions, such as India Stack, in the execution of digital transformation projects. It is expected that the MoUs will result in more employment opportunities in the information technology sector.
India Stack is a collection of indigenously developed APIs and digital public assets that strive to enable the widespread utilisation of digital identity, data, and payments as fundamental economic elements. India Stack includes apps like 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).
Both government-to-government (G2G) and business-to-business (B2B) cooperation in the realm of DPI will be strengthened through the MoUs. The endeavours outlined in the agreements will be funded using the regular operating allocations of their respective administrations. The MoUs shall remain in force for three years.
The MoUs were signed between the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the Ministry of Information and Communications of the Republic of Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Information, Communications Technologies, Utilities and Energy of the Antigua & Barbuda, and the Armenian Ministry of High-Tech Industry.
MeitY is actively working with multiple countries and international organisations to promote both bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the field of ICT. Over time, MeitY has established MoUs, memoranda of cooperation (MoCs), and agreements with counterpart organisations and agencies from various countries. These arrangements serve as vehicles for fostering cooperation and facilitating the exchange of information within the ICT domain.
The MoUs were originally put forth at a meeting of the G20 Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG). The event served as a global platform for discussions on both foundational and sector-specific DPIs. It featured experience zones that highlighted the various DPIs that have been successfully implemented, including digital identities, fast payments, open networks for digital commerce, language translation technology, online learning solutions, and telemedical consultations.
The agreements align with the several initiatives undertaken by the government, including Digital India, Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India), and Make in India, among others, aimed at advancing the nation towards a digitally empowered society and a knowledge-based economy. Given the evolving landscape, there is a need to explore business opportunities, exchange best practices, and attract investments within the digital sector.
According to the government, over the last few years, India has showcased its leadership in the deployment of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) and has effectively delivered public services, even amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, many countries have expressed an interest in learning from India’s experiences.
India Stack Solutions are Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) created and implemented by India on a national scale. This infrastructure facilitates access to and the delivery of public services. It aims to universalise connectivity, foster digital inclusion, and ensure effortless access to public services.
These solutions are built on open technologies, are interoperable and are designed to encourage active involvement from both industry and community stakeholders, fostering innovation. However, each country has unique needs and challenges in building DPI, although the basic functionality is similar, allowing for global cooperation.