The Infocomm Media Development Authority and IBM signed a Memorandum of Intent on Friday, where IBM will hire and train 300 Singaporean professionals over the next four years in emerging tech areas. The signing of the Memorandum of Intent was witnessed by Minister for Communications and Information, Mr S Iswaran.
They will be trained under the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) Company-Led Training programme and the TeSA Mid-Career Advance programme, for roles such as Digital Consultants, Big Data Engineers, Data Scientists, Cloud Architects, UX Designers and Full Stack Digital Developers.
Future-Ready Intelligent Digital Workforce Programme
The “Future-Ready Intelligent Digital Workforce Programme” aims to meet the demand for technology consulting and deep technical skills needed to support the acceleration of digital transformation across all industries.
The programme will bring a diversity of talent with relevant skills and knowledge base, and provide them with opportunities to deepen their digital skills, technical expertise and hands-on practical experience.
240 Singaporean professionals will be under the TeSA Company-Led Training programme, and an additional 60 Singaporean mid-career professionals will join under the TeSA Mid-Career Advance programme. These participants will range from fresh graduates to professionals in the later stages of their careers.
“As we push forward with our national digitalisation movement, the ICT sector continues to hold promise for job creation. It remains important to provide opportunities for our professionals to build the necessary skills for tech jobs that power the sector. IMDA’s and DISG’s collaboration with IBM, to help 300 Singaporeans acquire advanced tech skills, is part of our investment in a pipeline of local tech talent as we make a decisive push for digital transformation in our country so that Singaporeans can continue to do well,” said IMDA Assistant Chief Executive and EDB Executive Vice President, Kiren Kumar. “I urge more companies to join our national effort to create jobs and training opportunities for all Singaporeans.”
Digital Transformation and Post COVID
The Programme emphasises continual learning and participants will be expected to keep up-to-date with their skills development through a variety of activities – such as self-paced online learning modules or instructor-led workshops – and qualify for specific certifications depending on their roles.
Programme participants will undergo intense, immersive exposure to emerging technologies such as AI, Advanced Analytics, Blockchain, Cloud, Cyber Security and IoT, and will be given opportunities to build technical skills through hands-on training. New hires will be assigned to work with crossfunctional local, regional, and global teams in a variety of projects, to gain practical experience.
There will be a focus on industry transformation, business reinvention, and delivering tangible business outcomes quickly, especially in an environment of uncertainty and charting the “new normal” post-COVID.
“The global pandemic has forced businesses to speed up their digital transformation – in many cases, completing in weeks what may have in the past taken months or even years. To accelerate that transformation even more and help companies in Singapore take full advantage of exponential technologies such as AI, Blockchain, Cloud and Cyber Security, IBM Services will continue to collaborate and co-create with our clients to go beyond “random acts of digital,” said Hui Li Lee, Managing Partner, GBS ASEAN, IBM Services.
“IBM is delighted to partner with IMDA and DISG to fulfil our clients’ demand for deep digital and technical skills and also to support Singapore’s nation-building efforts to uplift the overall local talent pool. Singapore as the headquarter of IBM ASEAN, IBM Services is well placed to be the Advanced Digital Talent and Future Skills Competency hub to support IBM clients in Singapore and the region,” added Hui Li.
Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) is recently unveiled the Experience Centre as an immersive sensory journey to showcase Hong Kong’s world-class innovation and ambition in Biomedical Technology, AI & Robotics, FinTech and Data & Smart City.
Visitors to Science Park today can explore and be inspired by HKSTP’s thriving I&T ecosystem of over 1000 partner companies, who are fuelling Hong Kong’s rise as a leading global I&T hub within the Greater Bay Area.
The Experience Centre will be the new premier touchpoint at Science Park for local and global visitors to get a full sense of Hong Kong’s largest and most advanced I&T ecosystem, while also opening new I&T career possibilities to young talent in Hong Kong. The standout innovations on show are a testament to HKSTP’s impactful support across the entire I&T value chain – from R&D to commercialisation and re-industrialisation.
