Singapore tech firms to pilot innovations in India

India is emerging as the world's third-largest start-up base, with over 5,000 new tech firms last year, among them unicorns such as Flipkart.
India is emerging as the world's third-largest start-up base, with over 5,000 new tech firms last year, among them unicorns such as Flipkart.PHOTO: REUTERS

Bilateral MOU aims to facilitate business partnerships and knowledge exchange

Singapore tech start-ups will have a much easier ride in India, thanks to an agreement signed yesterday.

The deal will let Singaporean firms pilot innovations in India and acquire best practices from tech companies in what has become a thriving innovation centre.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) aims to facilitate business partnerships and knowledge exchange between firms in the tech sector.

Singapore companies will be able to participate in programmes co-organised by IE Singapore and the CII to better understand India's tech landscape and connect to partners in the ecosystem. Both organisations will also build platforms to bring together next-generation Indian and Singaporean tech business leaders.

IE Singapore said India is emerging as the world's third-largest start-up base, with over 5,000 new tech firms last year, among them unicorns such as Flipkart and Paytm. The United States and Britain take the top two positions.

"The Indian government is actively developing the ecosystem," it noted. "For example, they set up Startup India, an initiative to ease incorporation processes, fast track patent applications and provide tax relief for start-ups in India, including foreign start-ups."

Startup India has set aside $2.1 billion to support start-ups - the strongest of which are in the e-commerce, fintech, data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) sectors.

Singapore start-ups, such as logistics firm Anchanto, e-commerce service provider Shopmatic and AI firm ViSenze, have set up shop in India. Shopmatic chief executive Anurag Avula said: "The business partnerships that could arise from this MOU make it all the more exciting for companies which have a presence in both markets.

"It will allow Singapore companies to partner Indian organisations to expand their coverage in India," he added. " The cross-learning opportunities to enhance innovation in tech will further deepen the relationship between Singapore and Indian companies."

IE Singapore assistant chief Tan Soon Kim added: "India's tech and innovation ecosystem is now ranked amongst the top in the world.

"IE Singapore's partnership with CII will facilitate the exchange of ideas between industries and governments of both countries. It will help Singapore companies, both new entrants and those looking to expand in-market, establish a strong track record and scale up across India."

The CII, formed in 1985, is an industry-led organisation set up to drive India's economic development. It comprises Indian business leaders from companies such as Apollo Hospitals Enterprise, Bharti Enterprises and Jetline Group.

The MOU is part of IE Singapore's efforts to deepen in-market networks to ease initial challenges that Singapore companies face when entering India.

The agency will lead missions to Indian cities this year, including Andhra Pradesh, Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai, to support Singapore companies in the logistics, financial services, smart cities and digital economy sectors.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore tech firms to pilot innovations in India'. Print Edition | Subscribe