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inance Minister Heng Swee Keat presented this year's Budget in Parliament on Monday (Feb 19), where he unveiled Singapore's plans in the face of three major shifts in the coming decade:



to compare:


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Malaysia’s 2018 PM Budget proposals: trade-oriented economy, focusing on high-impact export sectors, while accelerating the logistics and transport system. The budget is laying the foundation for the National Transformation 2050 (TN50)

Efficient infrastructure system to improve the logistics and transportation sectors.(East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) 2 Line, MRT3 Line, The Light Rail Transit (LRT) 3 project, The Kuala Lumpur and Singapore High Speed Rail, West Coast Highway)

Financial market: boosting the exchange-traded fund and structured warrants, capital market and access to investment and alternative trading system; credit financing facilities to SME exporters:

·         SJPP, using intellectual property as an instrument of financial collateral with up to 80% financing guarantee;

·         tax exemption on stamp duties imposed on contract notes for sales and purchase transactions of Exchange-Traded Fund  (ETF) and Structured Warrants for three years;

·         investments in venture capital in main selected sectors coordinated by Securities Commission;

·         income tax exemption to include management and performance fees received by venture capital management company;

·         reducing the minimum investment in venture companies from 70% to 50%;

·         companies or individuals investing in venture capital companies are provided tax deduction equivalent to the amount of the investment made in the venture companies….

Under the Industrial Revolution 4.0, the Government has proposed to provide a matching grant under the Domestic Investment Strategic Fund to upgrade the Smart Manufacturing facilities.

Promotional programmes, and expand export markets by Matrade (
export promotion activities will be focused in key markets where Malaysia has Free Trade Agreements with and markets with high demand for Malaysian exports especially in sectors such as furniture, electrical and electronics, information, communication and technology, oil and gas, food and beverage, construction and others), Mida and SME Corp, MaGIC (all of the programs and initiatives under the centre share one uniting goal – to build an ecosystem of entrepreneurs with creative skills and the capability to innovate)

Digital Economy continues to be a key driver of growth, contributing 18.2 per cent to Malaysia’s gross domestic product this year and expected to exceed the projected target of 20 per cent earlier than 2020

Green Technology:

·         Green Technology Financing Scheme.

·         The government intends to implement the non-revenue water programme to reduce the average loss of water.

Malaysia will be the first in the world outside China to establish a Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) which comprises e-Fulfilment Hub, Satellite Services Hub and e-Service Platform to stimulate growth in electronic trade








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According to Nikkei Asia Review, the country received 81% of U.S. investment in the entire ASEAN region for 2012 through 2016, and 85% of what the European Union poured into the bloc.

For European and American companies, the strength of Singapore's economy and its concentrated talent pool make it the logical choice for key operations in the region.

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Singapore introduces a new umbrella branding to support startup schemes:

Three key changes will be implemented using the work pass scheme EntrePass:

  1. Removal of the requirement for applicants to have a paid-up capital of at least $50,000 in their startups
  2. Extending the validity of each EntrePass from the current one year to two years, after the first renewal at Year 2
  3. Enhancing the co-investment support for promising startups in deep-tech areas, such as in medical technology, clean technology and advanced manufacturing, to catalyse private sector investment for this group.

According to Mr Koh, Minister of State for Trade and Industry,  the investment cap for the co-investment portion for deep-tech startups will be doubled from $2m to $4m, allowing the government to tier its funding support according to the differing needs as well as the proportion of the co-investment funding support for supported investments will be raised from 50% to 70%. technology and advanced manufacturing, to catalyse private sector investment for this group.





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The Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore plans a slew of technology initiatives to harness technology for convenient travel. Innovation being the key.


The Government aims to shift 75 per cent of all peak hour trips to public transport by 2030, up from about 63 per cent now.


The authorities are also working on a use-first-pay-later system for public transport. The vision for fare payment, though, is what is termed the Be-In-Be-Out system. Instead of making commuters tap in and out to register a trip, the technology can detect and automatically register commuters in a bus or train so long as they have the fare cards on them. Such hands-free systems will offer commuters the "ultimate convenience"

There are plans to test truck platooning, or what is also known as "follow-me" technology. This comprises a lead truck steered by a driver, followed by a convoy of about three to four driverless trucks, which reduces manpower reliance and increases productivity.


