'Important for S'pore to play active role in creating solutions for digital world'

Being at the crossroads of trade routes is not enough for Singapore, which must play an active role in creating solutions for the digital world, said Mr S. Iswaran.

The Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) said the digital economy poses a disruptive threat to incumbent companies and industries, but also presents a unique opportunity to create economic value.

"Given the centrality of the digital economy in our economic future, constant innovation is key to helping our companies stay relevant," said Mr Iswaranat the launch of the PayPal Innovation Lab yesterday. "It is only by embracing digital technologies and being at the centre of the global digital economy that we can ensure our companies are the disruptors and not the disrupted."

He stressed the need to be at the centre of the global digital economy. "It will enable our companies to stay ahead of industry-transforming disruption and sustain their competitive advantage... it also means to seize new opportunities opened up by the digital economy to create value in our economy."

Foreign Affairs and Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told the event that culture is the determinant of success in the digital revolution. "You need a society with a culture of openness, a culture of learning, and a culture where you are prepared to invest in infrastructure and education, where you are open to changing your rules and standards to take advantage of these technological advances.

"It is those societies, those cities, those nations with a culture that have the right blend of openness, co-operativeness, innovation and ability to invest in and to apply new technologies that will succeed."

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak underscored the role of engineering in innovation and product design, marketing savviness in pricing and promotion and business skills to capitalise on trends to gain market share.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2016, with the headline ''Important for S'pore to play active role in creating solutions for digital world''. Print Edition | Subscribe