Since 2007, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) has led ground breaking research and technological achievements in Singapore, such as the driverless vehicle SCOT and underwater autonomous robots.
As a partnership created out of the National Research Foundation CREATE fund, SMART has enabled collaboration between one of the top US universities and Singaporean academic institutions.
SMART focuses on 5 Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs):
The BioSystems and Micromechanics (BioSyM) IRG aims to establish Singapore as the center of innovation for healthcare technologies of the future by merging diverse engineering and bioscience disciplines.
The Center for Environmental Sensing and Modeling (CENSAM) IRG aims to develop a model of the natural and built environment of Singapore. The “virtual Singapore” model will be an invaluable tool in areas such as urban planning, environmental forecasting and environment impact assessment.
The Infectious Diseases (ID) IRG aims to develop an integrated research programme to study pathogen-host interactions of infectious diseases such as respiratory syncytial virus, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria and dengue.
The Future Urban Mobility (FM) IRG aims to develop, in and beyond Singapore, a new paradigm for the planning, design, and operation of future urban passenger and freight transportation systems that enhance sustainability and societal well-being.
The Low Energy Electronic Systems (LEES) IRG aims to identify new integrated circuit technologies that become the new added value for reduced energy per function, lower power consumption and higher performance in our electronics infrastructure.
This past week, OpenGov had the chance to speak to Mr. Daniel Hastings, CEO, SMART, about each of the IRGs, some key research motivations, and why Singapore is such a perfect test bed to host this research.
A Driverless Future? Maybe more of a Hybrid Environment.
How can our commute be a little shorter, a little smoother, or a little safer? These are just some of the questions that are being asked and answered by the Future Urban Mobility (FM) IRG.
When we brought the topic up, Mr. Hastings told us that he often asks,“How do you optimise the mix of traffic flows?”
As autonomous vehicle technology is rapidly increasing in popularity and scope, FM is working to modify different modes of transport which could very well be our future modes of transportation. This will change the way that traffic moves, cars operate, and people behave behind the wheel.
After visiting the One-North test bed for the SCOT vehicle, we were curious to find out more about how this research project contributes to the Smart Nation vision. Although it is hard to imagine that each and every vehicle on the road will be driverless, this is why these vehicles must be intelligent and adaptable.
“In principle, if you had all of these vehicles which talked to each other- then, why do you need a traffic light?” stated Mr. Hastings, “Having human beings in the mix, because they do not obey the rules, we need that to remain in place.”
He proposed that the future of urban mobility will be a mix of both driverless and manned vehicles. This would create somewhat of a hybrid environment, requiring unmanned vehicles to have the intelligence to sense bad road behaviour and assimilate to traditional traffic guidelines.
“If the group can understand the operation of an autonomous vehicle in a mixed hybrid environment by the end of the year, that would be successful,” said Mr. Hastings, “Getting to that level of understanding, making sure the algorithms all work the way you think they ought to work, would be a great milestone.”
Next week, the Future Urban Mobility group will be unveiling their new autonomous vehicles at EmTech Asia in Singapore.
Enabling Low Energy Circuits to Power our World
LEES is working on developing circuit technologies, running on very low power, enabling it to do much more. The IRG is tasked with creating smarter cars, lights, and sensors that will have much more battery life.
“This will allow for more efficient communication,” said Mr. Hastings, “They are working with some new materials and getting with big foundries. This level of integration, with these very low energy circuits, could enable completely new functions on your smartphone!”
When we use our phone for GPS, such as Google Maps, our phone runs out of power within a certain amount of time. These power intensive applications lead to rapid battery drain. But with low energy circuits, you can use your mobile devices for long periods of time.
This IRG will contribute findings that will power the world of tomorrow. This will make us more mobile, more connected, and more powerful.
Environmental Monitoring Robots and Sensors
When the COP21 agreements in Paris were recently solidified, world leaders agreed that there must be action taken to combat climate change. This is prompting institutions of non-profit research, private research, and academics to investigate novel ways to protect and monitor the environment.
SMART’s Center for Environmental Sensing and Modeling (CENSAM) is dedicated to the research and monitoring of the local environment and issues relating to climate change.
“This group is sensing the local marine environment, researching more efficient landfill utilisation, and collecting lots of data on regional climate change,” stated Mr. Hastings.
