Singapore: Our Approach to Digitalization (Bloomberg)

Asia’s digital revolution is gathering pace and having a profound impact on the region’s economies.

According to the Asian Development Bank, Asia’s e-commerce transactions account for 25 percent of the world’s business-to-consumer (B2C) market. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that the number of connected devices in and around people’s homes will grow to 14 billion by 2022, from 1 billion in 2016. Meanwhile, Huawei’s Global Connectivity Index forecasts that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will help the global digital economy double in size to US$23 trillion by 2025.

The results will be transformative. With rapid digitalization, the birth of new business models has forced companies to reinvent themselves across industries, from retail and logistics, to security and financial services.

A Digital Springboard

Singapore’s push toward digital-nationhood is underpinned by four key pillars identified by the Digital Economy Framework for Action: 1) Developing digital talent 2) Harnessing the capabilities and IP of Singapore’s research and innovation community 3) Facilitating a digital-friendly regulatory environment 4) Building the infrastructure to enable unhindered connectivity
“This is an age of unprecedented possibilities,” says S. Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, and the Singapore government stands ready to help businesses and the workforce “prepare for and embrace these possibilities.”

Digitalization in Progress

Singapore is poised to become the first country outside the European Union to implement the Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line (PEPPOL) e-invoicing standard. PEPPOL provides Singapore’s businesses with a structured digital format for automated billing. Its advantages are manifold: 1) Reduces paper-invoicing costs 2) Accelerates invoice processing times 3) Enables quicker invoice validation, which shortens payment delays 4) Provides near real-time visibility of payment cycles for cash-flow management
Being PEPPOL-compliant will open doors for companies in Singapore to do business in the EU, a single market that at US$16.5 trillion is more than six times the size of the ASEAN Economic Community. Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) was also the first non-European national authority appointed to administer and ensure conformity with PEPPOL technical and service standards.


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