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The government is matching venture capital investments and teaching kids in grade school how to start their own companies

Singapore has spent the last decade building out an infrastructure to help its best and brightest get over their fear of failure so they can launch new companies. "In the early 2000s the government decided we didn't want to put all our eggs into the foreign investment basket, which means we need to create our own start-ups," said Edwin Chow, director of planning at SPRING Singapore, an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry founded in 2003 to promote and support start-ups.

The nation boasts a broad range of government-sponsored initiatives as well as public-private partnerships. They include almost 40 government-supported incubator programs and several programs that match, dollar-for-dollar, any money a start-up gets from the private sector up to $1.5 million. To name just a few:

  • The Hub Singapore, a entrepreneurial-minded co-working space that supports 500 start-ups. It raised $1.1 million in a Series A round of funding in June.
  • Block 71, one of three buildings in the LaunchPad @ One North complex is a government-funded startup incubator in Singapore.
  • Program at the LaunchPad @ One North, a SPRING-funded start-up incubator, helped Sanjna Parasrampuria found her company, Newcleus, a predictive analytics platform for high-end sales.
  • Joint project of the JTC Corp., a government agency that encourages economic development, and SPRING Singapore, it's a three-building complex with three more buildings slated to open by 2017.
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Fitch, the international ratings agency, in its unsolicited credit rating of Malaysia, has maintained Malaysia's credit rating and revised the outlook upwards to stable. After setting the stage over months for a cut in Malaysia's debt rating which in its own words was "more than 50 per cent likely”.
Based on Maybank's FX research head Saktiandi Supaat's estimate, the downgrade fear coupled with the concern over Malaysia's rising contingent liabilities - a weakness also flagged by Fitch earlier this year - could have contributed to a 10-20 sent drop in the ringgit value against the US dollar. Other factors such as fall in oil prices and capital outflow as US rates rise also led to the ringgit being the worst performing currency in Asia this year. Malaysian equities, where foreign net sell totaled RM9 billion (S$3.23 billion) in the first half this year, far surpassing RM7 billion in the whole of 2014, and bonds have also suffered partly due to the spectre of a downgrade, according to Mr Saktiandi. The looming downgrade and Malaysia's imminent loss of the single A debt status had rattled the market and was one of the key culprits for the major slump in the ringgit which has lost nearly 8 per cent this year and 14 per cent over 12 months.
Late Tuesday night (2015 June 2nd), the UK and US-based rating firm left Malaysia's debt rating unchanged at A minus, much to the surprise of market watchers and providing a huge relief to the country's policymakers. 
"It is a big positive surprise...almost equivalent to an outright upgrade compared with what they had signaled (previously)," says Nomura Holdings South-east Asia economist Euben Paracuelles.
Fitch commended Malaysia's progress of fiscal reforms chiefly this April's implementation of the Goods and Services Tax plus its fuel subsidy reforms - last year, it abolished fuel subsidies - to prop up its fiscal finances.

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How Virtual Currencies Are Treated In 40 Different Countries -

How the World's Richest Nations Are Regulating Bitcoin

Singapore-based trading platform, Bitcoin Exchange, purchased a Lamassu system and is scouting for a location to place the ATM, which will begin operation in March

Hong Kong - Robocoin Technologies said it could have its first ATM in Hong Kong by end-January -

Taiwanese Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said it would prevent any installation of the ATM

People's Bank of China last month outlawed Bitcoin transactions among local banks and financial institutions, pointing to the high risks of money laundering and potential association with illegal activities

India could issue warning against against the potential risks associated with transaction using the digital virtual currency Bitcoin, reports The Times of India.

South Korea – a bakery chain, Paris Baguette, has begun accepting Bitcoin as another form of payment at its outlets, becoming the first physical store in the country to do so.

Russia becomes the second country to ban bitcoin The Russian Central Bank (CBR) issued a statement late Monday warning that virtual currencies, or “money surrogates” are illegal under Article 27 of the Federal Law “On the Central Bank of the Russian Federation”.

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Creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship considered to be of critical importance for Singapore and East Asian economies. In the lecture organised by Singapore Management University, Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Dr. Vincent Yip shared his vision and experience on the factors that make the innovation-centric environment of California's Silicon Valley to be the “Holy Grail” of technology innovation.