The 370 square-meter immersive experience features an inspirational and interactive journey of seven zones, 300+ tech components powering 30+ multimedia exhibits to present Hong Kong’s innovation stories in truly original and stimulating ways. The state-of-the-art thematic space uses innovative technological tools such as facial recognition, panoramic video, hololens, real-time data dashboards, spherical projections and transparent touch-screen technology to create an immersive visitor experience.
The CEO of HKSTP stated that the Experience Centre is the ideal multi-dimensional showcase of the Park’s thriving world-class I&T ecosystem that sits at the heart of the huge GBA innovation and technology opportunity. The tech-inspired experience is a reminder of the remarkable achievements and the powerful co-creation potential of HKSTP’s partner companies, but is also a taste of the transformative innovation yet to come from the city’s brightest talent and proof that HKSTP is where innovation starts and Hong Kong’s future is being forged”.
Art-Tech crossover explores human-tech relationship
Beyond acting as a showcase of inspiration, the Experience Centre provides a practical shared space for HKSTP partner companies and the larger I&T community to co-create. The centre will act as a “digital den” to take this innovation spirit into new areas of potential growth. One area is Design and Art Tech which is a prominent theme throughout the Experience Centre and highlights technology’s potential to drive cross-sector collaboration opportunities that transform culture and industry.
Each exhibit zone in the centre features thoughtfully curated art pieces that tell timeless stories of the human experience through modern, tech-enabled media platforms. Inspired by technology but made by man, the Art-Tech exhibition “Man-Made”, features a selection of art pieces from six Chinese artists, represent the convergence of culture and technology and the vision of technology as a dynamic man-made tool that drives the world forward.
HKDI is partnering with HKSTP to nurture new ways to fuse design and technology in new expressions while also nurturing new talent.
It was noted that the launch of the Experience Centre and this partnership with HKSTP is a prime example of how design, art and technology create a powerful synergy that fuses two distinct communities and sectors, the Principal of Hong Kong Design Institute Vocational Training Council said.
Initiatives arising from the HKDI partnership include The “Master x Students” Talent Nurture Programme within the HKSTP Ecosystem; The Co-creation Charrette–Hackathon to promote academic-industry knowledge exchange; Design Competitions to bring to life design concepts stemming from HKDI talents; and Student Attachment and Internship to match qualified students nominated by HKDI with HKSTP partner companies.
The Seven Zones of the Experience Centre include:
- The “Reception” greets visitors via the virtual personal assistant in an automated welcome experience
- The “Immersive Room” highlights via immersive visuals HKSTP’s mission to spearhead Hong Kong’s I&T development by supporting the entire I&T value chain – from R&D to re-industrialisation.
- The “Hall of Fame” showcases standout achievements and ecosystem highlights from the 1000+ partner companies and 2 unicorns within the HKSTP ecosystem
- The “Discovery Area” is where visitors take a deep dive into our four strategic focus areas where Hong Kong is leading the way: Biomedical Technology, AI & Robotics, FinTech and Data & Smart City, and
- The Visionary Table is a showcase of the innovation culture at HKSTP told through innovators and industry pioneers
- Flexible Space is a place for co-creation and networking in groups of up to 30 people
- The Infinity Room is an interactive close to the experience where we celebrate Hong Kong’s incredible I&T journey to date and future potential
The transaction value in Vietnam’s science-technology market posted an average annual growth of 22% during the 2011-2020 period, according to data from a recent conference reviewing the ten-year development of the market.
The conference focused on assessing the achievements and shortcomings in the development of the science and technology market over the last decade and set orientations for the next ten years. Vietnam currently has over 800 market intermediaries and the number of transaction platforms rose from eight before 2015 to 20 in 2020.
Along with traditional intermediaries, new-style organisations have developed strongly, with 69 business incubators and 28 business promotion programmes. In the 2020 Global Innovation Index (GII), Vietnam ranked 42nd among 131 economies. Among those making the most significant progress in their GII innovation ranking over time, Vietnam led 29 lower-middle-income countries and was third in Southeast Asia. Last year, it moved up 13 places from the previous year to 59th in the rankings of 100 economies with the best start-up ecosystems.