One of the research groups from CENSAM developed a 3D printed robotic stingray, loaded with sensors, to monitor marine life and conditions. The robot moves under water as a real-life stingray would and collects data along the way.
“You could think of it as underwater UAVs,” exclaimed Mr. Hastings.
Looking at the robot in person, you would have expected it to be much heavier. In fact, previous versions of the robot were larger and substantially heavier.
But the group has been able to create a robot which is similar in size to that of a tennis racket. It is large enough to handle the necessary technology, small enough to move underwater efficiently.
Mr. Hastings told us that some of the other groups from the CREATE fund are looking at this research area as well, asking, “As a city gets remade and redone, how do you make it cooler?”
In contemplating how to redesign a city to lessen the impact of global warming, that got us to thinking how some cities in the region feel hotter than others although their temperate is virtually equal. If technology in design can cool a city, what impact will it have on the environment?
Biomedical Research and Technology for Precision Medicine
The Biosystems and Micromechanics IRG works to research methods, devices, and techniques to measure biological systems. The lab has created several new methods to diagnose and treat some illnesses which are prominent in today’s world.
For example, the group has built a technique to build a 3 dimensional scaffold of cells. This allows for personalised medicine catered to the patient’s needs.
This goes against traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ prescription applied to hospitalised patients. It could especially help cancer patients who would normally go through chemotherapy, which is a long and difficult process.
Other findings and technologies in this IRG, aims to shape better decision making in our hospitals and health care facilities.
Singapore is a Prime Test Bed for these Interdisciplinary Research Groups
Singapore wants to get to the position so that it can secure its water resources, drive future mobility, and tackle climate change.
In funding these projects through the National Research Foundation, the Singapore Government is readily embracing opportunities in technology research to produce solutions to tomorrow’s problems.
“We are funded to do research by NRF, but since we want the research to have a real impact then we will engage with the government agencies to ask permission, suggest ideas, and learn what the actual issues are,” said Mr. Hastings, “For example, the CENSAM group works extensively with the National Environment Agency, to understand what the matters at hand.”
As the research environment in Singapore continues to improve, the quality of the research from local universities is increasing exponentially. The ecosystem supports entrepreneurism which is attractive to young innovating start-ups.
“Singapore is a place to recruit smart people, good place to live, and a dynamic environment- so why not?” stated Mr. Hastings.
Preparing for the future requires new developments in mobility on demand, environmental monitoring devices, and biotechnology. Only then, can Singapore thrive as a smarter, safer, and healthier nation.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced the launch of a S$5 million Virtual Production Innovation Fund to support the local media industry in developing the capabilities needed to harness virtual production technology to maintain the local media industry’s competitiveness as the international partner of choice to create premium IP.
To enable the camera to capture actors and visual effects in real time, virtual production technology uses LED panels to produce realistic background landscapes for television or movie sequences driven by video game engines. The site, road closures, location costs, permits, weather, set construction, and space rental will no longer be necessary for production.
With the help of technology, Singapore has a rare chance to get over some of its physical constraints, like the lack of suitable locations for on-location filming and room for large sets.
The ability of the storytellers to reproduce historical sites or any other environment will allow them to generate content that was previously impossible. This will revolutionise the creative process of storytelling.
The adoption of virtual production by the media sector is further encouraged by the strong signals emanating from international media giants that this technology will be widely employed in the creation of movies and television shows and will become the standard in the next years.
To strengthen capabilities in virtual production and ensure that the media companies and talent can keep up with international production methods to remain competitive, IMDA will pursue a two-pronged strategy to prepare the media sector for the future.
The National Film and Television School (NFTS) in the UK has collaborated with IMDA to adapt the school’s Certificate in Virtual Production course to the requirements of the sector to train media professionals to use this technology.
From December 2022 to April 2023, fifteen professors, trainers, and media professionals from Singapore will participate in virtual lectures and undergo hands-on training at NFTS’s virtual production facilities.
Over the course of the following 12 months, several masterclasses and workshops given by professionals from the business will be offered. A Singapore-based firm that specialises in developing immersive experiences, held a display to exhibit how virtual production can enhance imaginative storytelling.
Hands-on demonstrations will be given by guest speakers from virtual production leaders. They will discuss and explore best practices in the workflow to inventive ways to use different technology in storytelling.
Local businesses can also test out virtual production to realise their creative ideas for brief pieces of content, such as music videos, short films, and brand advertisements, among others. Companies can submit their suggested content concepts from now until February 15, 2023.