Dr. Vincent Yip and Arcot Desai Narasimhalu, Director of the SMU’s Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Dr. Vincent Yip was born in Singapore and worked in America since 1991. In the last four decades Dr. Yip has served as consultant for the World Bank, UNDP, Asian Development Bank as well as multinational companies and as advisor for start-ups and incubator companies in the Silicon Valley, taught business/technology courses at Northwestern University, University of Southern California and Stanford University. Dr. Yip received his PhD (Materials Science) from the USC in 1973 and then an MBA (International Business) in 1976. For 13 years Dr. Yip worked with Economic Development Board of Singapore, being Executive Director and Administrator of the Singapore Science Park between 1982 and 1989. He was assigned as Singapore’s Deputy Ambassador to the EU and the Vatican in 1989-1991 and worked as a General Manager of an environmental technology start-up and later as a trainer/consultant in project management in China in 1994-2001.  Since 2001 Dr. Yip lives in the Bay Area, taught MBA courses at University of San Francisco and since 2008 teaches three courses at Stanford Continuing Studies program. He has written three books on China.

Silicon Valley has the highest concentration of entrepreneurial activity of high-tech companies, giving rise to what is now called an Entrepreneurial Cluster.

Stanford is ranked number 4 among top universities, top business schools, research centres not only by name, but by people, passion, environment, mentality. More and more successful and rich people are sending their children to Stanford. In a 2-3 year, (maybe in biased lecturer’s opinion), will become number two - after Harvard.

The Nobel Prize Winners give a good indication of the success of a research school.  Stanford is home for 19 living Nobel Prize laureates.
In 2012 Stanford had 2: visiting professors Alvin Roth and Brian Kobilka received the prize and were offered position at Stanford. Stanford is “stealing” the best and “stole” a lot of best scientists before. Why? Is it just weather and environment? What makes Silicon Valley “tick”:

1. Location

  • Geography (coastal)
  • Climate (pleasant)
  • Near Metropolis
  • International (English-speaking)
  • Diverse Population

2. Infrastructure

  • Convenient by air, land and sea.
  • Wired with high speed internet
  • Good schools.
  • Plenty of recreational activities.
  • Affordable housing and pleasant surroundings

3. Supporting Services

  • Availability of Venture Capital
  • Good banking & accounting services
  • Established stock/financial markets
  • Established military and industrial complex

4. Government Support

  • Ample tax incentives.
  • R &D loans and awards.
  • Low red tape.
  • Accessible & helpful civil servants.
  • Special attention to technology and R&D

5. Research Talent and Manpower

  • Top technical universities & research institutions
  • Large quantity of quality engineers and scientists
  • Availability of technicians & craftsmen
  • Multinational Corporation R&D centres
  • Presence of incubators and accelerators

6. Risk-Taking Culture

  • Ready acceptance of failure
  • Highly skilled and motivated professionals
  • Classless and highly mobile society
  • Flat organizational structures and meritocracy
  • Avant-garde and liberal atmosphere

7. Personal Passion & Teamwork

  • Supportive family and communities
  • Tradition of cooperative teamwork
  • Network of ethnic professional societies (TIE, HYSTA, CIE, CINA, Monte Jade etc)
  • Personal sacrifices for dreams and passion
  • Famous successful role models (H/P, Grove, Gates, Yang, Dell, Jobs, Ellison, etc)

Stanford has the energy and does not lose any money or talents; The T-shaped Campus invites creativity and supports the free flow of “Chi”. There is a lot of passion; one can feel it in the tone of the voice of entrepreneurs, see in their eyes. They truly believe in what they are doing, staking their houses, money, reputation.

There are many interdisciplinary centres – good product requires thinking out of the box. IPhone was created by artists first, not by engineers and that was what made it so beautiful in the use. Bio Engineering, Chemistry, Nanotechnology, Viral Engineering require invention and creativity

Very important aspect is the culture of cooperation and the power of associations.  TiE ((The Indus Entrepreneurs) sponsors nearly every venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley has Taiwanese, Chinese associations and they are really connected to technology, business and universities, conducting seminars and forming joint ventures.

Technology transfer from research to industry is helped by the partnership established between industrial giants and universities

Capital Concentration:
Small Sunny Vale Drive at Route 280 is Venture “Wall Street” of the World, one of the richest, multiple billions of dollars of venture money – Apple, Facebook, etc

Palo Alto, is a small place, only 70,000 people, has the highest percentage of masters and PhDs in the entire Unites States.  Recently taught class on the project management had 8 PhDs among the students

Many nationalities are good at innovations: French, British, and Americans. What makes America special is the ability of innovators to go from a single unit to mass

Actual case study: 8 successful innovative American companies:

•    FEDEX  - innovation was is in hub-and-spoke business organisation - the closest business path appears to be is  not a straight line and the win was based on the  optimal placement of hubs
•    GENENTECH – the company, started in 1896 by Robert Swanson and Dr. Herbert Boyer pioneered genetic engineering, was the first to produce synthetic “human” insulin; supplementary  growth  hormone; treatment for metastatic breast cancer and other products
•    DROPBOX –  based on the “never forget your USB stick again” personal  risk management idea, reached 100M users in 2012
•    AIRBNB – online service providing platform for individuals to rent spare rooms and offer short term lodging in 192 counties; in 2011 the company raised $120 Million in venture funding and more in undisclosed amount
•    TESLA – gained attention by the first fully electric $62,000 sports car Tesla Roadster and a luxury sedan; creation of network of charging stations and became a symbol of Silicon Valley – it is “cool” to drive a Tesla Roadster not a Rolls Royce
•    ZIPCAR – started from  idea is renting cars by the hour; in 2013 became the world’ leading car sharing network
•    3-D PRINTING – revolutionising  the manufacturing process;  current market size of 1.3 million and is set to explode  to 3.1 million in 3 years and
•    BLOOM ENERGY – cheap fuel cell , a solid oxide fuel cell claimed to be made from “beach sand”, can withstand temperature of up to 980C, single cell generates 25 watt

Challenges and Opportunities in China: A few words about Hanhai Investment – largest Multi-Tech US-China Research park in Silicon Valley. Hanhai Investment established its first high-tech Silicon Valley incubator (Hanhai Z-Park) in 2012
Some of Hanhai venture projects under consideration for venture funding
•    AAA: Mobile Solution for small landlords to manage properties anywhere anytime;
•    Zentera: Cloud management platform that virtual network, cloud firewall, and data protection;
•    CCC: Online tutoring for Cambridge O and A level courses in Asia, with sight on the vast China market;
•    Lemoncrate: A Dropbox/Craigslist for exchange or sale of clothes, electronics, auto parts, tools, jewellery, cosmetics etc.
•    DDD: LED light strips to replace florescent lighting in commercial use
•    ReinCloud: Next generation TV Media
•    FFF: Sustainable micro farming
Saucepot: Connect restaurants with customers through cloud base web platform (Marketing, discount, ranking, advertisement

What are the most important factors specific to Singapore?

NTU and SMU are very Strong Universities with the high international ranking. Does Singapore have enough technology transfer from research into business into technology into creativity to industry?
Passion is important.  Is there a passion in Singapore for innovation? Is Ecosystem good enough? – are people listening to entrepreneurs, are they giving money, are they helping you? Are people soliciting?
There is no lack of venture capital in Singapore but the linkage between research and industry is important. Singapore has a number of partnerships, if there a problem with money, there is a way to create incentives for companies like HP or IBM to create partnerships and provide contribution in exchange for connecting research with their headquarters, offer internship. Exchange will be mutually beneficial

•    Singapore is soon to be the country with the highest per capita GDP;
•    NUS and NTU are very high in international ranking of colleges;
•    Singaporean students top scorers in TIMMS contests for years;
•    Singapore one of the most wired nations on earth;
•    Government has ample incentives and heavy promotion of technology/R&D;
•    Relation of GERD to GDP  are that of an Advanced Country;
•    Population conversant in English and international and diverse;
•    Possesses excellent infrastructure and supporting services;

What is needed for Singapore to become a country famous for creativity and innovations?
The summary the comparison of the entrepreneur ecosystems of Science parks in USA, China and Singapore was demonstrated in the lecture and is provided below.

Table suggests that the ability to accept failure is one of the most important factors.

It is becoming a cliché to speak about the problem of Singapore being one mistake society. Let us hope that this changing.  If you make a mistake, will be you getting a second chance? Or you have to emigrate. In US politicians sometimes shamed but they have second or third chance, running for office again. Society should be giving second chance.

Singapore entrepreneurs enjoy one of the best government supports for technology innovations in the world. The acceptance of failure as the experience rather than a disaster and a passion for the achievement that comes from the risk taking appetite may be the answer.

Considering all the factors mentioned in the lecture are important for successful in the entrepreneurship ecosystem of Singapore. While cultural and historical background leading to the risk taking propensity level cannot be changed easily, they should be accounted in the business strategy. We recommend focusing on the benefits provided by the Government support programs, high level of education, developed network of universities, and infrastructure, utilization of industrial horizontal connections, benefits of geographical location and the ease of social networking in Singapore



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