According to a news report, Tran Van Tung, the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, said that during the 2021-2030 period the Ministry will focus on completing the legal environment and promoting scientific and practical research for the development of the science and technology market. It will also work to remove barriers facing development, improve human resources training, and develop national infrastructure for the market.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) plans to accelerate the implementation of the national e-commerce development master plan of 2021-2025 to keep up with the growth of digital trading activities. Recently, the Head of the MoIT’s E-Commerce and Digital Economy Department said that by 2020, 53% of the population participated in online shopping. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, local e-commerce revenue grew 18%, reaching US$11.8 billion, accounting for 5.5% of total retail sales, consumer goods, and services nationwide.
With the support of electronic payments, the Ministry will focus on developing e-commerce infrastructure, building, and perfecting institutions and legal frameworks for e-commerce, creating a transparent and favourable legal environment for businesses and consumers in the country.
Vietnam is considered one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in Southeast Asia. Industry insiders say that e-commerce will continue to strongly grow this year. It will create a new impetus for economic growth, creating an opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to build new business strategies, and approach modern distribution channels to expand markets to recover from the pandemic.
MoIT’s E-Commerce and Digital Economy Department plans to implement the GoOnline programme this year to accompany local businesses. The programme will include telecommunications, technology, and e-commerce systems, manufacturers, traders, and individuals nationwide.
The Ministry will strengthen the coordination, inspection, examination, and violation handling in e-commerce. It will step up training for State management officials and owners of e-commerce exchanges on protected trademarks to solve disputes. This will also help detect counterfeit products, goods of unknown origin, and goods infringing intellectual property rights.
Last year, the MoIT applied blockchain technology to trace the origin of goods for some agricultural products to improve the brand and promote exports of agricultural products to developed countries as the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) was ratified.
The Ministry also built a total solution for logistics service exchanges between logistics businesses and shippers to facilitate e-commerce delivery services. It supported businesses to apply technology in digital transformation. Along with the national master plan, the MoIT will submit to the government an amended decree on e-commerce to enhance the integration, connection, and sharing of data between it and cities through the National Public Service Portal.
The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysia’s lead agency in digital transformation, in collaboration with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) had recently called on tech companies from both countries to participate in a virtual event that outlined programmes and initiatives which aim to boost bilateral digital trade and investment via the Australia-Malaysia Tech Exchange (AMTX). The webinar took place on 6 May 2021.
The announcement follows the comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in December 2020 which is a core component of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) jointly announced as the elevation of diplomatic relations between both countries at the Australia-Malaysia Leaders’ Virtual Summit in January 2021 by both our Prime Ministers.
The MDEC CEO stated, “Australia is an important trading partner and we are looking forward to building closer bilateral trade relations in the areas of digital trade and investment via this programme. We are committed to providing our utmost support to strengthen the tech ecosystems in both countries for mutual success. Effective collaboration will improve innovation as we look to stimulate the growth of the digital economy in line with the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL).”
To further enable the entry and expansion of Australian tech companies into Malaysian markets, MDEC offers the Malaysian Tech Entrepreneur Programme (MTEP) which provides a one-year pass to new entrepreneurs and a five-year pass to established ones. Moreover, the Malaysia Digital Hub (MDH) programme is also available to provide support with co-working spaces, thereby easing the market entry process.
MDEC and Austrade have also set up a one-stop platform to provide assistance and guidance to tech companies looking to make Malaysia their base for expansion into the wider ASEAN region and beyond. Interested companies will only need to fill up a form here and MDEC will revert accordingly to provide the necessary support.
It was noted that Austrade sees AMTX as a business-focused platform to support and enhance public-private partnerships between tech service providers and larger corporates with support from both Australian and Malaysian governments. The MDEC Vice President of the Digitally-Powered Businesses division noted that the agency is confident they can mutually benefit and grow both nations’ digital economies by creating an equitable, inclusive and technologically integrated society in line with Malaysia 5.0.