The capacity to best utilise virtual production technologies to realise a project’s creative vision will be taken into consideration while evaluating proposals.
Additionally, IMDA is working to organise an industry challenge with an internationally renowned gaming company. This challenge will encourage organisations to experiment with and use the cutting-edge real-time 3D creation tool developed by this gaming company. Currently, the aforementioned tool powers globally popular video games.
Teams whose concepts are shortlisted will receive personalised coaching and training from the gaming company. In addition, they will receive prize money from IMDA to assist with content creation.
Since virtual production technology has advanced in recent years, the country is now able to produce visual effects in real-time without building actual sets, thereby overcoming the constraints of scale, complexity, and space.
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) recently announced that a PolyU-supported start-up has successfully developed the Nano Multi-rings Defocus Incorporated Lens for controlling the progression of myopia (or short-sightedness).
The start-up collaborated with the State Key Laboratory of Ultra-precision Machining Technology (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University) (SKL-UPMT) and the School of Optometry of PolyU to create the new solution by integrating DISC technology and Ultra-precision Nano Multi-rings Machining Technology, offering children and adolescents a convenient, non-invasive and effective option to delay myopia progression.
PolyU holds the patents for both DISC technology and Ultra-precision Nano Multi-rings Machining Technology. The launch of the Nano Multi-rings Defocus Incorporated Lens signifies the University’s long-term commitment to driving research and innovation and its continuous effort in facilitating knowledge transfer and research commercialisation by supporting cutting-edge technology start-ups.
PolyU’s School of Optometry invented the novel DISC technology, which is proven to retard the myopia progression of children by 60%. The method produces a clear image on the retina and a defocused or blurred image in front of the retina simultaneously, enabling children to have clear vision while controlling the development of myopia. Based on this technology, the DISC-SH soft contact lens was introduced in 2018.
The Ultra-precision Nano Multi-rings Machining Technology, developed by SKL-UPMT, merges advanced optics design, ultra-precision machining and ultra-precision measurement technologies, and ultra-precision mould-making to apply DISC technology in spectacle lens production. By employing an ultra-precision process, the new spectacle lens provides added comfort for wearers, while offering more stable vision. The non-invasive design also makes it more suitable for children of different ages.
The Visiting Chair Professor of the School of Optometry of PolyU and Co-founder of the start-up noted that the partnership with SKL-UPMT and the School of Optometry to launch the new Nano Multi-rings Defocus Incorporated Lens resulted in a breakthrough in DISC technology. This initiative helps address the spiralling myopia problem among children, especially in markets with a relatively high ratio of myopes such as Hong Kong, Singapore and mainland China.
The Professor of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Director of SKL-UPMT at PolyU stated that ultra-precision machining technology is a multi-disciplinary advanced manufacturing technology, which is the backbone of crucial industries like optometry, semiconductors, advanced optics, aerospace, energy, biomedical and new materials development.
He noted that SKL-UPMT is at the forefront of the development and application of technologies and have a proven track record in designing and implementing new methods, process, systems and facilities in ultra-precision machining and ultra-precision measurement.
The locally developed Ultra-precision Nano Multi-rings Machining Technology was extended to fine-tune and manufacture optometric products and will continue to create new technologies and solutions for diverse industries to benefit society. In doing so, Hong Kong and mainland China’s competence and strategic advantages in design and advanced manufacturing will be furthered, he said.
The Nano Multi-rings Defocus Incorporated Lens is expected to be rolled out in Hong Kong and mainland China soon. The company will continue collaborating with PolyU to develop new myopia control products based on DISC technology to protect the vision health of children and adolescents.
Founded by PolyU’s professor and alumni, the start-up has received financial support from the PolyU Micro Fund and the PolyU Tech Launchpad Fund. In 2018, the company secured a licence from PolyU for commercialising DISC technology, which the start-up manufactures and distributes DISC lenses at its authorised optometric clinics and fitting centres.
In a bid to establish itself as a global mRNA vaccine hub, The Queensland government has partnered with a leading healthcare company to establish a world-first research centre in Brisbane. The AU$280 million Translational Science Hub will be established under an agreement between the company, the University of Queensland, Griffith University, and the Queensland Government.
The state’s Premier noted that Queensland will be the only jurisdiction in Australia to have a centre like this. She said that the Translational Science Hub will give them the platform to develop life-saving vaccines.
The Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development said the new Hub would help drive the development of new vaccines and healthcare solutions across the world. Through the Translational Science Hub, Queensland scientists will collaborate with global peers in the US and France on ground-breaking mRNA technology and vaccine development.
The Hub will bring more expertise, supply-chain capabilities, as well as clinical investigations to Queensland. It is expected to create up to 200 jobs for Queenslanders and strengthen the region’s biomanufacturing supply chain. mRNA technology is expected to deliver a new generation of vaccines that instruct certain cells to produce proteins that are recognised by the immune system to mount a defence.
The Minister for Science stated that Queensland is being recognised as a global research and innovation hub thanks to the government’s investment in state-of-the-art research facilities, talent attraction and partnerships between industry, academia and government.
She said that the agreement will make Queensland science even more competitive by accelerating the commercialisation of local research by linking university partners with a global industry leader to evaluate and develop new health technologies.
The government is also investing AU$17 million in the state budget to provide significant support to foster partnerships between universities and industry and accelerate the commercial application of major research being conducted in the state.
The Translational Science Hub in Queensland will work closely with the healthcare firm’s mRNA Centre of Excellence in France and the US to accelerate a new era of vaccine innovation, the firm’s Global Head of Vaccine Research and Development said.
The Vice-Chancellor and President, Griffith University, stated that Griffith is delighted to be part of the partnership building on the strengths and capabilities of the University’s existing biomedical leadership. The University’s researchers are internationally recognised for bringing disease-specific mRNA expertise to developing new vaccines and therapies while our Clinical Trial Unit is a leader in testing safety and efficacy.
The Vice-Chancellor, University of Queensland stated that the partnership builds on a commitment to bring the latest technologies to UQ’s internationally recognised vaccine and drug development programs. The shift in focus mRNA technologies was accelerated during the pandemic and UQ has invested in both the people and facilities to ensure mRNA for pre-clinical research can be developed and produced in Queensland.
The Translational Science Hub will be located across Queensland, using the laboratories and infrastructure of the University of Queensland, Griffith University, and the Translational Research Institute (TRI). The research is expected to start in Q1 2023 with an initial focus on a Chlamydia vaccine.
Chlamydia is the most common STI in the world with around 129 million infections a year. While Chlamydia can be treated, there is currently no vaccine to prevent infection. If left untreated it can lead to infertility and in pregnant women can result in foetal eye and lung infections.
The biomedical industry in Queensland contributes around AU$ 2.1 billion in gross value-added products and employs more than 12,000 people across the state. The industry is supported by the Queensland Biomedical 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.
In support of President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot mission to cure cancer, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the establishment of the Agricultural Science Centre of Excellence for Nutrition and Diet for Better Health also known as ASCEND for Better Health.
This new virtual centre will hasten research into diet-related chronic diseases such as cancer. The centre’s long-term mission is to integrate research into actionable solutions that improve public health and well-being, particularly in marginalised regions.
ASCEND will bring together scientists, partner organisations, and communities to develop and deploy science-based solutions that improve the health and well-being of all Americans, particularly those living in underserved areas. As a result, the virtual centre will link existing resources, such as people and programmes, to harness the expertise and improve coordination and cooperation.
USDA is focusing more on precision nutrition science research to better understand the needs of marginalised groups. This study adds to the agency’s initiatives to enhance food and nutrition security, which involves having consistent and equitable access to good, safe, and affordable foods that are critical for optimal health and well-being.
In addition, the World Cancer Research Fund estimates that adopting a healthy diet and way of life can prevent 30% to 50% of all cancer cases. As part of its efforts to comprehend the links between nutrition and illnesses like cancer across various communities, the USDA is using fresh and ongoing research to inform its equity lens.
By 2030, hunger will be eliminated, and diet-related diseases will be reduced, all while reducing disparities, according to the National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health of the Biden-Harris Administration. In conjunction with the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in more than 50 years, the National Strategy was unveiled.
The work of the USDA, which focuses more on resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, developing new markets and sources of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart forestry practises, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and more, benefits every American.
Meanwhile, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Programme for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has made changes to the meals that are recommended to participants, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. These scientific updates include suggestions from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020–2025 and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM).
The WIC food packages are specially made to complement the meals and drinks that participants already eat and drink while completing important nutritional gaps to support normal growth and development.
