Singapore can be launchpad for Chinese digital companies to expand overseas: Iswaran

People walk through Alibaba Group Holding's headquarters in Hangzhou, China.
People walk through Alibaba Group Holding's headquarters in Hangzhou, China.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Singapore can be an effective launch pad for Chinese digital companies' expansion beyond the mainland into new markets in the region.

A growing middle class in Asean and a large number of new internet users presents substantial and growing opportunities for companies to target these consumers through the digital economy, said Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran on Tuesday (Jan 19).

Some 194 million new Internet users are expected to come online in Asean by 2020, and digitisation is projected to generate an annual economic impact of $625 billion by 2030.


The digital sector - which is expected to create good opportunities in Singapore - will also be a key area of focus for the Committee on the Future Economy, said Mr Iswaran at the inaugural China-Singapore Digital Economy Forum.

Chinese companies could leverage on Singapore's established infocomm technology infrastructure and capabilities, deep knowledge of Asean, and a growing ecosystem of leading digital companies to grow in the digital domain.

There is also immense potential and synergy for Chinese and Singapore companies to co-develop and implement new technology solutions for the region, said Mr Iswaran.

He noted that SingPost and Chinese Internet giant Alibaba is working to establish an e-commerce logistics platform for the region. The platform will help retailers deliver their goods to regional customers more efficiently, and help small logistics providers raise their productivity.

Another example of notable collaboration is in the payments segment, where Nets and Alipay have launched the Alipay Flashpay card, an overseas transpoort card for Chinese tourists to use in Singapore.

"The digital era offers interesting opportunities for our two countries. It is a unique opportunity for our companies to combine their strengths for mutual benefit in this sector, which is rich in potential," said Mr Isawaran.

The forum, co-organised by IE Singapore, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Cyberspace Administration of China, attracted 250 companies from Singapore and China.

A series of closed-door rountable discussions on topics such as online media and education, smart cities, e-commerce, online travel and the Internet of Things will also be held.