AMTX was introduced to drive digital collaboration among tech companies from both nations, facilitate and create pathways for bilateral trade and investment in the digital economy, provide platforms and avenues for collaboration and innovation in the digital economy reducing digital trade barriers and promote consistent and open digital trade rules in the region.
Both nations have cooperated closely on digital trade and investment for decades. Australian investments in Malaysia from 1997 to 2018, via the Multimedia Super Corridor, totalled RM2.53 billion (US$617 million), with 41 active companies in the market. Australian tech companies are drawn to Malaysia by its strategic location, attractive business environment, and reliable infrastructure.
Australia is a key market for many Malaysian tech companies for expansion, with the country being a key market for testing products before a European or North American expansion. In recent years, 11 Malaysian tech companies having been listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), making the country an appealing business destination.
Since its inception, MDEC’s market access programme has formed partnerships with over 200 parties globally and forged over 800 business matching opportunities for its portfolio companies. All of this has resulted in over US$1 Billion in digital export revenue. This new MoU will build upon that success and further strengthen the digital relationship between the two countries.
To date, MSC Malaysia has attracted a cumulative RM345 billion investments, creating close to 185,000 jobs. This mostly came from multinationals that have opened their global business services and regional operations here in Malaysia. Malaysia is also ranked second in ASEAN and 26th globally in the recent IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2020.
Malaysia’s diversified multi-lingual and digitally-skilled talent pool; ready infrastructure and thriving digital economy ecosystem has led it to be recognised as a first-mover for the high-value digital business services in the region.
An Indonesian ride-hailing tech company has announced plans to make every car and motorcycle on its platform an electric vehicle (EV) by 2030 in an ambitious three-pronged sustainability strategy.
Dubbed the “Three Zeros” agenda, the company aims to reach zero emissions, zero waste and zero socio-economic barriers by the end of the decade. The plans will see the 11-year-old company invest in a series of EV pilot programmes across Southeast Asia, as well as launching a “world-first” in-app carbon offsetting feature. However, the tech company said the plans would also require external support, highlighting the need for public and private collaboration to build the supporting infrastructure.
The tech company has seen strong interest from battery manufacturers, nickel providers and Indonesian authorities keen to assist with the shift to green energy in the world’s fourth most populous country and the surrounding region. Indonesia is one of the largest motorcycle-based transportation countries, so there is a lot of interest around this from a range of parties; the tech company sees itself as a primary facilitator in making this happen.
In addition, the company announced a series of social mobility initiatives, including establishing an employee-led council to push corporate diversity, equality and inclusion programmes as well as helping micro and small businesses digitise. It also pledged to only partake in gender diverse panels for speaking events.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, Indonesia plans to roll out new regulations that offer tax breaks for hybrid EVs, in the latest effort to promote the development of electric vehicles in the country. In a meeting with Parliament, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said that investors who build electric cars in Indonesia feel that the current framework is unfair as there is no difference in the tax rates between hybrid and fully electric cars.
While battery-powered EVs continue to be exempted from the luxury tax, the plug-in hybrid EV will see an increase to 5% from 0%. Full and mild hybrid types will be taxed at a rate of 6% to 12%, from a previous range of 2% to 12%. Also, the government will provide tax holiday incentives for up to 10 years if EV manufacturers make at least a USD 346.2 million investment in the country.
President Joko Widodo has expressed his interest in making Indonesia a top player in the global electric car market, especially given that the country is the world’s largest producer of nickel, an essential component to produce lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that power electric vehicles. Indonesia aims to be a regional EV hub in 2030 and it has been rolling out various initiatives to boost its production in the country.
Tech companies have also expressed their commitment to the initiative. An international ride-hailing giant put over 5,000 electric cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and scooters across Indonesia. Meanwhile, another tech unicorn is planning to test electric motorcycles this year and is working with the state-owned gas and oil company for the commercial pilot in Greater Jakarta.
However, it will not be easy to make consumers switch on a large scale due to its high price, said the association of Indonesian automotive industries. Most consumers are buying cars at prices between USD 10,386 to USD 17,310, while electric cars are currently selling for about USD 34,620. According to the Association, there is a huge potential for electric cars, but prices must be lowered significantly so they will be more affordable for the wider communities.