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is recommending modifications to the food packaging to bring it into line with the most recent nutritional research and enable equal access to nutrient-dense foods during key times of development.
When taken as a whole, the modifications will raise the level of assistance while giving WIC state agencies more freedom to customise the packages to meet the needs of special dietary requirements, and cultural food preferences, and an increase in variety and choice for WIC participants, making the programme more alluring to both current and potential participants.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS) released the MICE Sustainability Roadmap, which outlines specific goals and plans for raising sustainability standards throughout the MICE sector in Singapore over the coming years.
The Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions (MICE) industry is a type of tourism travel in which groups of people are brought together for a specific reason, usually well in advance. On the other hand, the MICE market refers to a subset of people who plan, arrange, and facilitate conferences, seminars, exhibitions, and other events.
Part of STB’s overarching plan to develop a sustainable tourism sector is the use of such roadmaps, which direct businesses in the sector to achieve specific sustainability goals. Following the launch of the Hotel Sustainability Roadmap earlier this year, the MICE Sustainability Roadmap is the second such project.
The Singapore Green Plan 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (UN) serve as the roadmap’s guiding principles. Three goals are listed in the MICE Sustainability Roadmap to help Singapore become one of the most environmentally-friendly MICE destinations in Asia Pacific:
- By 2023, create a set of industry-acceptable sustainability standards with the goal of having them recognised internationally by 2024.
- For all six purpose-built MICE venues and 80% of SACEOS members to get internationally or nationally recognised sustainability certification, or both, by 2025.
- To attain net-zero emissions by 2050 in accordance with the country’s net-zero aim, the Singapore MICE sector must first track waste and carbon emissions by 2023, reduce waste in line with the Singapore Green Plan by 2030, and reduce waste overall by 2050.
The MICE Sustainability Committee (MSComm), established by STB and SACEOS in August 2022 to advance sustainability capabilities and create awareness of sustainability initiatives and best practices, will help the industry adopt sustainable practices and meet these goals.
The dedication to sustainability follows a robust MICE rebound in the wake of Singapore’s borders being reopened in April this year and a rising desire for environmentally friendly business travel. More importantly, the industry is aware of how crucial it is to lessen the environmental impact of MICE events.
With STB and SACEOS leading the charge and offering support as necessary to further develop a sustainable business events landscape in Singapore, the MICE Sustainability Roadmap will ensure that MICE players move forward in pursuing relevant and achievable sustainability goals that are tracked at appropriate milestones.
Meanwhile, OpenGov Asia recently reported that the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore is working with a large American technology company to address climate change-related challenges and enhance the sustainability of digital technologies.
The cooperation aims to hasten the local and international development of software applications and solutions to assist businesses in using their resources more efficiently.
The tech giant and IMDA will exchange best practices, standards, learnings, and certification pathways for accurate measurement and reporting of carbon emissions resulting from software applications. Through this relationship, the nation hopes to speed up the application of the ideas and resources needed to create green technologies.
According to IMDA, Southeast Asia is well-positioned for the region to take the lead in digital sustainability. This collaboration will produce cutting-edge digital sustainability solutions that can be used by multinational corporations, bringing about positive change for the environment worldwide and ensuring a sustainable future for all.
For inbound travellers’ arrival details and health declaration checklist, eTravel is a new contact tracking platform that replaces the One Health Pass and e-Arrival card in the Philippines. E-travel can now be accessed at the official website.
The new system is easy to use as travellers coming in can sign up with their personal profiles, travel information, and health declarations. When finishing this step, the user will get a QR code that is unique to them. This service is free, but people need to sign up at least 3 days before they arrive in the Philippines.
E-travel is developed by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and is a joint initiative with the Bureau of Immigration (BI), Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
The interconnection, data-sharing, and synergy of all the many departments that are divided into several silos will now be combined into a single system that will be looking at a single point in time, according to DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy. Hence, it will make it easier for the people to interact with the government at the same time.
Meanwhile, to promote a unified government approach to E-Governance, the DICT’s Office of the Undersecretary for E-Government (OUEG) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with partner government entities.
The Landbank of the Philippines, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Government Service Insurance System, the Social Security System, and the Mindanao Development Authority are all partners in this endeavour.
Through its efforts to digitally change government processes and government agencies, the DICT hopes to improve data standards and data governance, allowing for data harmonisation and coordination throughout the government.
