SINGAPORE, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) — For companies and countries to succeed, they need to hold on to values of integration and innovation, said Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing on Tuesday.
The minister made the remarks while delivering the opening address for the IBM Think Singapore 2019 conference held at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Center.
In his speech, Chan spoke about how the world faces the “grave challenge” of fragmentation. There are many parts of the world that do not believe in integration, he said, adding that they risk being fragmented.
This is a risk faced especially by companies such as IBM, Google and PayPal, which rely on digital services and data flowing internationally, he said.
To guard against such threats, governments and companies need to stand together in support of integration. They can do so by working together to share ideas freely across borders and optimising production.
Chan also warned how the rapid pace of technological innovation might render firms, products and ideas obsolete within a shortened span of time.
Hence, companies need to continuously innovate and the same lesson can be applied for Singapore as well, said Chan.
For companies like IBM and countries like Singapore to continue to “survive and thrive” and have a bright future, they need to be always on their toes and are never just satisfied with the status quo, said Chan.
“The products, the ideas that have worked well in the past is not a guarantee for success for the future …The moment we lose integration and innovation, we are all redundant,” Chan cautioned.
Singapore also needs to preserve its values of a rules-based system, transparency, and invest in its people, he added.
IBM Asia-Pacific’s CEO and Chairman Harriet Green, who delivered the keynote speech, also spoke about the challenge of staying relevant in a digital world where change is happening at “an extraordinary pace.”
In this age, transformation “is driven from the outside in, from the customer”, said Green.
“Innovation on the front end has outpaced development at the back end. The future competitive advantage will be dependent on your ability to be digital-first and totally data-driven, with the ability to scale this at real-speed, enabling incredible organisational productivity and innovation,” she added.
What has helped Singapore remain attractive to international businesses is its commitment to being “open and smart”, according to her.
At the event, leaders from organisations such as Singapore’s Housing and Development Board, DBS Bank and DHL Express also shared how they are harnessing technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain and quantum computing to transform their businesses.
The conference was attended by more than 1,000 business leaders from Singapore and across the globe.
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