Another challenge is the supporting infrastructure like charging stations. The state electricity company PLN currently only runs 37 stations across the country, although it targets to have 2,400 by 2025. Addressing these two major problems will get consumers more interested.
The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the process of digital transformation in businesses and has urged companies to consider their own resources and conditions to ensure and increase efficiency, according to a news report. For instance, workers at a construction site in Hanoi use FaceID on their smartphones to register their arrival at work making it faster and more convenient to clock on. In the logistics sector, the application of technology is growing as drivers use their smartphones to track routes and shipments.
A recent study showed that the participation of SMEs in Vietnam in the digital transformation process could contribute US$24-30 billion to the country’s GDP by 2024, and significantly help with post-pandemic recovery. According to the Vietnam Logistics Association, 50%-60% of logistics enterprises are applying technology in their operations. At Sai Gon Newport Corporation, the application of an advanced management system helped reduce the time shipments stayed at the port by 55% and reduce delivery time by 75%.
An industry analyst noted that digital transformation is an inevitable trend of enterprises, especially during the current pandemic. If enterprises were slow in digital transformation, they would face difficulties when competing with others, especially in the rapid international integration. Digital transformation is not simply buying software or technology. Enterprises must pay attention to their resources and conditions to ensure the efficient process of digital transformation.
Under the digital transformation programme during the 2021-25 period, the Ministry of Planning and Investment wants 100% of enterprises to receive training in digital transformation to enhance their digital awareness. Micro and small enterprises, despite accounting for 96.7% of the total number of enterprises in Vietnam, contributed 40% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and provided 60% of jobs. However, due to their limited budgets, they had not benefited much from the digital transformation, the report said.
Digital transformation solution providers often paid more attention to government agencies and medium and large enterprises that had a greater budget and were often located in major cities. Nguyen Van Khoa, CEO of FPT, said that there were about five million household businesses in Vietnam who were also subject to digital transformation at different levels. Statistics have revealed that 50% of SMEs went bankrupt in the first five years and 90% in the next five years, stressing that the competition would be much fiercer in the digital transformation.
Digital transformation is accelerating the transition to a digital economy, which is enabling enterprises to develop platforms to promote their operation and business. It is more convenient for big enterprises to digitally transform because they have their own ecosystems while SMEs do not have a budget to digitise their operations.
The government aims to be in the top 40 performers in the Global Innovation Index (GII), the top 30 in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)’s Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), and the top 50 in the United Nations’ e-Government Development Index (EGDI) by 2030.
The country also aims to raise the proportion of the digital economy in national GDP to 30% and boost productivity by 7.5% annually on average. Other targets for digital transformation are to achieve universal access to fibre-optic internet and 5G services; complete digital government development; and establish smart cities in key economic zones as well as connect with regional and global networks of smart cities.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the launch of the 6th edition of the Global FinTech Hackcelerator, with the theme “Harnessing Technology to Power Green Finance”.
The competition aims to unlock the potential of FinTech in accelerating the development of green finance in Singapore and the region. FinTech firms and solution providers around the world are invited to submit innovative solutions to address over 50 problem statements that have been collected from financial institutions and green finance industry players.
These problem statements focus on three key challenges: Mobilising Capital, Monitoring Commitment and Measuring Impact.
Mr Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer of MAS said, “Green FinTech can be an important enabler to accelerate Asia’s transition to a low carbon future. It can provide much needed innovative solutions, and develop the crucial technology stack, which can help promote green financial services, catalyse efficient allocation of green capital, and facilitate trust in the green data value chain. I encourage all innovators to make use of this platform and showcase their Green FinTech solutions to the world.”
Up to 15 finalists will be shortlisted for a virtual programme where they will be paired with a Corporate Champion (Corporate Champions are teams from Singapore-based financial institutions or organisations that mentor finalists during the Hackcelerator, working with them to refine and contextualise the solution) to develop customised prototypes on the API Exchange (APIX).