The effort includes the creation, deployment, and integration of systems for Department flagship programmes such E-Local Government Units (ELGU), E-Government Applications (EGovApp), E-Govpay, E-Travel, and E-Cloud.
The MoU establishes the partner agencies as key players in the pursuit of digital transformation and e-governance. Since DICT considers harmony to be the foundation of clarity. Therefore, the goals of these initiatives are twofold: to construct a government that is enabled by ICT and to capacitate its development.
Furthermore, through the Career Certificates Scholarship Programme, a multinational technology business will provide free professional training to Filipinos. This programme is presently being provided by the DICT through the ICT Literacy and Competency Development Bureau (ILCDB).
With the help of this career certificates programme, appropriate skill development and tooling are now easier to obtain. By closing the digital divide and widening chances for Filipinos, the DICT seeks to expand ICT opportunities.
The agency urges Filipinos to apply for the scholarship and benefit from the free professional training created by one of the biggest software companies in the world.
The course can award credentials in IT support, project management, user experience (UX) design, and data analytics. Through this programme, Filipinos can gain new skills and connect with top employers while preparing for a new career in the rapidly expanding ICT industry.
The process is also practical for online education. Participants must be at least 18 years old, residents of and citizens of the Philippines, and capable of finishing the online course using their own device or gadget to be eligible to apply for the scholarship.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has concluded the National E-Commerce Week and Online Friday 2022 event. The first programme offered opportunities for enterprises operating in the fields of e-commerce and digital technology to introduce their products, services, and solutions to advance the country’s digital economy. The Online Friday 2022 event aimed to promote the sustainable growth of e-commerce and the application of solutions to boost domestic firms’ revenue.
An opening ceremony was held earlier this month in Ho Chi Minh, jointly organised by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Vietnam E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency, and the municipal People’s Committee. According to Duong Anh Duc, the Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, a Concentrated Promotion Month has been implemented in the city for many years with the participation of many businesses across the country. The programme is a part of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s goals to stimulate domestic consumption, expand the domestic market, and support production and business.
Along with the programme, the National E-Commerce Week and Online Friday 2022 provided domestic consumers and international visitors with opportunities to have enhanced shopping experiences in the online environment during the big year-end shopping festival. The Ministry of Industry and Trade worked with the largest affiliate marketing platform in Vietnam to share and offer solutions to help businesses use technology to increase profits. Businesses were able to take advantage of and optimise support tools and features on e-commerce platforms, expand access to a wide range of customers and raise online revenue.
As of 29 November, the second Concentrated Promotion Month (which will run from 15 November to 22 December) attracted the participation of 3,326 businesses with 6,981 promotions offered. The first Concentrated Promotion Month (which ran from 15 June to 15 July) witnessed the participation of 151,298 firms and 5,488 promotion programmes.
In Vietnam, the use of digital platforms, e-commerce sites, social networks, and specialised applications has increased sharply, and the country is expected to become the fastest-growing e-commerce market in Southeast Asia by 2026. Global e-commerce is estimated to grow by 28.4% annually between 2020 and 2027. Meanwhile, revenue from business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce in Vietnam is expected to increase by over 20% each year. As OpenGov Asia reported, over the last ten years, e-commerce in the country has continually grown by 25-30% while its size increased to US$ 13.7 billion in 2021. It has made up over 7% of the total flows of consumer goods and services and become an important distribution channel, in addition to traditional ones.
Despite the pandemic’s impacts in 2020 and 2021, e-commerce has still been flourishing in Vietnam. It is forecast to post double-digit growth this year to rank third in Southeast Asia. In fact, the pandemic fueled a significant uptick in e-commerce, which recorded a 16% growth last year. Although the pandemic drove the e-commerce market, it slowed down economic growth, which was the lowest in 30 years last year (2.58%), with key services sub-sectors experiencing a downturn. Data from the General Statistics Office showed that retailing and wholesaling declined 0.21% year-on-year, causing the economy to decrease by 0.02 percentage points. Warehouse and logistics dropped by 5.02% and lodging and catering services by 20.81%, leading to a drop in contribution by 0.3% and 0.51%, respectively, to the GDP growth.
Meanwhile, the share of turnover from e-retailing to last year’s total retail sales of goods and services was 7%, a year-on-year rise of 27% from 2020. E-retailing is forecast to surge 20% this year to US$ 16.4 billion, compared to US$ 5 billion in 2015.