ICT to Singapore

Trends and opportunities

The market

The information and communications technology (ICT) industry is a key driver of the Singapore economy. It contributes to the economy by raising productivity and transforming business processes in sectors such as:

  • education
  • healthcare
  • manufacturing
  • tourism and hospitality
  • finance.

As a country that has positioned itself as an information and technology hub, Singapore is a regional base for multinational infocomm companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, Amazon Web Services, Google and some international technology startup companies.

The ICT industry in Singapore is regulated by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA). IDA is the country's infocomm industry master-planner as well as the Singapore Government’s Chief Information Office (GCIO).

The government is in the process of implementing its Smart Nation policy. This will entail building a platform whereby technology can be used to better serve the needs of Singapore citizens. It will empower its people through access to data and by enabling more participation and engagement with government and businesses to make more informed decisions. Termed the Smart Nation Platform (SNP), the program will be spearheaded by IDA and anchored around three key areas: connect, collect and comprehend.

The connect phase aims to build a secure, cost-effective and scalable nationwide communications infrastructure. In the collect and comprehend phases, the SNP will aim to gain better situational awareness by collecting more robust real-time data from a network of sensors nationwide.

The objective of SNP is to enable public agencies to be linked to a nationwide operating system which will allow the development of greater citizen-centric services, enable innovation in business and catalyse more efficient implementation of services by public agencies.

Hence the Smart Nation will be built on data and the ability to move, collect and make sense before insights can be gleaned and lives can be improved. Effectively, SNP will be one of the anchor initiatives in Singapore’s infocomm and media masterplan that will enable ‘everyone, everything, everywhere, to be connected all the time’.


Australian developers can leverage opportunities in Singapore, particularly those related to developing applications and contributing to building the SNP infrastructure.

Key areas include:

  • developing digital content
  • building applications (apps) for mobile services and location based services
  • security and thrust infrastructure design and implementation
  • cloud computing and business analytics (analysing Big Data).

There is also opportunity in exploring the nine key technology themes which the government has identified as areas which will shape the country’s ICT development in the next three to five years:

  • big data
  • cloud computing
  • cyber security
  • internet of things
  • ICT and sustainability
  • communications of the future
  • social media
  • new digital economy
  • user interface.

There is opportunity for the education/training sector in the ICT industry. With the demand for jobs in Singapore’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector outstripping supply, the Singapore Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) announced in April 2016 it will invest S$120 million in ICT labour needs. This is to support training for both current and future infocomm professionals, focusing its efforts in high demand areas such as software development, data analytics, cybersecurity, and network and infrastructure. (Source: Ministry of Communications and Information, 11 April 2016).

Competitive environment

Singapore has an open business environment encouraging competition, so foreign infocomm companies and talent can build on and complement Singaporean ICT businesses. Competition is not only from Singaporean companies, but also from regional rivals such as:

  • Japan - currently leads in mobile services
  • Korea - multimedia and broadband services
  • Hong Kong - broadcasting and media services.

While the environment is competitive, it is also dynamic. It fosters collaboration between industry players that can work towards developing solutions. This leads to positive and commercial outcomes for the respective stakeholders.

Tariffs, regulations and customs

Singapore has few trade barriers and is one of the most liberal trading regimes in the world.

Industry standards

Standards play a key and integral role part in facilitating the development and adoption of new technologies. IDA works with various industry partners and standards organisations both in Singapore and overseas to make standards a part of Singapore's ICT eco-system.

Infocomm standards in Singapore are developed on a consensus basis and are the results of the collaborative efforts amongst government agencies, tertiary institutions, professional bodies and the infocomm industry. The IDA Standards Team plays a key role in fostering and facilitating the industry's participation in local and international ICT standards forums. It is the Secretariat to the IT Standards Committee (ITSC), one of the 11 Standards Committee under the National Standards Council appointed by SPRING Singapore.

ITSC provides a neutral and open platform for interested industry and government parties to come together to agree on technical standards. The ITSC Council comprises a Council with representatives from associations, academia, research institutes and government agencies such as Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME), Defence Science and Technology Association (DSTA), Institute of Systems Science (ISS) and SPRING Singapore, amongst other key agencies, which chart the directions and policies of Singapore’s IT standards.

In addition, there are also appointed Technical Committees and Working Groups comprising technical experts from the industry, academia and research institutes, develop and promote national infocomm standards, and participate in international infocomm standardisation activities.

Marketing your products and services

Market entry

It is important to work with local partners or distributors and system integrators who are well-connected and have a good knowledge of the Singapore business environment.

The pro-business stance of Singapore’s infocomm sector reinforces Singapore’s ongoing interest in partnering and collaborating with global players to jointly identify and leverage on market opportunities. Australian ICT firms find that the Singapore market is open to bilateral agreements and strategic alliances, research and development, and deployment of services to global markets.

Links and industry contacts

Association of the Telecommunications Industry of Singapore
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Intellectual Property Office of Singapore
Singapore Business Federation
Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation
Smart Nation Singapore

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