APIX is a product of the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network and is a not-for-profit entity formed by the MAS, the International Finance Corporation and the ASEAN Bankers Association, with the objective of supporting financial innovation and inclusion around the world
Each finalist will also receive a S$20,000 cash stipend and be eligible for a fast-tracked application for the MAS Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme Proof-of-Concept Grant of up to S$200,000. Finalists will pitch their solutions at the Demo Day held at this year’s Singapore FinTech Festival.
The Singapore FinTech Festival is the world’s largest FinTech festival and a global platform for the FinTech community comprising FinTech players, technopreneurs, policymakers, financial industry leaders, investors including private equity players and venture capitalists and academics.
It will be held on 8 to 12 November 2021. Up to three winners will be selected, with each receiving S$50,000 in prize money. All FinTech firms and solution providers should submit their applications for the MAS Global FinTech Hackcelerator by 11 June 2021.
China launched the core capsule which is tasked with transporting the 22.5-ton capsule to a low-Earth orbit about 400 kilometres above the land to place the first piece of China’s space station. This is the biggest and heaviest spacecraft China has ever constructed. The craft’s weight equals that of 15 ordinary-sized cars combined.
As the countdown ticked down to zero at 11:23 am, 10 engines at the bottom of a Long March 5B heavy-lift carrier rocket roared to life. It generates a thrust power of 1,068 metric tons to lift the 18-story-tall vehicle through thick rain clouds covering the coastal city of Wenchang.
The core capsule, named Tianhe, or Harmony of Heavens, is 16.6 meters long and has a diameter of 4.2 meters. It has three parts-a connecting sections, a life-support and control section and a resources section. The module will be central to the space station’s future operations because astronauts will live there and control the entire station from inside. It will also be used to host scientific experiments.
This launch marked the second flight of Long March 5B, the most powerful Chinese rocket when it comes to carrying capacity to low-Earth orbit. With a core stage and four side boosters, the rocket has a lift-off weight of 849 tons, capable of sending a 25 ton payload to orbits near Earth. The Long March 5B is now the only rocket in China that can launch Tiangong’s heavy components.
The craft is so big that each of its side boosters is nearly 28 meters tall, the height of a 9-story building, and 3.35 meters wide. Each of them has a thrust power of 240 tons, even stronger than many mid-lift rockets. To hold huge spacecraft, the rocket has China’s largest payload fairing that is 20.5 meters tall and 5.2 meters wide.
Construction for the space station marks the beginning of the third stage in China’s manned space program, which was approved by the government in 1992. The program’s first two stages had concluded successfully with six manned spaceflights and two experimental space lab missions.
After the capsule was launched, astronauts on the Shenzhou XII and XIII missions and two cargo ships will be launched within a few months to prepare the module for docking with other parts of the station. Next year, China will make Tiangong’s two space labs, two manned missions and two robotic cargo flights to continue the construction of the station. Once completed, the facility will be capable of docking with multiple crewed and cargo spaceships at the same time. It will also be able to link with foreign spacecraft if they have a designated docking hatch.
The station will be manned by three astronauts in extended shifts that will last several months. During handovers between shifts, the station will accommodate up to six astronauts. The entire Tiangong station is expected to become fully operational around the end of 2022 and is set to work for about 15 years. In addition to its components, the station will also be accompanied by an optical telescope that will be lifted after the station’s completion to fly together with it, according to them.
The Director of the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) says that his agency will strive to make sure that the space station will be made the best use of to advance space science, technology and application. scientists will be able to use the facility’s unique environment to perform mutation breeding, produce special medicines and create new materials, thus generating scientific, technological and economic benefits.
China is open to cooperation with foreign nations in the space station project. The Chinese agency has signed agreements with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) on space station cooperation. The two organizations jointly published an announcement of opportunity, inviting scientists from around the world to submit their research proposal for an opportunity to conduct their experiments onboard the Chinese station.
The Director of CMSA states that 17 foreign nations have confirmed their participation in nine scientific tasks on their station and related work is proceeding well. They will next continue working with the UNOOSA to solicit proposals for future scientific collaborations